“I don’t wanna grow up” is a slogan that’s long been coined by child-friendly company, Toys ‘R US. While this mantra is recited by adolescents alike, adults have also been known to chime a similar tune. A February 2012 Travelodge poll cited some interesting facts about adults and their toy-friendly behaviors. Many participants in the survey claimed that interacting with stuffed toys alleviated stress and elicited a calm, comforting response. This behavioral reassurance is known as the “Endowment Effect,” and is often seen in adults still attached to cherishable reminders of their youth. Below are just some of the surprising results of surveyed adults and their beloved, childhood items.
Kids at Heart
35% of 6,000 British adults admitted to sleeping with stuffed animals, and 1 in 10 single men hide their teddy bear when their girlfriend stays over. Even more surprising? 14% of married men admit to hiding their teddy bear when guests visit!
The average age of a childhood teddy bear in Britain is 27 years old, with 50% of British adults claiming a bear from their childhood is still in their possession. Additionally, 15% of men and 10% of women treat their toys as confidants, sharing intimate secrets with their non-biased bear. 26% of male respondents felt it was acceptable to have a bear, regardless of age, and lastly, 1 in 4 business men traveled with a stuffed animal!
These surveyed Brits are not alone in their toy-loving tendencies, but are rather joined by a handful of A-list celebrities who share an akin fondness.
Toy Lovers in Tinseltown
George Takei’s affinity for “My Little Pony” may not come as much of a surprise as rapper Snoop Dogg and his love for “Lite Brite.” Martha Stewart heats up the kitchen and cools down with “He-Man” action figures, whereas Johnny Depp prefers a more quintessential, “Barbie” approach. Finally, gore-aficionado Quentin Tarantino unwinds after a grim day on set with rousing, “TV Land” board games.
The Toy Industry
From businessmen Brits to silly celebs, the “teddy” appeal has been well-maintained within a steady moneymaking industry. In 2011, the US toy industry was worth an estimated $21.5 billion; remaining one of the few sectors unaffected by post-Recession depletion. On the contrary, 2011 toy industry sales showed an increase of 2%, with a total of more than 384 million toys sold. The US toy market was at $21.5 billion in 2011, accounting for 26.8% of the world toy market, with a budget averages out of $280 per child, per year. In 2012, Barbie dolls and accessories accounted for $3.3. billion in revenue sales.
The U.S. has less than 4% of the world's children, yet paradoxically accounts for the purchase of 40% of the world's toys. This may be due to the revelation that 2 out 3 parents do not implement a budget towards toy purchases for their children. We can gain a better idea of what these parents purchase, based on NPD track sales. The breakdown of toy categories highlight the more recent trends, with building sets up by 20% and outdoor sports toys increased by 12%. Dolls increased at a steady 8%, while vehicles were not far behind at a 7% sales increase. Infant and preschool entertainment were at 2%, and games/puzzles saw a 1% rise. All other toys were down 6%, along with plush figures that hit a -10% and action figures and accessories declining down to -12% (sorry, Martha Stewart).
Toys have always served as an ingrained source of entertainment, as evident in the infographic below. What’s even more surprising is the effects toys have, even in subconscious behavior. A 2011 US research experiment concluded that adults behaved 20% better in the presence of toys, and were more likely to demonstrate ethical, “poised” behavior and language. Research also demonstrates how crucial playtime is for generating good behavior, as kids between 8-9 years of age who had more than 15 minutes a day of play breaks behaved better during academic hours. Such statistics serve as a reminder of how crucial the “play” element of our youth continues to play a role, even when we reach adulthood. For parents who aim to foster their child’s creativity, consider employing interactive games and ideas from the makers at http://www.onceuponatreehouse.com/. Here you can find hand-crafted doll houses, art projects, recipes and e-Books that enhances both playtime and bonding time between parent and child.