Gifts Today magazine

Bestselling baby toys revealed by NPD

Average of £159 spent on newborn’s toys and further £208 in baby’s second year

With the imminent arrival of a royal baby, The NPD Group, a leading global information company, has some insights into the market for toys for newborns. The United Kingdom is the fourth largest toy market in the world and has the highest per capita spend in Europe. British consumers spent £3.3 billion on toys in 2018, buying 371 million items.

In the UK, an average of £159 is spent on a newborn’s toys such as playmats, gyms, infant plush, rattles, teethers and soft toys in their first year. As baby grows, toys and play become a crucial part of discovery and learning. Thus, in baby’s second year, the average spent on toys rises to £208, so by baby’s second birthday the total average amount spent on toys is £367.

Although it won’t be the case for Harry and Meghan, many young families feel the financial impact of the new arrival and so are price-sensitive when choosing toys. For more than half of toys bought for a newborn, parents and gift givers were primarily influenced by a promotion or discount, and this factor was a secondary influence for 29%, even though the average price spent on those toys is only £11.15. VTech’s First Steps Baby Walker, the top-selling Infant/Toddler toy, retails for approx. £24, and Fisher-Price’s Laugh & Learn Smart Stages First Words Puppy, the best new toy in the category, is selling at approx. £15.

In the first year, parents account for 39% of the overall spend on toys for baby, and grandparents like Charles and Camilla for 30%. Parents buy more than one-third (36%) of their baby toys online, while grandparents prefer to shop in store.

Changing trends in infant and toddler toys
Connected story-telling toys are an emerging trend in today’s toy market. Many parents like Harry and Meghan might have been read to in person by their parents before sleep, but the new generation of today’s babies may well grow up with a different experience. Today books with projectors connected to mobile phones and interactive story-telling toys offer a more modern option for bedtime stories.

One example is the Tonie Box – an interactive story-telling speaker with inter-changeable characters. They come pre-loaded with tales which can be supplemented with Wi-Fi downloads for use on-the-go. Such interactive story-telling toys made the top 10 best-seller lists for little ones in both France and Germany in 2018, and the NPD Group expects this trend to take off in the UK in 2019.

Frederique Tutt, Global Industry Analyst, Toys, NPD says: 'Toys and play are synonymous with key milestones in early learning, from lying down and discovering the world to sitting stages, crawling, walking and talking so there’s a significant focus on development and learning in the top 10 best-selling baby and toddler toys. We expect Harry and Meghan to be trendsetters in the toy industry, but will they be modern parents with connected tech toys, or choose more classic interaction and play?'

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