12/14/2023 - Hasbro finally fessed up to a major sales disappointment in Q4.  Interestingly, the subscribers of my Toy Newsletter were told already on November 30 that Hasbro sales for the quarter would be down by 20% and Mattel sales would be up by 14%.


11/24/2023 - Battat, long only having acted as a pivate label supplier to Target, has successfully entered Amazon, Wal-Mart, and Kohl's. Its most successful products there are Action Figures, Learning Toys, and Dolls.


10/22/2023 - Both Wal-Mart and Target have cut back on shelf space even though they also face excessive obsolete inventory. The problem affecting both is the fact that toy market sell-through is flat to negative in Dollar terms but in the plus column in units. This discrepancy is due to the fact that promotinal discounts are on a historical high - about double of what was the case a year ago


9/9/2023 - Wal-Mart still has today - more than 8 months after Hasbro lost the Disney Princess license to Mattel - an endcap with Hasbro's Princesses. It is very unlikely that this is being organized by Hasbro as it would be contradictory to the license agreement they signed  in the first place. Rather, it suggests that Hasbro let Wal-Mart carry the can and that is why this retailer still today is trying to get rid of the stuff. 


8/10/2023 - My 10 Chinese toy manufcturing contacts all report negative sales numbers for their domestic business - ranging from a minus 10% to a minus 38%. They blame two factors for this. One is that the consumer is clearly holding back in all discretionary purchases and the other that overstocking during the Pandemic now forces retailers to cut back on new purchases. 


7/7/2023 - Toy sales in the U.S. were under water for most of the second quarter. However, this began to turn around in late May and sales had reached a break-even in June. As for July, buyers fo far report POS to be in the +3% column. 


6/3/2023 - Media supported toys are clearly outstripping  their non-supported competitors. For one, Mermaid is making a major impact in the Doll space to the degree that traditional market leaders such as Barbie or LOL are negatively affected.


5/5/2023 - Brands where media support - either in theaters or on calble - have recently started are doing well . Very strong showing for Barbie, Super Mario, Mermaind and Dungenons and Dragons. 


4/9/2023 - The Barbie movie trailer has just been released on YouTube and it has already made a significant impact - positiv on Barbie and negative on LOL


3/7/2023 - The U.S. toy category continues to languish - first week of March suggests a minus 3% in units and a +1% in U.S. Dollars. This in fact is a slight improvement over February.


2/03/2023 - Retail inventories of toys in the United States are on an all-time high for this time of the year and the toy buyers are reviewing all their current pending Purchase Orders in this light.


12/14/2022 - Toy buyers in the U.S. report that their inventories are too high and they no longer believe that a strong December will correct this. In fact, they have seen very soft sales during the first 10 days of Dcember and they, unfortunately, believe that this is the shape for the whole of the month. 


11/11/2022 - The toy buyers now predict a flat 4th Q for the toy space in the U.S. More specifically, 0 growth in Dollars and minus 8% in units. 


10/7/2022 - The toy buyers around the world report that sales are continuing to slow down and this in particular for the higher-priced items. In Dollar terms, the industry is still up marginally but clearly down in single digits in unit terms.


9/8/2022 - The U.S. toy buyers I consulted during the last few days believe that the U.S. toy market will in the 4th Q be flat in Dollar terms and down 7% to 10% in unit terms.


8/3/2022 - The toy space allocated by Wal-Mart and Target is at the end of July the highest it has been in the past five years. Also, retail inventories of toys are about 20% higher than they were a year ago - this partly because the retailers anticpate new supply chain problems and are bringing in shipments earlier than normal.


7/10/2022 - Retailer inventories of toys are at an unacceptably high level caused by disruptions in the supply chain late last year. To reduce this overhang, retailers are resorting to two measures. One is to move out obsolete merchandise at cost or below.The other is to expland the shelf space devoted to toys. As far as the latter goes, toy shelf space at Wal-Mart and Target at the end of June were at their highest level since December last year. 


6/2/2022 - When Bratz launched in 2001 and challenged Barbie, Mattel retaliated by suing MGAE to a point where it could no longer afford to promote the brand and withdrew it in 2017. At the same time, Mattel launched Monsters designed to fill the gap left by Bratz. This did not last too long and Monsters was withdrawn in 2018. Bratz was relaunched in 2021 and now Monsters is now also on the shelves. It will be interesting to see who wins this one. 


04/14/2022 - The Covid outbreak in Shanghai which led to an unprecedented lockdown of the entire city, has had a major effect on its port operations. Both Shanghai and Ningbo are stacked with incoming vessels which need unloading - more than 400 at Shanghai and nearly 150 at Ningbo. This will, of course, also delay the loading operation for the same vessels and, in turn, will begin to affect the entire supplychain again. Whilst the toy manufacturers and the retailers are still truing to cope with backups from late last year, this development is likely to affect the supply of toys well into the second quarter. 


03/13/2022 - The shelf space devoted to toys at WMT and TGT remained unchanged in February. It is noteworthy that it also remained unchanged in comparison to 2021 - which in turn was the lowest since 2017.


02/5/2022 - It does appear that the supply chain problem is nearing its end at least as far as toy supplies are concerned. The situation has returned to norma at the Chinese third-party facorires; the congestion at Shanghai and Ningbo is over and this even with the Lunar Year holiday ongoing; and the problems at Los Angeles and other West Coast ports are no longer a factor. As a consequence, shelf space devoted to toys at both Wal-Mart and Target have increased very substantially compared to both January 2021 and December 2022.


01/04/2022 - Whilst the supply chain problems appear to be easing, the delay in FOB shipments will result in very significant distortions between the shipment numbers reported by the manufacurers for both the 4th Q 2021 and the 1st Q 2022 on one side and the actual sell-through on the other. 


12/11/2021 - The toy Supply Chain prolem is clearly easing on all fronts - the backed-up orders at the Chinese manufacturers; the delays at the ports of Shanghai and Ningbo; and the congestion on the Westcoast ports. However, this appears to be too late to do any good for Christmas shopping. 


11/12/2021 - whist the container backlog clogging the port of Los Angeles appears to be easing following the imposition of fines on 11/15, port congestion continues to be a problem. To illustrate the point - the average time elapsed between a container ship arriving a the port and the date of its departure continues to lengthen. On 11/10/21 the numbe of days between the two dates stood at a record 25.5 days - up from 15.91 days on 10/12, 18.5 days on 9/10 and 10 days on 8/10/21.


10/6/2021 - Toy subcontractors working for the large Westers toy manufacturers report that purchase orders placed for shipment in September or October are piling up in their warehouses and often outside in the open as their clients cannot get the necessary containers to them. This of course adds to the delays experiened at the Hong Kong harbor as well as at the West Coast ports. 


9/11/2021 - Shelf space allocated to the toy industry expanded again at WMT and TGT. However, this did not necessarily translate to category shelf space expansion. In the cases of Construction, Blasters and Fashion Dolls, the difference was in fact quite pronounced. The reason for this is that the long-predicted shortages are now hitting the shelves and this is likely to worsen in the weeks to come


8/05/2021 - Retailers have sharply cut back on the space allocated to toys. In the case of WMT and TGT, it is now the lowest in five years. This cutback is not limited to the toy space overall but also affects all major toy categories.


7/14/2021 - Back To School has started and this with a vengeance. First indications are that we are looking at a plus of 20% over last year. This is no suprise - the kids are going back to school and really have not bought any BTS stuff for two years. However, whilst BTS typically does not have too much of an effect on toy sales, this year it will - all these BTS Dollars will crowd out Toy Sales during the already fraught third quarter. 


6/9/2021 - The acquisition of MGM by Amazon is obviously designed to strengthen the content availability on Amazon Prime Video. However, there is another aspect to it. For some time, executives at Amazon have thought about entering the toy space which for them represents about 8% of their sales. Given MGM's IP portfolio [Addams Famly, Creed, Hobbit, Igor, All Dogs go to Hearven, Tarzan etc] this now becomes a more probable propostion for them. 


5/4/2021 - We all know about the sharp pivot from brick-and-mortar to online in the toy space. What is less known is that Barbie's success is even more pronounced in this pivot. Basically, LOL overtook Barbie in online purchases at Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon during the middle of 2017. However, the picture reversed itself middle of 2020 when Barbie overtook LOL and this has been the case since then. It will be interesting to see how trends continue given Mattel's massive advertising investment in Barbie that started on May 3. 


4/5/2021 - We are likely to see price increases in the toy space later this year and this for two reasons. One is that the Renminbi has risen in value against the Dollar by 9% seince June last year. The second is that supply chain issues - freight and container shortages - are causeing cost increases to the tune of 3%. Between them, a 10% to 15% price increase is hence likely. 


3/17/2021 - After a signifant drop in toy sales ind during the last days of December, coupled with inordinately high returns in December and early January, the toy space has recovered nicely. January - if you disregrd the returns from December sales - was in fact pretty good and February was strong. The retailers I spoke to now expect a very strong March after the dispursement of the $1400 Stimulus payment


2/3/2021 - Funko appears to be recovering from its 2020 decline and this for two reasons - Loungefly continues to be strong in the United States and collectors are migrating back to the brand if store traffic numbers are anything to go by.


1/10/2021 - First feedback from U.S. buyers suggests that not only are toy sales significantly down compared to last year but also that returns are a multiple of what they expected. 


12/13/2020 - The Learning Market - Update

This is the tenth article that looks at the effect the Covid-19 pandemic has and continues to have on consumer behavior, specifically as it applies to toys.


12/7/2020 - Whilst the toy space at Wal-Mart and Target at the end of November was approximately on par with what we had seen a month earlier, it was still about one-third below what had been the case at the end of November 2019. 


11/1/2020 - Spin Master has identified the Chinese toy market as a prime opportunity for the company. To further this aim, the company entered into a strategic relationship with Alibaba earlier this year. Now, with the acquisition of Rubik's this expansion effort in the world's second largest toy market is getting real legs. Rubis's is very strong in China and China is Rubik's largest market. 

10/8/2020: The pivot from brick-and-mortar to online continues apace. However, there is now evidence that this is increasingly driven by low income consumers and this is evidenced by the sharp increase in curb-side pickups. You place the order online but you take delivery outside the store. Two reasons why this should be happening. One is that porch theft is rampant particularly in low-income neighborhoods. The second is that there is a cost associated with home delivery. For Target and Wal-Mart, it is only free if you buy at least US4 35.00 worth of goods. In the case of Dollar General there is no such free lunch - for a $35 shipment yo pay $6.99. 


9/1/2020  Both Wal-Mart and Target have again significantly reduced the shelf space allocated to the toy category. This is the second month in a row and is counter-intuitive in that you should now begin to see a build-up for fourth quarter. This reduction may be temporary and we shall see in a month whether it is or not. In any event, buyers tell me that the pivot from brick-and-mortar to eCommerce continues and that this will definitely lead to a reduction in the shelf presence of toys. 


8/12/2020 The Back-to-School season is well under way and promises to show growth in the order of 5%. However, this is a little misleading in that the growth is fuelled by the higher price tag commanded by the electronics - laptops etc - required for remote learning. In terms actual transactions, the buyers tell me that they are looking at a minus of about 7% compared to last year. Back-to-School is not an important event for the toy market but it is seen by the toy buyers as to how the fourth quarter will shape up. Given this, they are not overly optimistic at this point. 


7/11/2020 There is considerable evidence that Lego has way too much retail inventory in Europe and to a lesser degree in the United States. There are hence efforts from the side of the company to shift inventory from European retailers [particularly in Germany and the U.K.] to the United States and this is meeting with considerable resistance from the retailers here. 


6/3/2020:  Despite the ongoing gradual opening of stores, the pivot from brick-and-mortar to online purchases in the toy space is continuing unabated. This has the effect that brands that sofar have mainly relied on their presence in the stores are losing market share as they find the change difficult to manage in terms of promotional activities. On the other hand, the brands that were effectively locked out from brick-and-mortar are in fact gaining market share and this benefits mainly small manufacturers at the expense of the bigger ones. 


5/7/2020:  After sharp sell-thorugh increases in March,  Arts + Crafts continued to grow in April albeit at a significantly reduced rate and so did theLearning category. Games and Puzzles saw a moderate decline in April after a phenomenal spurt in March. 


4/2/2020:  The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) is directing large “big box” retailers, such as Walmart, Target and Costco, with in-store sales of food, beverage and pharmacy, as well as electronics, toys, clothing, and the like to cease in-person sales of non-essential items in order to reduce the number of people coming into the stores.


3/12/2020: My Chinese friends - third-party toy manufacturers in the wider Shanghai area - report that their factories are returning to normal. At this point they are at an approximate 80% capacity but they are completely backed up until May this year. Shipping has also pretty much returned to normal but freight costs are significantly higher compared to the same time last year. Worse, airfreight charges have skyrocketed and are about three times higher than before the Corona Virus outbreak.


2/3/2020 - Some of my factory contacts in Shenzhen tell me that their manufacturing operations, already shut down for the Chinese Lunar New Year, will not reopen for the time being as their workers refuse to leave their homes to come to the factory. 


01/07/2020 - Baby Yoda is on pre-order at all the majors and is expected to be avaialble on or about 5/25 as far as Hasbro's figures are concerned. No release date as so far been announced for Funko but national buyers tell me that they expect it for early April. At all three - Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon - demand is extremely strong. 


12/7/2019 - Following a very strong Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the toy industry, the leading retailers report that the category has continued to perform very strongly since then. If this continues, we are looking at a 6% growth rate in December at least in the U.S. 

11/01/2019 - Both Wal-Mart and Target continue to expand their toy space compared to former years. In fact, in October they both had the highest linear footage per average store since 2015. In fact, Wal-Mart's end October 2019 shelf space [for average Super Center] was 45% larger than a year earler. In thecase of Target, it was plus 13.5%. However, in the case of Target, given their erratic shelf management, this number has to be taken with a grain of salt. If all toy shelves were fully stocked, the difference to last year would be much greater. 

10/05/2019 - All indications are that we are looking at a very good 4th quarter in the toy space. The buyers uniformaly believe that growth in sell-through will be in the neighborhood of 5% in the U.S. and about 4% internationally. They do not believe that the possible imposition of the 15% tariff threatened for the category will affect fourth quarter at all since all the merchandise is already afloat or ready for shipment with arrivals well before the December 15 date. 


09/02/2019 - Whilst Back-to-School is not a major factor in terms of toy retail sales, the buyers nevertheless view iit as a marker for how the all-important fourth quarter will shape up. This year, all indications are that B-t-S was significantly weaker that last year and this, combined with the ongoing questions surrounding the imposition of tariffs on toys, leads the national buyers to be very cautious when issuing further Purchase Orders for arrival in November. 


06/01/2019 - The threat issued by the White House to slap a tariff on all imports from Mexico - to begin with 5% but rising gradually to 25% - will affect about $2 billion worth of toys at retail. This comes on top of the probable imposition of a 25% tariff on all toy imports from China affecting another more than $20 billion of retail toy sales. 


05/09/2019 - The Rock'n Play Recall is making waves. National buyers report a distinct slowdown in Fisher Price sales since the recall was annunced. They remember the 2007 Fisher Price recalls which ushered in a decade-long decline in sales of the range and they fear that we shall see something similar as a result of this most recent recall. 


04/01/2019 - There is this talk by toy experts just how successful Captain Marvel is. Fact is that the movie racked up a box office in the U.S. in the first 24 days of $353.8 million. In comparison, Black Panther last year at about the same time coined it to the tune of $561.6 million. Also, Captian Marvel is as a toy sales generator not such a hot property either. Black Panther had a sell-through figure worldwide on $20 million in the first quarter 2018 and $5 million in 2019. In comparison, Captain Markvel had nothing last year and $10 in the first quarter this year. These are sell-through numbers and shipment numbers may well be different, though.  


03/08/2019 - There has been a clear improvement in terms of toy aisle traffic and toy sell-tthrough in the past three weeks which suggests that the initial assessment by the toy buyers, given below, may well have been on the overly pessimistic side. 


02/10/2019 - The 35 day shutdown and the following three weeks of uncertainty has already had a significant impact on toy sales. The national buyers at the major retailers report a sharp decline in store traffic and a signifcant drop in toy sales. At this point, assuming that there is no repeat of the shutdown following the 3 weeks grace period, the buyers now believe that toy sales growth during the first half will be reduced to 1%. 
01/02/2019 - There is this heartbreaking story:
Mom warns about toy magnets after son swallows 13, needs emergency  surgery
The product shown looks very much as if it was made by Magformers LLC. I have emailed the company to find out. Once I have the reply I will post it here.
Note that Magformers LLC responded on 1/3/2019 stating:


"We have learned that the product in question is not from Magformers but from one of the many counterfeits on the market.U.S. toy safety standards are among the toughest in the world and federal law requires that every children’s product subject to a federal consumer safety requirement be tested by a CPSC-accepted laboratory for compliance with the applicable federal children’s product safety requirements. Magformers products meet all such requirements and we take great pride in ensuring all of our products are safe for users."


12/3/2018 - Both Wal-Mart and Target have adjusted their toy shelf space at the end of November to recognize the post-TRU reality. This is how this shelf space looks in linear feet compared to end of November 2017 and 2016:
Store                      2017     2016
Target                  +54%    +34%
Wal-Mart              +17%    -18% 
However, this does not mean that existing brands have benefited. There is a fair amount of evidence that major IPs have seen their shelf space cut back in favor of newcomers that did very well at ToysRUs.
11/9/2018 - Foot Locker has now taken in Funko's POP figures.
However, so far these are not on the shelves but rather online and can be picked up by a signifincant number of their stores but not all Also, my sources tell me that movement so far is marginal. However, given the large number of stores Foot Locker has in the U.S., this should materially add to Funko's fourth quarter shipment numbers
10/11/2018 - All indications are that the major retailers advanced October FOB shipments into September. This will benefit the toy companies' shipment numbers for the third quarter but there will be, of course, a compensatory setback in the fourth quarter. 
9/7/2018 - Both Hasbro and Mattel are losing shelf space to newcomers and this both in Action Figures and Fashion Dolls. This is how linear space changed at Wal-Mart and Target between the two dates given below:
Categpry              Mattel                               Hasbro
                             5/31/18   8/31/18        5/31/18    8/31/19
Fashion Dolls         208         178                    205           60
Action Figures         52           46                    154          100
They lost position to Just Play [JoJo Siwa] and MGAE [LOL] in Fashion Dolls and to Jazwares [Roblox] and Jakks [Incredibles] in Action Figures
8/7/2018 - Funko continues to expand its footprint. The company has significantly increased its market share in the Action Figure category in July over June in all major territories - North America, Europe and Asia. 
7/5/2018 - The Game and Hobby Channel toy biz is about to undergo a massive change. The second largest manufacturer in the channel - Azmodee - is in negotiations to be acquired. Industry sources tell me that suitors include some major traditional toy manufacturers interested in expanding their stake in this rapidly growing channel.
6/18/2018 - Toys To Life are now pretty much toast. There is still some Skylanders at Target but both Amiibo and Lego Dimensions have been tossed from the shelves. At Wal-Mart, it is still worse. All three have been thrown out at least as far as their brick-and-mortar presence is concerned. There are still some remnants to be had online but I am told that this, too, will cease once the current inventory has been sold out.
5/16/2018 - Whilst all major toy retailers are salivating at the prospect of getting a portion of ToysRUs' business, there is so far absolutely no evidence that this has resulted in an expansion of the toy shelf space at least at Wal-Mart and Target. In fact, their toy shelf space at the end of April was the lowest for the same date since 2014.
4/8/2018 - Both Hasbro and Mattel are being hammered by smaller but very innovative companies with products making inroads into the Fashion Doll and the Action Figure space. Specifically, MGA's LOL and Just Play's JoJo Siwa are doing exceptionally well Fashion Dolls whereas Jazware and eOne do the same with their Roblox and P.J. Masks ranges in Action Figures.  
O3/11/2018 - Amiibo continues to be the absolute market leader in Dollar terms. Infinity is pretty much on the ropes now with most of its products being on clearance [and hence not counted in shelf space terms]. The Skylanders are making a major effort to gain share by increasing shelf space and this appears to be working somewhat. Lego Dimension is sharply declining
02/08/2017 - Toy shelf space at the major took a major hit in January and stood at its lowest level at the end of the month compared to what we found at the same time period back to 2014. This is an ongoing trend which reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar toy sales to online. In other words, the majors - notably Wal-Mrt and Target - are shifting shelf space to other product categories less exposed to the online trend. 
01/20/2018 - The most recent Star Wars movie - the Last Jedi - is performing badly both in the U.S. and in China - the former the biggest toy market, the latter the second biggest. This is how its box office compares with Rogue and The Force:

Film Box Office

U.S. first 36 days

China Total


$ 869 million

$124 million


$ 507 million

$  69 million


$ 599 million.

$  39 million

In China, the film was yanked after the first two weeks because of very weak performance. 
Also, in terms of toy sales, the film is not doing well. These are the Klosters Retailer Panel estimates for Hasbro's Action Figure sales worldwide at wholesale

Film Toy Sales

Action Figures

4th Quarter

Worldwide Sales



$230 million



$  50 million



$  75 million

12/2/2017 - Ms. Judy A Robbins, the Department of Justice trustee overseeing the TRU bankruptcy case, is not the only one unhappy about the proposed multimillin dollar bonusses requested by the TRU execs. Vendors are not happy either. Remember, the vendors who made shipments before the filing and were still unpaid by then are likely to take a significant haircut on them. There is muttering about lawsuits being filed against the TRU execs for mismanagement and, if they get the bonusses, for misappropriation. 
11/12/2017  -  Store traffic and purchases by consumers in the toy aisles of the three majors - Wal-Mart, Target and ToysRUs  - haver been extremely strong in October. Store managers report traffic up by 11% and purchases up by 14%.
10/01/2017 - The consensus from the side of national buyers at 28 key retailers in 17 countries is that two dolls will sweep the board this fourth quarter - Mattel's Enchantimals and MGA Entertainment's LOL
08/08/2017 - American Girl, whilst still struggling in its own stores, is making progress at mass retail. The brand is getting traction both at Amazon in the U.S. and in Europe but is also beginning to do significantly better at ToysRUs.
06/26/2017 - Contrary to Disney's expectation that Toys To Life would flame out, the key retailers continue their commitment to the category. In addition, Tomy has just launched its own entry into the field - the LightSeeekers. Ubisoft, too, has announced its intention to hit the space next year with its Starllink range.
05/28/2017 - The Fidget Spinner phenomenon is unlikely to last more than twelve months but it will impact the toy space during this time. National buyers estimate the likely retail sales value of the category to clock in somehwere around $300 million to $500 million this year. The inventory shortages now experienced at all major retailers are likely to be temporary since hundreds of Chinese factories are producing the gizmo right now and very considerable quantities are now either afloat or are on loading docks today. This is likely to result in oversupply come end of June and from there on you can expect a race to the price bottom.
04/04/2017 - Two things about Toys To Life. One is that the retailers continue to support the category is their shelf space devoted to Toys To Life is anything to go by. Secondly, Amiibo is clearly the market leader followed by Lego Dimensions.
03/04/2017 - Mattel's first FUHU products - The Nabi and the Nabi Jr Educational tablets - are doing extremely well at both TRU and Amazon. They are not yet at WMT or TGT since both still have a lot of inventory dating to before Mattel acquired the company.



Hatchimals inventories are coming under control. All majors except for Target report that they have enough product to carry them through the next couple of days. The quality issue, too, appears to be improving.



Contrary to what I said below, Disney Infinity is still very much a factor. Obviously, Disney unloaded an incredible amount of inventory before they pulled the plug. The average discount from regular pricing is more than 70% and Infinity is as a consequence still the market leader with an estimate 54% market share. 



Toys To Life Infinity is rapidly disappearing from the shelves of the major toy retailers. The Skylanders have returned to the top position on the strength of their just released Imaginators which are moving very well. Lego Dimension is the runner-up at some distance, followed by Amiibo. Playmation is slowly ceasing to be a factor.



All they key retailers I spoke to, in the U.S. and in Europe, confirm that they are not going to be affected by the Hanjin issue to any great degree. They were aware of Hanjin's problems well before these became public and took appropriate measures to safeguard their fourth quarter shipments. However, this does not necessarily apply to all vendors to these retailers. Smaller vendors who themselves arrange to bring in their fourth quarter inventory could be caught by this and this, in turn, will affect their shipments to the retailers.  



I have now revised my U.S. Toy Market estimates for 2016 based on Retailer Panel metrics and national buyers feedback. This is how the data looks for the full year:



Retail Sales 2015

US$ mill

Retail Sales 2016

US$ mill



Traditional Toys




Toys To Life




Hobby and Games Channel




Grand Total






Please note that my Traditional Toy market figure is scaled up to 100%, not 80% as NPD does. Also, the total Toys To Life sales estimate has been reduced by 15% to take out the non-toy sales [platform and game].


8/3/2016 - Klosters Retailer Panel measurements indicate that the toy market in the U.S. is growing at a 9.1% clip. This includes Toys To Life [+30%] and Game and Hobby Channel Sales [+27.6%]. The total U.S. Toy Market including traditional toys [which are growing at at 7% clip], scaled up to 100%, is estimated to clock in at $29,590 million this year.

7/7/2016 - All indicators are that the Star Trek movie scheduled for release on 7/22 is going to be very successful. National buyers tell me that toy sales today - fifteen days before release - are running in unit terms about 20% ahead of what was the case for the last movie [released on 5/16/2014] and nearly 40% ahead of the movie before that - released on 5/8/2009

6/2/2016 - Cra-Z-Art's jewelry kits sold to the majors were just found to contain ten times the amount of lead permissible under law and a major recall is under way. This is somewhat ironic since the owner of Cra-Z-Art, Larry Rosen, is the same individual implicated in the recall of Magnetix craft kits back in 2006. Magnetix had had comsumer complaints since 2004 and a child died in 2005 after having ingested a Magentix component. Mr. Rosen sold the company that owned Magnetix, RoseArt, to the unsuspecting Bertrands of Mega Brands in 2006. Shortly thereafter, the thing hit the fan big time and eventually nearly brought Mega Brands to its knees. I guess that the Bertrands must now be experiencing a good dose of "Schadenfreude". 


5/6/2016 - The Disney Princess transition from Mattel to Hasbro is hitting a few speedbumps.  One is that both Princess ranges are still for sale next to each other at ToysRUs US as well as at most retailers throughout Europe. Amazon in the U.S. as well in Europe are also offering both ranges. The second is that Mattel's Disney Princess is outselling Hasbro's at an estimated rate of 3:1. The third is that at least in the U.S. Disney Princess has lost massive shelf space. At the end of April last year, Mattel's Princess had nearly double the shelf space compared to what Mattel's AND Hasbro's Disney Princess occupy now.


4/24/2016 - Toys to Life continue to do very well but their market shares are changing dramatically. According to the Klosters Retailer Panel, Disney's Infinity has now more than half of the U.S. market. The Skylanders, Amiibo and Lego Dimension are neck-to-neck and Playmation is in the low single digits.


3/10/2016 - Three national toy buyers at top retailers have given me their assessment of what they saw at Toy Fair. They characterized Mattel's offering as very innovative; that of Hasbro a solid continuation but nothing startling; and Spin Master's as a considerable improvement over what they had seen in the past. Leapfrog was not there at all. VTech showed a very interesting and creative range of new ELP toys. 

2/1/2016 - Hasbro has released its first batch of Disney Princess and the range is available at all three majors. However, Mattel's Disney Princess continues to be there as well with the exception of Target where the range is on clearance. Shelf space for both Princesses has been sharply reduced compared to a year ago whereas Barbie has been sharply ramped up.  


12/30/2015 - Star Wars toys are outselling Frozen by about 30%. In the specific case of Hasbro's Action Figures, the estimate is at wholesale worldwide $650 million in the first twelve months from October 1, 2015. 


11/21/2015 Hello Barbie is now available at all four majors and is doing incredibly well - to the point where all Wal-Mart inventory is sold out. 


10/2/2015 - Hello Barbie, just announced for release very late October - is rated very highly bu the national buyers. Two of the three majors expect it to be in the top ten best-selling SKUs in the fourth quarter. One thinks that it could be the best selling SKU period. 


9/1/2015 - Following the Renminbi devaluation of 4.4% versus the Dollar there is now intensive haggling between the U.S. retailers and their Chinese manufacturers. Basically, the U.S. retailers want a 4.4% reduction in pricing. The Chinese manufacturers I spoke to take a very simplistic stance to this – they say the “if our contract pricing is in Dollars, it will not change, but if we quoted you Renminbi prices, we will stick with the now cheaper prices.”


Basically, their attitude is that the American retailers cannot have their cake and eat it. If they insisted on Dollar prices to insulate them from the continuous Renminbi value increases versus the Dollar that have gone on over the past years, this is what they agreed to and this is what they are going to live with. If they agreed to Renminbi prices, then there is no change and the retailers will benefit from the devaluation. 


8/10/2015 - The Descendants fashion doll range is now #1 at TRU - better than Barbie, Monsters, Frozen etc. It is clearly positioned against Monsters and is located in the fashion doll aisle net to them. 


7/8/2014 - Toy retail sales continued to grow at a good clip in June - up 4% in the U.S. and 3% internationally.


6/4/2015 - May ended on a strong note as far as the toy space is concerned. Growth for the month is estimated at 4% which is very much better than what you had a year ago. 


5/19/2015 The first half of May continued to be very strong in the toy space and this not only for brick-and-mortar but also, unlike April, also for online. Both are expected to be about 4% better than May last year. 


4/8/2015 Mass retailers are confirming their first
quarter estimates of +2% for the toy category. Store
traffic for Easter is brisk and retailers estimate sales
this year will be 3% up this year.



3/10/2015 - In January, the U.S. toy market was soft with estimated growth at about 1%. February was again very much better with growth estimated at about 2% - to 3% based on Klosters Retailer Panel metrics.  


2/12/2015 Imports through the West Coast ports, particularly at Los Angeles/LongBeach, were down last month by about a quarter due to the increasing congestion caused by the docker slowdown. This now has two consequences. One is that charter rates are going up significantly. The second is that - since many importers began rerouting their shipments to East Coast ports, there is now also congestion building there. The result is very clear looking at toy shelves at the major retailers. There are a lot of top SKUs missing and there is a lot of junk on end caps because both manufacturers as well as retailers have begun to scrape the bottom of the barrel in their efforts to keep shelves utilized. 



  • The docker disruptions at the major West Coast 
    ports continue and there is no end in sight. This 
    clearly affected most toy categories by middle of December as demonstrated by the changes in 
    shelf space at Target, ToysRUs and Wal-Mart
    U.S.  between 11/22 and 12/13








Other Fashion Dolls



Action Figures















Other Construction





11/1/2014 - The Klosters Toy Newsletter for November has been published. You can find it on this website - last two pages - or by going to http://www.researchandmarkets.com/, my European-based publishers. When at their website, type Toy Newsletter into their search bar


10/8/2014 - Amazon's Fire HD Kids Edition tablet, scheduled for release on 10/21 at a price of $149, is already very strong at pre-order and in fact the best seller of all kids' tablets sold by the company.  


9/7/2014 - TMNT continues to hold the#1 position in the Action Figure toy category at the big four - Amazon, TGT, TRU and WMT


8/22/2014 - As of Sunday last week, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became the #1 Action Figure in terms of sales at the four major toy retailers - Amazon, Target, ToysRUs and Wal-Mart. 


7/10/2014 - The pickup in toy sales continued throughout June and now stands for the month at about +3%. Europe continues to grow at a faster pace – Northern tier +5%, Southern tier +2%, Eastern tier +6%, overall plus 4%. Latin America is up 5% and Asia more than 6%. 


6/5/2014 - Wal-Mart’s toy space continues to slim down but it is still higher than 2013 and 2012. In the case of Target, it is the lowest since August last year and is the lowest for end May since 2008. However, both are resetting for Summer and this might be the reason


5/12/2014 - BoomCo, Mattel's answer to Nerf, is doing exceptionally well in the U.K. and my buyer contacts tell me that the brand has capturerd about one quarter of Nerf's business. BoomCo is expected to launch in the U.S. in July. 


4/5/2014 - In Consumer Reports’ latest survey released last week, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, Publix, Costco and Sprouts earned the highest scores overall among 55 of the nation’s major grocery stores; Walmart, America’s largest grocer, landed at the bottom of the ratings, based on a survey of 27, 208 subscribers. This jives with the findings of the Klosters Retailer Panel whereby store management reported that consumer complaints skyrocketed by more than 124% in 2013. 

3/6/2014 - ToysRUs continues to lose out against Amazon both in terms of assortment and pricing. On Mary 1, TRU only carried twenty of Amazon's top thirty toys. Of the twenty they had, TRU was nearly a quarter more expensive.


2/10/2014 - All retailers in my retailer panel reported very low toy sales in January 2014 in comparison to January 2013 - which was not much chop to begin. On this basis I am predicting a decline in toy sales for January 2014 compared to 2013 of about 5%.



If there was a surprise product in the toy space in 2013 it was the Rainbow Loom by Choon's Design LLC. Wherever it is for sale the product does extremely well. You can find it at Michaels, Amazon, and vast numbers of toy specialty stores such as Learning Express and others. Target, Wal-Mart and ToysRUs do not carry it but they do sell competitive products mainly from Cra-Z-Art [of RoseArt's fame] - Shimmer'n Sparkle Fashion Maker and Cra-Z-Loom To judge from the website of Choon Design, there are also a host of knock-offs out there which even use the same trademark.



The space devoted to toys by the three major retailers - WMT, TGT and TRU - is expected to decline next year. WMT plans to allocate more space to Consumer Electronics and Target to Baby Articles, both at the expense of toys. TRU is different - their continued roll-out of their side-by-side stores will automatically reduce toy space overall. The regular store has an allocation of about 60% to toys whereas side-by-side stores only have 40%.



Wal-Mart continues to reduce toy space. This is how it looked like for Target and Wal-Mart at the time frame over the past seven years as per my retailer panel:





The brass of ToysRUs is betting big that the Skylanders Swap Force, scheduled for release on October 13, will be the top toy of this Christmas.


9/2/2013 - Two weeks after the launch of Infinity, Skylanders are outselling Disney's brand at a rate of about 10:1. One problem is that  only 16% of the kids aged 6 to 12 are aware of Infinity whereas about 100% are familiar with the Skylanders


7/7/2013 - Target, ToysRUs and Wal-Mart will be starting the reset for fourth quarter late in July. I understand from the national buyers that major changes in the space allocation for toys overall and within the individual toy categories are being implemented


5/22/2013 - Monster Dolls of Mattel are now the # Fashion Doll at mass retail in the United States.

4/13/2013 - Some of my Chinese third-party manufacturing friends tell me that they have become aware of a recently initiated top-to-bottom review by Wal-Mart of its sourcing strategy. At issue, apparently, is the fact that more than 70% of Wal-Mart's sales are of Chinese-made products and this could become a liability in the event that the current fairly amicable political climate obtaining between the two countries - China and the United States - turns into something less friendly as a result of increasing stresses in the relationship. 


3/5/2013 - NPD just reported that "only 29 per cent of core gamers plan on buying a next-gen console". They added some caveats to this statement. One of them was that only about 15% of the 6000 people polled fell into the category of core gamers so that the sample really was only 887 individuals - hardly an impressive number. However, one of my clients - a very large publisher of video games - had carried out similar research at the end of last year after the very disappointing initial sales performance of the WII U. Their sample was considerably larger but it yielded approximately the same result - only about one-third of core gamers are expected to buy into the new consoles - whether these are the PS4 or the XBox 720 or, at that, the Wii U.


1/21/2013 - Mega Bloks is expected to bring out a new range of Halo sets before Easter. The national buyers are in fact quite complimentary about this tie-in which is the best selling of all of Mega's licenses - including Power Rangers, Skylanders, Barbie and World of Warcraft.


12/3/2012 - The Skylanders continue to do phenomenally well and now occupy the #1 position in the Action Figure category both here in the U.S. as well as in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.


11/16/2012 - The sharp decline in toy sales first reported by leading European toy retailers is continuing into November. We are now looking at a minus figures of about 5% throughout Europe - Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece being much worse and Germany, Holland and the Scandinavian countries being in slight plus territory. 


9/15/2012 - The battle between Zynga and Electronic Arts is getting hotter. EA filed a copyright suit last month against Zynga, alleging that the game The Ville was a blatant copy of EA's game The Sims. Today, Zynga has filed three suits against EA. In summary, Zynga alleges that EA's copyright suit is frivilous, that it vastly overstates the case, and that EA illegally tried to stop any hirings by Zynga of EA personnel. 


8/29/2012 - The Angry Bird board game is now #1 at all three major retailers as well as at Amazon. 


5/25/2012 - There are major efforts under way at Hasbro to cut expenses. All trips are closely examined and standard purchases like computers are being denied. Marketing is being cut back.

3/27/2012 - Giochi Preziosi has announced that the TV series Monsuno will begin screening in Germany in April and the toy range will be released in September. Giochi Preziosi are the European licensees for the range; Jakks Pacific has the worldwide rights.  

2/115/2012 - For the full year of 2011 Germany's toy market grew by 7%. France was up 5%, Great Britain up 3%, Italy down 3% and Spain down 7% according to NPD,

12/1/2011 - The Germans are getting ready to buy for Christmas. 92% of all Germans between the ages of 14 and 65 years are planning to buy Christmas presents this year. The average expenditure is forecast at Euro 241 per person, down Duro 4 or about 2% from last year. However, 34% of them are planning to buy toys and their purchases are expected to be higher than last year by 1%.

11/21/2011 - The Swiss toy market, too, is growing  In the first nine months of this year, growth clocked in at 10%. Of particular popularity with girls were Playmobil's Princess Castle, the Cookie plush dog by Russ, and Barbie's Princess Charm School whereas boys went for the smart phone controlled i-Helicopter by Happy Cow and Lego's Ninja or Starwars sets.

11/17/2011 - The German toy market is growing. For the whole of 2011, it is expected to hit 2,273 million Euro, up from 2,498 million Euro in 2010.