Smart toy sales set to treble

Smart-toy sales are set to treble by 2022, reaching US$15.5 billion, according to predictions by Juniper Research.

Smartphone-based connected toys and the enduring appeal of console-connected ‘toys to life’ –  action figures that interact with a video game via a reader device – will drive the growth, according to Juniper Research. .

This year’s smart-toy sales are expected to reach $4.9 billion, with Juniper forecasting 224 million smart toys will be shipped worldwide in 2017.

Lego was tipped as being “particularly well positioned in this category”, with its successful ‘toys to life’ range, Lego Dimension.

The research, Smart Toys: Hardware, Technology & Leading Vendors 2017-2022, found that many players in the smart-toy segment are not only appealing to children, but also to ‘kidults’ and collectors, as demonstrated by Sphero’s BB8 app-enabled droid and Lego Dimension’s A-Team and Ghostbusters sets.

Smart-toy sales will be dominated by the US, based on historical high sales of ‘toys to life’ products and strong performance of smartphone-based smart toys.

However, China is set to disrupt this trend, with increasing disposable income and the legalisation of video game consoles for sale driving smart toy uptake. China will account for 18 per cent of the global smart toy shipments by 2022, representing an average annual growth of 42 per cent.

Privacy issues

Juniper Research also found that privacy issues are concerning parents, academics and –  increasingly – regulators.

“As smart toys develop more advanced connected features, they will increasingly be subject to both toy safety and privacy/data protection regulations such as the forthcoming European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation),” the report concluded.

Juniper recommends vendors be careful to ensure privacy rules are respected by their products to avoid costly fines and public relations issues.

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