It’s no secret that we absolutely love toys here at Gallium, that’s why we’re often found running around the halls of London and New York Toy Fairs showing off the new products our clients have as well as cooing over what products toy companies (and independent inventors) are launching or planning to launch over the next few years.
This year has been an interesting year for toys, especially with one of the biggest blockbusters in cinema being based entirely around a toy. With the New York Toy Fair at the end of the month and the London Toy Fair following closely behind in January 2024 is set to be the most exciting year for the Toy category. Here are the trends we eagerly anticipate seeing in the next 12 months.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Barbie’s back in a BIG way
Let’s face it, we all lost our collective minds at the launch of the Barbie movie earlier this year, and while the world’s most famous doll never really fell out of favour, the massive success of the movie has definitely helped push her back to the top of the most-wanted list this year.
It also probably helps that Mattel has released a number of tie-in products from the movie including a refresh of the Barbie Dreamhouse that’s a whopping three stories high, has over 75 pieces, and includes that massive slide.
Is it possible to take out a mortgage for a plastic house?
Furby has a new look
That creep show from the 90s is back and it’s way less creepy. Yep, we’re talking about Furby, the toy that fuelled many a millennial’s nightmares, especially when it decided to start bouncing and talking in the middle of the night from across the room…
Anyway, Hasbro has decided to give the fuzzy little critter a brand-new look that’s actually quite adorable. It’s also way “smarter” with a voice-activation mode that responds to commands and has over 600 responses.
There is also a range of accessories available for personalisation, letting kids customise their furry friend!
Retro is cool again
Speaking of things big in the 90s, we’re seeing a trend of retro-themed toys becoming popular. This includes; wait for it, toy boom boxes, flip phones, cassette players, and Gameboy-style toys.
We’re also seeing classic toys coming back around with products such as the well-known Tonka Mighty Dump Truck making a return.
Going green with wooden and sustainable toys
Ever the classic; we’re seeing a continued trend of wooden toys, whether that’s your standard building blocks or shape puzzle toys for our youngest generations, or wooden cars, bikes, and kitchen playsets for toddlers.
As we become more environmentally conscious, we’re seeing more demand for eco-friendly products and toys with longevity that can be handed down to new generations or given to friends and family having kids, too. So expect to find many more wooden toys, cardboard toys, or even toys made from recycled plastic gracing toy shelves..
Toy manufacturers are also making an effort to be more responsible. Mattel, for example, has pledged to achieve “100% recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastics materials in both its products and packaging by 2030”.
Toys that teach!
EdTech and educational-based toys continue to rise in popularity as more tech-savvy parents are keen to have their little ones learn aspects of STEM from an early age, whether that’s learning to code or (safely) experimenting with science.
In addition, as a byproduct of the pandemic, we’re seeing parents leaning more towards toys that have an educational value for their children as these were a huge saving grace when kids had to learn from home.
What’s in the box? It’s a mystery
Following the boom of unboxing videos on YouTube, over the years we’ve seen an increasing trend of mystery toys and blind boxes. This trend has now gone one step further as we begin to see a trend of mystery toys that have several steps to unboxing the toy.
LOL Surprise is one of the biggest contributors to this trend with each product including several smaller packets or boxes to open to reveal different accessories or parts of the final toy.
Another is Treasure X which cleverly disguises this “unboxing” trend by having kids cut open or dissolve parts of the toy itself to reveal different characters and accessories to play with.
The rise of the Kidults and Toy Adjacent toys
In the market of toys aimed at younger generations, we’re also seeing a boom in “kidult” and toy-adjacent toys. This includes a few of the old-becomes-new-again products we mentioned earlier (Barbie and Furby) but also collectable toys such as Funko POP!’s, Pokémon, as well as movie tie-in toys.
As for toy-adjacent – a category that is largely made up of fiddle toys, we’re seeing an increase in demand for this type of product that is increasing in popularity not only among kids but also adults.
But we all know how fast trends evolve and the cross-section between toys, technology and entertainment. If you have a toy brand and want to take advantage of Gallium’s knowledge, experience and expertise to help your toy take the market by storm, get in touch.
Featured image credit: Mattel, Inc.