'Force strong' US toy industry exceeds $20 billion

Stormtroopers, Jedi knights, Darth Vader and other Star Wars favorites topped toy sales in 2016.

January 31, 2017

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Stormtroopers, Jedi knights, Darth Vader and other Star Wars favorites topped toy sales in 2016.

Source: Target

Driven heavily by sales of Star Wars merchandise, US toy retail sales rose 5 percent in 2016 to reach $20.4 billion, according to data from the NPD Group. The research firm calculated CAGR at 5 percent, with the industry now 16 percent larger than in 2013.

2016 sales of Star Wars toys reached nearly $760 million, making it the year's hottest toy property. The franchise has been perennially popular, but interest has been particularly high in the past two years following the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016. Both films were released in December, the peak season for Christmas shopping, and with the eight installment set to debut December this year, the franchise is expected to remain the biggest toy property in 2017 and in the next few years.

Other best-selling toy properties are Pokémon, whose resurgence in popularity was fueled by the Pokémon Go craze, and merchandise from movies such as Trolls, Finding Dory and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

NPD also classified certain toy groups as growth drivers. Collectibles lead these "supercategories," with sales jumping 33 percent to $1.8 billion or 9 percent of the industry's total. Outdoor and sports toys, meanwhile, saw the largest dollar gains at $328 million.

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