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As budgets tighten, parents are saving room for toys

Safety group says these are the 10 worst toys of the 2020 holiday season
Posted at 7:32 AM, Aug 16, 2022

As family budgets tighten, the toy industry seems prepared to weather the storm.

The two largest players, Hasbro and Mattel, reported profits were up year-over-year in the second quarter of 2022.

It comes on the heels of rapid growth during the pandemic.

"Toys have been absolutely on fire," said Steve Pasierb, the president and CEO of the Toy Association.

"When people predicted sales would be off" in 2020, Pasierb said, "they grew enormously. In 2021, [the] same thing."

Over the last few months, as sectors like clothing and video games have begun to report a decline in sales, the toy industry continued to thrive.

"Overall," Pasierb said, "pretty much everything is selling well."

The desire for toys led some economists to classify them as consumer staples rather than discretionary products.

It is a distinctly North American industry.

Pasierb said consumers spend about 50% more on toys than shoppers in Europe and ten times as much as those in Asia.

"At the end of the day, parents and adults love their kids," Pasierb said. "They want to get them that birthday present. They want toys under the tree. They want Hanukkah presents. The toy industry tends to be recession-proof."

Now, the industry is beginning to gear up for the holidays.

The finalists for Toy of the Year were announced Monday.

The list includes Squishmallows, Healthy Roots dolls, and a Lego set based on "The Office."

Pasierb said the challenge for retailers would be keeping toys on the shelves for the holiday season.

"The supply chain is not fixed," he said, noting the long backlogs at the port of Los Angeles.

He said retailers would be stocked up in September and October, but things will get dicier after Black Friday.

His advice?

"If your kid has their heart set on a given toy, buy that now," Pasierb said.