By Andrew Rogers
While Christmas feels like a distant memory for most of us, the toy industry is busy getting ready for the next one. January kicks off some of the world’s biggest toy fairs where we get a first taste of the top toy trends for the year ahead.
What will be the must-haves in Christmas 2019, and how will the wider economy affect the toy trade? Here are our 2019 toy trend predictions for the year.
Pocket money toys will help keep parents on trend?
Pocket money toys saw strong growth in 2018, and 2019 will be another big year for the category. With growing uncertainty in many parts of the global economy, parents are turning away from bigger box items and instead picking up smaller pocket money items.
These usually cost less than £5 and provide a fun gift for kids without a big investment. After all, the biggest risk is that expensive toys are quickly discarded by kids if they get bored. Cheaper pocket money buys reduces that worry. Plus, they have the advantage of being stocked across a wider range of retailers, including smaller supermarkets. This year, as trends continue to evolve, pocket money toys will provide a great way for parents to stay on-trend without breaking the bank.We haven’t reached peak kidult yet
Kidult toys are products aimed at an adult audience but with the usual appeal of kids’ toys. Often, these are collectables. Think of the runaway success of Funko POPs or the LEGO Millennium Falcon replica. 2019 will see the kidult category increase its share of overall toy spending, as more adults buy more toys, more often for themselves.
This is in many ways linked to long and short terms economic factors. As mentioned, 2019 looks to include more economic uncertainty. This will likely reduce consumer confidence in big purchases such as holidays. But it may boost smaller treat purchases such as kidult toys. In the same way that economic slowdowns increase demand for fancy ready meals as a substitute for dining out, kidult toy spending should be an overall winner in the toy category.New licenses are here, but the big names will still dominate
It’s no surprise to say that big licenses will be important once again in 2019. What will change are the licenses battling for our attention. 2018 saw the popularity of video game Fortnite explode worldwide. 2019 will be the year when we see the brand everywhere, from toys to collectables. If they see strong sales in Q1, expect to see even more video game studios follow their lead.
That said, it’s important not to overstate the effect of new challengers. It will still be the usual big names licenses that dominate in 2019. But predictions can of course follow the biggest film and TV releases. Expect new lines to accompany the fourth installment in the Avengers series and a new line of toys as Toy Story 4 returns after almost a decade.Toys will compete for the biggest ‘wow’ moment
Like never before, toys in 2019 will compete for the biggest wow moments. Thanks to the rise of toy unboxing on YouTube, toy manufacturers will compete to make their toy’s introduction to the world as exciting as possible. Expect more mystery with random collectables, or big moments when the toys are revealed. LOL Surprise was just a taste of what’s to come.
As well as making products exciting in the hope they go viral with toy influencers, toys will battle for organic sharing from parents. With parents sharing more of their kids’ lives online, big toy moments will also make for better Instagram stories. The battle for 2019’s biggest wow moment is now well underway.
One thing is for sure – it’s set to be another fun-filled year for the toy industry. The fight to be Christmas number one has already started, and products will continue to innovate. So reload those Nerf guns, power up those Buzz Lightyears, and charge up those RC cars as we head into an exciting 2019.