Dolls, Toys and Games Industry in the U.S

A Hot Tip about Arts, Entertainment and Recreation in the United States

Posted on: 8 Jan 2010

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The U.S. toy industry is the world’s leader in children’s entertainment products. Itachieved that position by combining high value-added domestic operations, such asproduct design, engineering and strategic marketing, with substantial overseasproduction. The two largest U.S. companies are Mattel and Hasbro. Mattel is theworld’s number one toy manufacturer marketing some of the leading brandsincluding American Girl, Barbie, Fisher Price, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and holdslicenses for Barney, Sesame Street, and Star Wars. Hasbro markets Milton Bradley,Parker Brothers, Playschool, and Wizards of the Coast among others. Both arepublicly held and reported 2007 net sales of $5.97 billion and $3.84 billion1.


While the majority of toys destined for the American market aredesigned in the United States, large-scale production has shifted abroad.Accordingly, total employment in the doll, toy, and game industry has declined fromits high in 1993 of 42,300 workers to 17,200 workers in 2007.


Even though large portions of the major U.S. toy companies’ product lines aremanufactured abroad, they still incorporate significant U.S. value in terms of theproduct design, marketing, research and development, and corporate supportfunctions. While U.S. toy companies have their own toy development divisions,they also support a loose network of independent toy inventors and designers thatsell their concepts to the larger companies. Such jobs are not counted in the U.S.Government estimates of toy industry employment. The toy trade association, Toy Industry Association (TIA) has resources that toy inventors and designers can useto market their products to manufacturers.


The industry’s domestic production in 2006, the latest year of available data, wasvalued at approximately $3.43 billion3. New York City was once the toymanufacturing capital, although today, the industry is more dispersed withapproximately half of the companies located in the following ten states; California,New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Missouri andMaryland. The first five states account for 36 percent of all U.S. toy companies and42 percent of U.S. employment in the sector.


Toy SalesThe U.S. Toy Industry Association, TIA, estimates that U.S. retail sales of traditionaltoys were $22.2 billion in 2007, down 2 percent from 20065. The top five toycategories in 2007 were: 1) Infant/Preschool, 2) Dolls, 3) Outdoor and sport toys, 4) Arts and crafts, and 5) Games. TIA estimates that the worldwide retail sales oftoys totaled $72 billion in 2007.


Detailed Trade Statistics


U.S. trade statistics don’t reflect the global strength of the U.S. toy industry sincethe majority of toys consumed in the U.S. are imported or produced regionally toserve specific markets. The U.S. toy industry exported $1.98 billion in 2007 (over50% of total U.S. production), an increase of 49.60 percent over 2006 levels6. Thetop five export destinations were Mexico, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom,and Brazil, see figure 3. Combined, Canada and Mexico accounted for 65 percent oftoy exports.


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Posted: 08 January 2010

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Dolls, Toys and Games Industry in the U.S   By International Trade Administration