Traditional Toys: The Growth of STEM and Physical Development Toys

Strategy Briefing

About This Report

Oct 2015

Parents globally have started to purchase traditional toys & games that contribute to their child’s physical and mental development. Rising obesity concerns and increased urbanisation have fuelled physical development toys, while science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) toys have been favoured by parents who want to ensure that their child will be competitive academically. With new products being developed, child development toys will become a focal point for retailers & manufacturers.

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Traditional Toys: The Growth of STEM and Physical Development Toys

Urbanisation driving emerging physical activity toy sales

One of the major factors driving an increase in the sales of physical activity toys in emerging markets is the growth in urban households. Growing urban populations are pushing parents to find new ways to keep their children active.

Obesity worries and decline in sports participation push outdoor toys in developed markets

In developed markets, there have been numerous reports of rising numbers of obese and overweight children. At the same time, fears of injury have reduced sports participation. This has led many parents to seek ways to keep their children physically active, supporting growth in sales of outdoor and sports toys.

Developing markets focused on the basics of STEM

Many children in developing nations continue to lag behind developed counterparts in terms of maths and science skills, according to international standardised testing. This has led to a focus in many of these countries on toys targeted at developing basic skills.

Broad interest in STEAM toys in developed markets

Parents in developed countries have become very concerned to get their children ready for a highly competitive college market. As such, they are looking to foster early education development in children with arts and crafts products.

Retailers develop new strategies for parents, focused on child development

Retailers are looking to benefit from the growth of development-focused parents. Amazon, for example, has created a new area of its website devoted to STEM products, while sporting goods stores are stocking more toys to appeal to parents.

Child development a focus for toys in the future

Child development toys are expected to see strong growth in both STEM and physical activity products.


STEM and physical development toys definitions
Key findings

The New Focus On Child Development

The New Focus On Child Development

Child development toys growing in popularity
Smaller households have given rise to more parental involvement
STEM heavily backed by high income markets
Physical development a global concern
Retailers signal big gains in physical development toys
STEM an online retail focus

Toys for physical development

Toys for Physical Development
Developed nations have a child weight problem
Child obesity fears loom large in the US
Sports participation declining in developed countries
Rising sales of physical development toys in developed markets
Outdoor and sports toys are the focus in developed markets
Developing markets have a bigger share of ride-on vehicles
Income influences outdoor and sports toys spending
Urbanisation a big market performance factor for emerging markets
Urbanisation can also lead to increased obesity prevalence
Physical development toys bigger in heavily urbanised markets
Physical toy companies’ responses in developing nations

STEM: a new focal point

STEM: A New Focal Point
STEM toys witness strong global growth
Lego the leading factor in construction growth
Significant contrast in STEM spending: Developed vs emerging
Rising college enrolment a factor in developed STEM growth
Educational pre-school a major growth area for developed markets
STEAM: The newest approach in child development
Developing nations lag in science and maths standards
Developing countries more focused on price and basic skills
Tablets a factor inhibiting STEM growth in developing markets

The future Focus on mind and body toys

The Future Focus on Mind and Body Toys
Child development toys will stay on a strong growth trajectory
STEM toys to be led by construction
Physical toys to see divergent growth: Emerging vs developed
Outdoor and sports toys to have a greater retail reach
New products could make a big impact

Report Definitions

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