The toy industry survives thanks to ‘Kidults’, adults who buy toys for themselves

A report notes that toy manufacturing  can continue today thanks to adults buying toys for themselves and not for children.


The toy industry  is still relevant today despite the fact that it has been losing more and more ground to technology and video games among the smallest members of the household. However, contrary to what one might think, the authors of the survival of this market in the middle of 2022 are not children, but adults who buy toys for themselves.

According to what is detailed in a report by the NPD Group obtained by CNBC , a quarter of annual toy sales are thanks to this group called “Kidults” , a term used to refer to people of legal age who retain similar interests to those of a child such as continuing to acquire toys for their collection or personal use.

An industry that lives on nostalgia

The report mentions that there are companies that have already created product lines focused specifically for “Kidults” such as the American Mattel . In addition, the data indicates that the value of annual toy sales by this audience amounts to US$9 billion. However, this growth is also linked to the rise in prices of these types of products due to inflation, in turn rewarding the 3% loss that this industry reported at the beginning of 2022 after the months of pandemic.

The analysis highlights that adults spend much more money on toys than children to purchase, specifically, collectibles or action figures from movies, series, video games or any character that reminds them of their childhood.

“Kidults”, an audience that is not afraid to enjoy their hobbies

This type of toy began to become popular in the 1970s and 1980s with movie sagas such as Star Wars and Ghostbusters . The children of that time, who must now be in their 40s or 50s, are still interested in such products but now with a feeling of nostalgia.

“Those kids that were born in the ’70s and ’80s were really the first generation that had so much license and so much product that was available for them to be demonstrably united. It’s not a big surprise then that those kids are in their 40s and 50s and still showing that ,” Jeremy Padawer , CEO of toy company Jazwares , told CNBC .

Another reason the toy industry is making such profits in the midst of the high-tech age is because adults who buy toys for themselves are no longer afraid to express their feelings because society has learned that being a adult person does not just mean being “serious”. “What it used to mean, to be an adult, was to be a very honest and serious member of society. And to do that you had to show it intellectually, emotionally, in every other way ,” Padawer said .

Currently, there are several industries that have begun to realize the consumption potential of the “Kidults” public and that is why they are adapting their businesses to meet their needs.