Have Toys and Gifts merged?

It’s Labor Day today but when you love what you do, it’s a labor of love, so we are at our toy store and doing some thinking. The toy industry has made a major shift this year from toy giving to gift giving. The top selling products for 2017 (January thru August) bear this out. Only 3 of our Top 10 product ranking would be legitimately called toys as we know it. The other 7 ranking SKU’s would traditionally be marked as gifts.   Let’s take a look;


  1. Fidget Spinners
  2. PopSockets
  3. Fidget Cubes
  4. Thinking Putty
  5. Laser X Tag  (toy)
  6. EggMazing Egg Decorator
  7. Logo Loops Headbands
  8. Bashminton activity game (toy)
  9. ClipCase personalized
  10. Hatchimals (toy)

There are two main reasons I see for this change in dynamics over time. The first is fashion has trickled down to kids at an earlier age– take PopSockets, our top customers are middle schoolers and high school aged kids followed by adults. Multiple purchases are made by the same customer to fit their style of the day.  The second is we (toy stores) have met the needs of our customers better by opening up space and stocking products for tweens, older kids and adults– in fact we had to. The aging out of kids for toys at a much earlier age caused traditional toy sales to fall thus the need to expand our reach to higher age points. This has worked.  The Spinner craze only amplified this by the wide range of ages purchasing the fidget products from 5+ to Grandparents.

spinner girl

Will this trend continue?  Well for the holiday season you will see the trend toward mostly toys in November and December as toy giving is the main purpose(Christmas and Hanukkah), but I strongly suggest that the product mix you see in successful stores will be a blend of toys and traditional gifts going forward. After all, it’s the customer that dictates what we stock and right now it has fashion written all over it.

Until next time.

Rick (The Toy Man).





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