Jun 27, 2023
ASTRA identifies 8 top toy trends

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has wrapped up its 2023 Marketplace & Academy show in Columbus, Ohio, where thousands of new toys were featured, from plush to science kits to puzzles to toys you didn’t know your kids needed, but now can’t live without.

The ASTRA team, composed of ASTRA staff, small retailers and Certified Play Experts, scoured the floor and spoke with members to discover the top trends in the industry.

This year’s toy trends included:

  1. Sloths might move slow, but they were one of the fastest growing trends at the show. From plush to backpacks to games, sloths were front and center.
  2. Tech hasn’t gone away, but there are a lot more low-tech toys. Flying toys and lots of lights and glowing toys dominated at the show.
  3. Class Table Games have evolved and become more accessible. From new versions of ping pong to smaller foosball tables to table top volleyball, you don’t need a giant playroom to join in on the fun.
  4. Toy Adjacent products are dominating with new fidget toys. New textures and an increased emphasis on stress relievers and anxiety easers, shows that this category continues to expand and address issues facing both kids and adults.
  5. Tweens are disconnecting for a brief moment to focus on fashion, and the industry is not disappointing. Spa kits, hair accessories, manicures, purses that change color — they’re all attracting the attention of this group.
  6. Getting creative never goes out of style as seen with new crafting kits and blank canvas toys. From painting to drawing to glitter, kids are being encouraged to create more than ever before.
  7. Inclusion and diversity was seen across multiple play patterns. From more neutral colors in toys, to added ethnicities in dolls and products that directly address inclusion, there was something to celebrate everyone.
  8. Social Emotional Learning continues to evolve with toys that help kids recognize emotions, role play scenarios and get in touch with how they feel. From blocks to dolls to games, there are multiple ways to approach the topic and help kids feel heard.

“This was a banner year for Marketplace & Academy. Every year we gather to see what’s new, then consumers have to wait until they see products on-shelf. This year we’re excited to be sharing trends from the show to give everyone a sneak peek of what to expect this holiday season,” said Sue Warfield, president, ASTRA. “These trends were compiled through the lens of the small retailer. They’re on the front lines, they’re hearing what is wanted from consumers and they were able to walk our show floors to see what fits those consumer interests. We anticipate it’s going to be a strong toy year.”

ASTRA Marketplace & Academy 2024 show will take place in St. Louis, June 1-4. The show is open to trade only. For additional information visit astratoy.org.

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