Judging from the multitude of fascinating tech toys showcased at the 114th North American International Toy Fair in February, tech-savvy kids have a lot to look forward to in 2017. At a Toy Trends Briefing hosted by The Toy Association’s trend experts at the show, toys with an interactive tech component were among the top trends announced for 2017.
U.S. sales of toys that include technology continue to grow – according to The NPD Group, the youth electronics super-category was up three percent last year, reaching $610 million in sales. The U.S. toy industry now stands at $26 billion with overall domestic toy sales rising five percent in 2016, says NPD.
Sales growth in the tech category reflects the manner in which toy companies are continuing to innovate by incorporating cutting-edge technology in their toys and games. “Tech is not replacing classic play, but in fact enhancing it,” said Adrienne Appell, The Toy Association’s toy trends specialist. “A new generation of toys and playthings with digital aspects continues to become more affordable and accessible to kids. Current trends include toys that incorporate virtual and augmented reality, robotics, and toys that marry traditional play with new technology.”
Laurie Chartorynsky is a communication specialist and content developer at The Toy Association, a nonprofit organization that represents all businesses that design, produce, license, and deliver toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages.