Twenty-eight is the new eight

Richard Heayes, PlayLenz
There are a few growth drivers in the toy business right now, but one that is breaking down barriers is the adult toy and games market.

With young adults staying single for longer, having kids later (or not at all) and looking for something to de-stress from their busy digitally infused lives, toys are providing the pivot back to their inner 8-year-old. But this time they don’t have to hope Santa will deliver as they have all the cash they need.

Technic Bugatti Chiron
Games like the refreshed Fireball Island and the content laden £200+ Gloomhaven are ticking all the right boxes. The £250 LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron is so cool you kind of convince yourself – and your other half – that it’s a investment piece only. Drones are really just the RC helicopters we all wished for but knew we’d probably write off on Boxing Day.

It’s not just boys’ toys either. There are many female-driven collectables like the range from Pusheen vinyls from Thumbs Up.

Thumbs Up
However, any trip to Firebox, ThisiswhyImbroke or other similar sites shows the breadth of toy and gift product available, and the novelty that goes into much of it.

It’s clear there is a huge market for something to not only put a smile on your face, but to put a smile on all your follower’s faces via an appropriate Instagram or Tweet.

The biggest difference here is the price point.

Where the regular toy business starts to squeal over £40, this market is very price fluid. If it’s super cool, then the price ceiling is Sistine Chapel high. I’ve seen so many failed concepts which were aimed at kids and had to be sub-£20 that would work so well as more adult-targeted, where £50 plus would be just fine.

For the games business, it’s clear that many students will club together for a good party or tabletop game. If it delivers the fun, then a tenner each is seen as good value and for a house of four to six students and can buy you a lot of fun.

With the birthrate continuing to fall across the affluent global markets, it’s clear to me that toy companies need a proper strategy on how to tap this market. But they will also realise they are up against gift companies who operate on super fast turnarounds with arguably more innovative thinking.

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