Toy market growth driven by 'kidults' buying for themselves

18th April 2017

Lego store by Fitch

One in every 11 toys in sold in Britain in 2016 was bought by an adult – for themselves, according to a new report from The NPD Group.

The study says that the £300m ‘kidult’ toy market is growing three times faster than the overall toy market, up 65 per cent in value terms since 2012, and showing growth of 21 per cent in 2016 alone.

Millennials – those aged between 18-34 years of age – are responsible for 50 per cent of these sales, with Generation X – those aged 35-54 – accounting for around a third and Baby Boomers aged over 55 making up 18 per cent. Star Wars and Lego are among favourite brands for this kind of consumption.

Men are more likely to buy toys for themselves than women, and more than half of purchases are made online. Adults without children spend more on toys for themselves than adults with children.

NPD global industry analyst Frederique Tutt says: “The trend for the not-so-young buying toys for themselves is a sign of our times. It’s now normal in Britain to see adults playing games on their smartphones in public, and that’s true whether the adult is dressed in a hoodie or a suit. Recently, we’ve experienced a revival in the market for board games as families look to spend quality time together the old-fashioned way. The trend for people aged 18+ buying toys for themselves is possibly a reaction against the stresses of our fast-paced lives. Toys are fun – and when you are having fun any stress you might be feeling goes away. It makes perfect sense.”