Teens and adults fuelling growth in European toy markets, says Circana

Circana, Frédérique Tutt

Teens and adults aged 12 years and older are fuelling growth in the European toy market, while sales to children under 12 years are in decline.

This is according to Circana’s State of the Toys Consumer: Teens & Adults report – an analysis of consumers, collectors and fans aged 12 and up in the five largest markets in Europe, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Valued at €4.5 billion in 2023, the toy market for teens and adults aged 12 years and up has grown by 2.5% since 2022 and now represents 28.5% of total toy sales. Adults have been the fastest growing age group in the toy market over the last two years with a 5.5% increase in sales, while adolescents (12 to 17 years) grew by 3.3%.

In contrast, sales for children have fallen significantly since 2021 with spend per child also declining. Children under 12 are still the biggest purchasers of toys, however, spending €295/head compared to adolescents (€89/head) and adults (€10/head).

Games & Puzzles are winning in terms of top toy categories, with Building Sets gaining ground thanks to LEGO, who dominate the category. LEGO is also the most popular manufacturer among consumers and collectors aged 12 and up.

Licensed toys reached another record high in 2023, according to the report, representing more than 27.8% of total toy sales in EU5. Big franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, DC and Pokémon are all fuelling the ‘fandom’ phenomenon.

“With a passion for board games, puzzles and collections, a heavy dose of fandom, and a touch of nostalgia, it seems that older kids and adults are redefining the toys market,” said Frédérique Tutt, Global Industry Advisor for Toys at Circana.

“Despite the increased cost of living, fans of toys and games know what they like and are prepared to spend money on it. To some extent this is down to consumer groups with deeper pockets who can afford to indulge their passions, but we’re now also seeing a rise in serious toy collectors, fans of pop culture and those who take gaming, puzzling and playing to another level.”

According to Circana’s report, almost half (47%) of all toy sales made to teens and adults aged 12 and up are online. Country by country analysis shows that in Germany and the UK, the online share is larger than in-store, while in-store remains strong in the French market.

Tutt continued: “For brands, license owners and retailers, there are real opportunities to grow the adults and teens market as a whole, and also increase their share within it, through diversification and by developing in-store shelf space and online ranges targeted at older consumers.”

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