2016 has been an exciting year for toys, books and the licensing industry for these products, and we think 2017 is going to be even better. Here’s what we’re seeing.
ALL THINGS TECHIE: DRONES, ROBOTS AND TOYS-TO-LIFE
Tech toys are big in 2016 and the only place is up. From the air to the ground, drones are taking over the world and are allowing kids of all ages to do amazing things, like control multifunction nanodrones and launch them from the palms of their hands. This year the coolest robots of the year for older kids are customizable. They will teach kids important concepts, including coding, engineering, problem-solving and building. The Toys-To-Life genre are toy figurines that are placed on a USB peripheral connected to the game console to unlock in-game characters and levels. Kids love these Toys-To-Life console games, with toy attached, because there’s a strong connection between the toy character in their pocket and the on-screen adventures. They can even take their toy figures to a friend’s house and use it on their game, regardless of the platform.
Toys in 2016 are about providing a 360-degree interactive play experience.
BOOKS ARE BACK
It’s true! The printed book is back. Nielsen BookScan reported that 571 million print books were sold in 2015, 17 million more than the year before. They also reported that e-books, which were once predicted to reach 50 percent to 60 percent of total book sales, hovered at just 25 percent. The most popular printed book trend we’re seeing in 2016 is in adult coloring books. Although you can get coloring e-books they are nowhere near the demand for the printed books. And, some of the more popular adult coloring books are only available in print in an effort to move people away from their screens.
GIRLS ARE AT THE FOREFRONT
The hottest licensing focus in 2016 has to with properties and products for girls, with a focus on empowerment. The trend from many of the toy brands is to position girls as superheroes. Licenses focusing on female superheroes, such as DC Super Hero Girls, are finding their way into action figures and other toys.
The other girl-forward trend has to do with science or business themes toys. Historically these toys have targeted boys within our industry, but that’s changing. The focus and product positioning is on girls.