The pandemic restrictions have caused trends to change in the toy manufacturing industry. The nationwide lockdown has confined children to their homes all day. Fear of the virus forced parents to prevent them from going out, cutting off small minds from the social world.

To keep children’s social learning process alive, parents began to rely more on interactive and learning-based toys, causing sales in the toy industry to steadily increase.

India is one of the fastest growing toy markets in the world, and the industry is expected to reach $ 2-3 billion by 2024. What are some of the upcoming trends we can expect in the toy sector in both Indian and global markets?

1. Digital innovation for local brands

The year 2021 marked a milestone for the Indian toy industry as the Indian government held its first Indian toy fair from February 27 to March 2. and paved the way for the growth of local businesses. Apart from this, an online toy hackathon, “Toycathon”, has been organized for innovative toy / game concepts from Indian culture and tradition.

In the coming years, there will be many digitally focused toy exhibitions and events dedicated to innovation and online features to incorporate when creating toys.

Six global toy manufacturers have also set up manufacturing units in Koppal, in northern Karnataka. Toys made there will hit the domestic market around Diwali 2022. Expect plenty of toys with a desi touch over the coming year!

2. Promote inclusiveness

To help children – normal or disabled – become comfortable and confident with their own bodies and identities, many toy companies have released products that include different races, genders, ages, sizes, and physical appearances.

These include toys that children can relate to instead of the usual standardized dolls. The variety of play objects is encouraged to serve as a more accurate representation of the real world, with the aim of introducing children to new experiences. Such play elements cultivate compassion and empathy in children.

3. Reach the pop culture fan base

Now that the entertainment industry is in full swing, many franchises have plans to release their movies, shows, and games. Pop culture trends affect sales tremendously, and reaching out to fan bases can help drastically improve profits.

With the new releases taking a hybrid approach and with the amount of buzz they create on social media, the new content is now accessible to many more people than before. The toy industry will inevitably experience an influx of goods, thanks to the emergence of new communities of fans.

4. DIY kits

Children get bored quickly when they don’t have things that can occupy their hands or mind. With pandemic restrictions preventing them from exploring the world through their own experiences, what better way than to give them something they can experience from home? Craft kits help children discover new hobbies, explore their abilities and harness their creativity.

5. Ecologically sustainable

Most toys are plastic – and people are becoming more and more durable. We are in 2022 after all. In order to keep up with the trend of sustainability and create a greener earth, many new toys are made from bamboo, sugarcane fibers and several other sustainable raw materials. Even the paints used are environmentally friendly. There is going to be a boom in this space as companies become innovative.

6. Go to family

The work-from-home model made parents pay more attention to the needs of their children, leading families to bond around toys and games. Last year we saw an increase in sales of family board games and this trend is expected to continue.

There is also a growing demand for sophisticated collectible figures, intricate building sets, fun board games, and challenging puzzles. Focused on toys that help explore mentalities and become aware of their physical and mental health, families come closer and bond more.

As the world returns to normal trends may change, but rapid digitization has ushered in notable changes. Children today know the Internet and are exposed to a multitude of things on a global scale. A significant number of children are influenced by YouTubers and influencers, which also affects their buying habits.

This means that it is vital for toy manufacturers to continue to keep up with the changing times.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)