Toy industry e-commerce sales in China increased by 8.8% to $1.3 billion (USD) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 (January – March) versus the same time period last year, and 27% from Q1 2020, according to The NPD Group.
The top three growing supercategories in Q1 2022 were Explorative & Other Toys, Games & Puzzles, and Plush, increasing 33%, 24%, and 22%, respectively. Within Explorative & Other Toys, Scientific Toys saw the most growth, increasing 40% from Q1 2021, which was mainly driven by local Chinese brands including Mi Jia, Science Can, and Dream Start.
China E-commerce Toy Industry Sales by SupercategoryFirst Quarter 2022 (January – March)
% Change (vs. Q1 2021)
Action Figures & Acc
Arts & Crafts
Explorative & Other Toys
Outdoor & Sports Toys
Source: The NPD Group / E-commerce Tracking Service / China / USD
“The fast growth of Games & Puzzles was mainly driven by Adult Puzzles, Children’s Games, and Preschool Games, which could be explained by the lockdown,” said Stanley Kee, senior vice president and managing director, APAC, The NPD Group. “Parents needed to use something to keep their children busy, and many adults needed to find something to do to remain entertained while at home.”
Sales of licensed toys in the first quarter of this year increased 14.1%, with Ultraman being the top-selling license. Rounding out the top 10 licenses were Mobile Suit Gundam, Lamborghini, Disney ‘All Other’, Disney Frozen, Mercedes-Benz, Harry Potter, Porsche, Bugatti, and Mini Force.
The NPD Group anticipates continued strength for toy sales in China’s growing e-commerce channel. According to NPD’s China Consumer Sentiment Study fielded in January 2022, when consumers in China were asked how comfortable they felt about their personal financial situations over the next six months, 85% responded positively, saying their spending will either increase or remain the same. Similar responses were received when asked how their personal finances would impact spending on their children, with most parents saying they expect their spending to either increase or remain the same.
“China is the most populous nation in the world with the highest number of online shoppers and retailers; and that trend continues to climb powered by the country’s growing middle class as well as its ever-increasing internet access and smartphone penetration for consumers across the country,” said Kee. “There is no indication that the growth of e-commerce in China is going to slow down anytime soon, which offers a wellspring of sales opportunities for brands across the globe looking to tap into China’s market.”