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'Kidults' on the rise as they are buying more toys for themselves

LEGO sales surge, toymaker to open 120 stores in 2020
Posted at 1:57 PM, Dec 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-27 16:57:02-05

A lot of people are enjoying their holiday gifts, but new data shows kids are not the only ones.

Maybe you are one of the adults now buying toys like Legos or remote-controlled cars.

The pandemic accelerated the growth of what some are calling "kidults." As people spent more time indoors with time on their hands, brands like Lego and Build-a-Bear started targeting adults as they rekindled old passions.

According to the marketing research firm NPD Group, over the course of the last year, people 18 and older represented 14% of U.S. toy sales as they spent $5.7 billion on them. That is significantly higher, 19% to be exact, than the previous year, as adults are the second fastest-growing user of toys in the country.

Today, 40% of Build-a-Bear’s sales come from adults and teens, up from 20% in 2012, according to the company.

“Everybody has their different passion as far as it comes down to it,” said Vinny Indolini, a remote-controlled car enthusiast. “Just in [remote-controlled] trucks alone, I’ve probably got about $15,000 invested. Just in trucks. Not including batteries, parts, hours, paint, none of that.”

Indolini has enjoyed racing RC cars since he was a kid, but seven months ago, he got his wife, Stacee, involved, too. Now, she boasts a collection of 9 RC cars herself.

“I was like a grown man? Hey, OK, everybody has hobbies and then he took me out and I did my first run on his car and I loved it,” she said. “I was like, this is fun. You can have so much fun. There’s so much to do with them.”

Other companies are taking note of the trend as well. In October, McDonald’s launched adult happy meals, and companies like Lego have dedicated more money to targeting older age groups.

“I’ll never outgrow it,” said Vinny. “We got guys that come with us to wheel park; 50, 60, 70 years old. They love it. It gives them something to do.”