2023 Toy Trends!!

Back to Basics, Be Authentic, Tween Takeover, Macro to Micro, & Pop Culture Lifestyle Named Biggest Trends of the Year

This year’s largest growing  trends in kids’ entertainment strike a balance between turning back to classic play and breaking into new platforms, technologies, and consumer spending habits to drive innovation across the toy space.  According to The NPD Group, people aged 12 and older account for roughly 25% of annual toy sales, generating $9 billion. This new data supports the “kidult” trend and has also proven that play isn’t just for kids anymore.

This year, there are new demographics of consumers that toymakers will focus on for growth opportunities. These and other top 2023 toy trends were announced by The Toy Association during The Play Date, held March 8 in New York City. The  exclusive Q1 media event was held in partnership with Adventure Media & Events in New York City. A deeper dive into the briefing, featuring more product examples and insights, is now available online.

“If there is one key takeaway that ties all the latest toy and play trends together, it’s that what consumers want matters more than ever,” said Adrienne Appell, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. “In part, due to the current economic climate, today’s shoppers hold the power and the purse strings. Yes, they are being budget-savvy, but they are also being smart about what they invest in. These toy trends underscore the industry’s ability to deftly respond to this constantly evolving landscape shaped by the way toy lovers of all ages are spending their leisure time — on and off their screens — and their money.”

Here’s a summary of the top trends for 2023 and beyond:


According to a OnePoll survey of 2,000 U.S. parents commissioned by The Toy Association in September 2022, 79 percent of U.S. parents view play as an important form of self-care. 77 percent of parents used toys during the pandemic to help their child with social-emotional learning, and most are still doing so today (92%). Self-care can look different to each person, from trying a new sport, to meditating. In the toy arena, this concept is taking shape across a range of products that instill healthy habits – from mindfulness and good sleep habits to increased social emotional awareness through nurturing play. Toys that introduce kids to new hobbies and help families find joy through classic play is a major force in the “back to basics” trend.

There is now enough data on the “kidult” consumer to know that play isn’t just for kids anymore. The NPD Group recently reported that “kidults” (ages 12 and up) are currently the biggest driver of growth in the toy industry. While adults have been turning to play to de-stress and to incorporate fun into their daily lives since the start of the pandemic, this year we expect to see a surge in tween and teen toy buyers. With social media as a driving force, this demographic sees a cool factor to collecting, customizing, and displaying toys on social platforms. The toy industry can respond to this demand with more toys that cater to the tween/teen demographic and beyond, including fidget/sensory toys, collectibles, arts & crafts, and tech toys.

Today’s shoppers are savvy. Authenticity matters more than ever to these smart shoppers. In the toy space, shoppers will be on the lookout for toys that offer deep value while supporting companies that are enacting positive change in the world. In 2023, expect to see toys that incorporate various ways to play for consumers of all ages, including the elderly. You’ll also see new tech enhancements that reinforce fun and learning.  And be sure to look for toys that not only teach social responsibility, diversity, and sustainability, but are made by companies that engage in such practices. Companies will create or expand partnerships with experts in fields related to education, diversity, and sustainability.

From oversized versions of classic games that have a novelty factor, to tiny craft projects and micro-sized, functional collectibles and playsets, this year’s Macro to Micro trend is driven primarily by social media. This is where unique and quirky toys have the potential to go viral and bolster consumer demand. While novelty and online shareability are a plus, these playthings are also sought after for their distinctive elements which include collectability, new gaming mechanics, and highly stylized details.

With more touchpoints and apps for brands and content than ever before, fandoms for many shoppers have evolved into lifestyles. From tapping into gaming and anime themes, to leveraging “core” aesthetic trends on social media, to hitting a nostalgic note with re-launches from past decades, this is a trend that will engage multiple audiences through streaming channels, digital worlds, and physical product. For brand owners, focusing on different fan bases offers new opportunities to expand their revenue streams.

With licensed toys and games accounting for 31% of total toy sales (The NPD Group), The Toy Association continues to track highly anticipated movie and TV/streaming releases that will have an impact on the  market. This year, studios will capitalize on evergreen toy and kids’ entertainment brands with refreshing new takes for the “big screen” (Barbie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Super Mario Bros., etc.) as well as sequels, trilogies, and spin-offs of fan-favorites (Indiana Jones, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, etc.). In toy aisles, this will translate to fresh new products and opportunities for innovation on shelves. Streaming services, digital worlds, and gaming will also continue to invite toymakers to bring today’s most popular properties to the toy aisles.


The full trend report is now available at toyassociation.org/trends and on The Toy Association’s YouTube channel. To stay on top of the trends shaping the industry, save the date for Toy Fair 2023, taking place September 30 to October 3 in New York City, where the 2023 holiday and new-for-2024 toys will be on display.

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