Toy trends, much like fashion trends are quite fickle and have a fast cycle. For instance, some are even seasonal, lasting no more than three months. This makes it a daunting task for toy manufacturers to keep abreast with the market trends.
The Plush Toy Market
However, currently (and over the last few years), the market for plush and stuffed animal toys has been increasing. In essence, these toys are trending now! According to Statista.com, the sale value of plush and stuffed animal toys had been on the decline 2010, falling from $1.7 billion in annual sales in 2010 to $930 million in 2013. However, all that change in 2014 when the sales of plush and stuffed animal toys improved, hitting the $1 billion mark. Importantly, this niche segment has been steadily improving ever since to $1.08 billion in annual sale in 2016.
So why is this trend occurring? Why are large plush and stuffed hippos, panda, elephants, and teddy bears so popular today? Herein we will explore some of the elements that are attributed to making large plush and stuffed animal toys increasingly popular.
The rise in popularity of stuff and plush animal toys can first and foremost be attributed to fashion trends. The decline in popularity of stuffed animal toys in 2011 could be attributed to the decline in popularity of hard stuffed animal toys.
However, the manufacture of stuff toys changed to predominantly soft plush stuffed large toy back in 2014, around the same period when stuff animal toys sales begun to pick up. The development and evolution of stuffed animal toy manufacturing materials have reinvigorated the love for large stuffed animal toys. More people, young children, and even teenagers tend to prefer this variety of toys rather than the traditional hard toys. As such, trending of these animals has significantly been contributed by their plush and soft design.
There is also the issue of trends in the fashion world. Another of the attributes that make this variety of toys trend is because it is fashionable. With the long plush fabric trending in some quotas of the fashion industry in the in recent years, stuffed toy manufacturers opted to incorporate this material into their toys. As such, in general sense, the trending of plush toys has been an extension of apparel design philosophies.
However, beyond the material and fashion elements, there is the issue of change in the psyche of parents and the way parents raise their children today. As more and more millennials enter adulthood and start families, there is a substantial shift in what young parents believe are the best kinds of toys.
In the years past, many parents had no qualms about letting their children use video games and computer games as the predominant form of entertainment, even during the formative years of the child’s life. However, millennial parents, who for the most part were the children that grew up in such lifestyles, have been pushing back against raising their children on digital forms of entertainment only. They have been looking to increase the physical interaction that their kids have. In many regards, a large plush stuffed elephant, large teddy bear, large hippo, or large panda comes in handy.
And there is the issue of parenting style or form of parenting. Either by choice or circumstance, many parents are taking their children to the daycare far earlier and longer. This phenomenon has resulted in children requiring more comfort object, and the large stuffed animals toys lend themselves to this role.
A study published in the National Institutes of Health indicated that children who attended day-long baby care were more likely to develop an emotional bond with comfort toys, unlike children who attended baby care half-day. And with an increasing population of such children, you can be sure that there are many children who need comfort toys. Considering that soft and plush feel of large plush and stuffed animal such toys, these children tend to love these kinds of toy more. Parents inadvertently decide to purchase such toys for their kids.
The combination of these factors has heavily influenced the stuffed toy market. Importantly, the combination of these factors has made large plush and stuffed toys a trending niche, which will continue to grow going into the future.