STEM toys have been one of the highest growth areas of traditional toys, outpacing the growth of the total toy market every year, which is expected to continue over 2016-2021. The strong growth of STEM toys comes from increased parental desire to take a more active hand in their child’s education and the hopes that by fostering greater early child educational development their child will be better prepared for college and eventually their careers.
Mass versus speciality STEM sales
With some parents focused on maximising the educational benefits of the toys their children play with, and others who are still interested in STEM toys but are more willing to take a broader view of what qualifies as a STEM toy, so long as its somewhat educational and entertaining, two different product types have emerged within the STEM toy market: mass-market and speciality STEM toys.
Mass-market STEM toys are products that do not advertise themselves primarily as STEM toys, like simple LEGO sets or simple board games. Speciality STEM toys are more restricted and explicitly market their educational properties, like chemistry or robotic sets.
Differences between mass and speciality STEM products
Source: Euromonitor International
Mass and speciality STEM have different primary categories
There is a wide split between the category make-up of mass and speciality STEM toys. Speciality toys tend to be more oriented around strictly scientific/educational toys and educational pre-school toys. These categories contain products like Snap Electronics or LeapPad. Mass STEM toys are largely made up of construction, and games and puzzle products. These include LEGO products other than its educational offerings, like Mindstorms and LEGO Boost.
Mass STEM dominates the STEM toy market
Mass-market STEM toys are the vast majority of the overall STEM market, in large part due to their broad appeal and relative affordability compared to speciality STEM toys, which include expensive children’s tablets and high priced robot construction sets. While mass-market STEM toys dominate the overall STEM toy market, speciality STEM toys are expected to see their share of sales grow over time. Much of this is due to the fact that many young adults are putting off having children and are having few children overall.