The traditional toy industry has had its ups and downs this decade. There have been gigantic crazes like Cabbage Patch Dolls and Masters of the Universe, but there are some that hit it big and then crater the following year, like Pound Puppies.
Putting the pressure on toy makers even more are video game companies like Nintendo, who have hit it big, especially in the kids market. Although not considered a toy by many traditionalists, video games still take time and money away from what would normally be spent on action figures and the like. In the past year alone the video game industry has grown by leaps and bounds and will soon be hauling in over $1 billion a year out of a toy market that has been doing about $9 billion. According to the New York Times:
As it shifts its focus, the toy industry also must contend with the growing popularity of video games. Although not considered toys by many in the industry, the games have made a comeback over the last year. Nintendo, the Japanese company that has a 70 percent share of the market, sold more than $500 million in hardware and software in 1987, and sales continue to rise.
”Video product sales could be in excess of $1 billion next year, and with total toy industry sales figures estimated at $8 billion or $9 billion, video games are something the toy companies will have to reckon with,” said Barry Rothberg, an analyst with Mabon, Nugent & Company.
So, has little Johnny traded his Optimus Prime up for Super Mario Bros.? It’s looking that way, and if the trend continues, the toy business might be in for a rude awakening. Read the full New York Times story right here.