PPB June 2022

Games & Toys by Kristina Valdez In 2020, 9-year-old Ryan Kaji was the highest-paid YouTube star in the world, making about $26 million yearly. How did he do this? By simply reviewing and unboxing toys. His YouTube channel, Ryan’s World, has nearly 33 million subscribers, and in 2019, his branded toy line made more than $200 million in retail sales. Obviously, it pays to play. With millions of families sheltered at home in 2020, U.S. toy sales took off. According to The Toy Association, the toy industry saw a 16.7% increase in sales, compared to 2019. The demand for toys is still sky-high. According to the NDP Group, U.S. retail sales of toys grew by 13% in 2021. Themost popular categories were games and puzzles, dolls and action figures and outdoor play. Weatherrelated products like sleds and inflatables also flewoff the shelves. According to The Toy Association, this year’s trends will focus on sustainability and social justice themes, escapism through play and next-level sensory. Adrienne Appell, executive vice president at The Toy Association, says, “These trends are supported by an array of innovative products from companies of all sizes that engage children in play that is both fun and beneficial to their social, cognitive and physical development—and for adults, provide amuch-needed escape from the stress of day-to-day life.” During lockdown, consumers rediscovered the joy of play. Demand for games and toys soared. Now, these products aren’t just for the playground, but also for offices and desks. With these childlike products, distributors are sure to create lasting moments of joy and wonder for their clients. Play It Safe Brenda Rocha - Blossom / Kovalchuk Oleksandr / shutterstock.com 44 | JUNE 2022 | GROW