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The Latest Trends In Toys
Last updated April 21, 2021

The toy business has changed dramatically since the pandemic started. Now parents’ toy purchases are influenced by results of the pandemic.

For the coming summer, the focus will be on backyard and in-home toys as out-of-home events continue to be canceled. Ride-on toys will have strong growth and products focused on sustainability, like garbage and recycling trucks, including ones with accessories to teach children about reusability, will be very popular. Water blasters and super soakers with new features will also be popular.

In 2020, the NPD Group reported a 29% increase in the outdoor and sports toys category, with sales totaling $5.35B. The outdoor fun will continue in 2021, with families turning to their backyards and outdoor spaces once again as the pandemic continues to limit summer camp and travel options.

The key to taking market share is innovation. Of course that means lots of new toys will take market share but it also means that long-established brands that can adapt and change can also gain share.

The broadest trends are:

  • STEM toys - promoting science and math skills
  • Green toys - products that encourage sustainability
  • Toys that promote family fun and playing at home
  • Social Emotional Learning - toys that help kids stay calm and teach them how to manage their feelings
  • Digital influences - YouTube is a huge source of information for children about toys they want

Families can still keep the fun going at home and spend that summer vacation money on toys that turn their backyards into playgrounds for kids to enjoy all season long. The toys you’ll find in our guide are jam-packed with play value and will get the little ones off their screens and outside. Plus, they may even sneak in a little summer learning!

Notable summer toy trends include over-the-top toys for impressive backyard fun, educational toys to prevent the summer slide after a year of remote learning, fun toys and games that bring the best of summer camp to your home, and new toys inspired by kids’ favorite movies, TV shows and YouTube channels, including Ryan’s World, Blue’s Clues & You! and Raya and the Last Dragon.

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