According to research firm NPD Group, at a time when millions of parents and their children are staying at home due to the coronavirus outbreak, the demand for games, activity books, and hands-on learning titles has taken a huge leap.
The week ending March 21 saw a 66% overall increase in kids’ nonfiction sales. Activity books were up by 128%, study aids 235%, school and education 143%, and language arts and handwriting 265%.
Kristen McLean, books industry analyst at NPD, said, “Interactivity and high play value were two characteristics tying all of this week’s bestselling juvenile titles together—from classics such as MadLibs, to sticker activity books featuring beloved characters, and write and wipe educational workbooks. School at home combined with a higher demand for fun, in-house activities have lifted educational and activity book sales.”
In terms of toys, total sales in the U.S. for that period went up by 26%. The fastest-growing categories include games and puzzles (+228%), building sets (+76%), and arts and crafts (+70%). With the advent of spring, sales of outdoor and sports toys increased by 20%.
Juli Lennett, NPD’s toys industry advisor, said, “On top of all this, Easter is near. Parents are likely seeking stability for their kids by maintaining Easter traditions and also buying ahead, as shopping visits become few and far between.”
The company also reported growth in the coloring and art category; weekly sales were up 86%. Chalk sales grew by 56%, writing instruments by 146%, and color markers 81%. And as children pivot to distance learning, traditional back-to-school supplies grew by 18%. NPD noted triple-digit growth for crayons, watercolors, and colored pencil sets.