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Kidults are Driving Sales of Toys and Games

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Adults buying toys for themselves is giving a much-needed boost to companies in the toys and games industry as the number of children declines.

Who are kidults?


Single-person households are growing faster than any other household demographic globally. This is being driven by millennials focusing more on their careers and leisure time than on starting a family or living with a partner, and the growing number of longer-living elderly people at home by themselves due to a divorce, or death of a partner.

Households with no children accounted for 54% of all household types in 2021, and this figure is expected to continue to rise over the forecast period. Even when couples have children, many choose to have just one child. Without having to cater for the cost and time required for raising a child, couples have more disposable income and personal time to pursue their personal interests.

Millennials’ incomes in many emerging markets are on a par with or even higher than the more experienced gen X and baby boomers. Millennials are better-educated, tech-savvy and bilingual (speak and write good English) and thus, are in demand by large corporations. With globalisation, a good command of English has become a necessity, and thus millennials can command higher salaries than older workers, despite their more years of work experience.

What are kidults buying?

Sales of dolls and accessories dominated in traditional toys and games as demand exploded due to the popularity of blind boxes, especially in China, which appeal to both adults and children and both genders. Dolls are also proven to help children expand their imaginative play.

Construction toys is another category that attracts both the young and young at heart. Adults tend to purchase more complicated and pricier models. Companies are also launching limited edition models to cater to buyers’ desire for exclusivity.

Games and puzzles has always been an ageless category, and sales skyrocketed due to the pandemic. Even as the world moves into a new normal, many adults will still turn to board games and puzzles to reconnect with family and friends and as a form of “digital-detox”.

With film releases from Star Wars, Marvel and DC franchises lined up over the forecast period, sales of action figures and accessories will continue to enjoy brisk sales as kidults re-live their childhood memories and many attempt to get their children to share their love of superheroes.

30% of respondents aged 30-44 reported playing online video games a few times a week in 2021, a massive jump from 23% in 2019. These are probably new gamers who had previously not played online games much. Games that are easy to play and do not require payment upfront are generally more popular with these adult gamers, who play to kill time and to interact with friends.

For further insight, read our briefing, No Child's Play - Kidults Buying Toys.


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