The Importance of Play for Children

Lego Sales Are Falling! Are We Coming To The End Of Traditional Toys?

LegoI must admit, even in my personal life I do not really comment a great deal on news articles, I am generally someone who keeps my thoughts and opinions to myself. This site, if nothing else, has become a little bit of an outlet to a subject that dominates a huge part of my life.

I was not going to write about this at first but it seemed kind of relevant to the direction this website is going, plus I wrote a toy review for Lego a couple of weeks ago, so again it just seemed ‘right’ in a way.

What has been reported in the news?

It was reported in the news recently by a number of reputable news websites that Lego sales have fallen. According to figures, this is the first sales fall in 13 years according to figures collected in 2017; figures for the first half of 2018 are showing a similar decline.

It has been estimated that it may take at least a year for sales to stabilise, risking at least 1,400 jobs.

The decline in sales has been thought to be because of children turning away from more traditional toys in favour of modern toys and electronic devices. Lego admits that they had overestimated sales and made “too many bricks”.


Are children turning away from traditional toys?

The concern surrounding modern toys and electrical devices is not new; concerns have including children losing the ability to perform simple tasks such as writing to concerns surrounding children’s mental health. However, how correct are these claims?

Sales figures for the whole of the toy industry across the globe have been slow with just a 1% increase in 2017. The top selling toys across the markets included fidget toys, slime kits, Furreal Friends, Hatchimels, LOL Dolls, Star Wars memorabilia, and Nerf.

The above figures would suggest that children are not fully turning away from toys per say, just traditional toys such as bricks and puzzles, however the popularity of LOL Dolls prove that dolls are still popular.  So, what about technology and electronic devices?


Electronic devices vs. toys

A study conducted on children 12 and under in 2014 by the Michael Cohen Group, child-education specialists, showed that the average child spends over 60% of their time playing on touch screen devices such as phones or tablets “very often”. Children spent the least amount of time on board games and puzzles with children only spending just under 40% of their time on each.

The study also showed that in household where children have access to touch screen devices, 39% of them had their own device.

The results are not all bad, as activities such as dolls & action figures, arts & crafts, and construction & blocks came before games consoles.


What is the must have toys this Christmas?

So, what do children have to say? To get an idea what exactly our children are after I had a look at the must have toys this Christmas. This is a list created by retail sellers where they predict what they believe will be their bestsellers using various forms of data they have collected.

So, what is number one on the best sellers list? Fingerlings Untamed Dinos. The next entry made me very happy indeed, number two on the list is, LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Express. Numbers three, four, and five are Elast Plasti, Mini Waitrose Supermarket, and Monopoly ‘Cheaters ‘edition.

In fact I found the list quite reassuring, as the list contained many modern toys and even some traditional. There were very few electronic devices/ toys featured.

Should we be worried about Lego?

build lego

I think the toy industry itself is seeing a massive change, electronic devices are defiantly gaining huge popularity amongst children and this is having a huge impact on them; however, I do not think toys are completely obsolete just yet.

I do believe that toy manufacturers, including Lego will have to adapt and change to keep up with demand. The fact remains that Lego is still very popular, especially with adults as well as children.

I think at the moment it is too early to really tell one way or another, I do not believe all hope is lost.

If you would like to buy some Lego then please shop at either Amazon or Lego.

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  • Lev

    My absolute favorite toy as a kid were Legos, especially the space ones. Even as a young adult, I had the technical set with the car. I hope we don’t lose this icon to this generation, but unfortunately it seems to have already started due to all the tablets, phone apps and video games, plus I can’t even imagine once VR takes hold of the kids.

    • Hannah

      Oh I really don’t like the idea of VR, I really dread that taking over.

      I really hope lego is around to stay for a bit longer but sadly I won’t be surprise if/ when it goes.

  • andrejs

    Hi Hannah and thanks for the interesting research post.

     I am very familiar with Lego popularity trace. The timeline is a little bit more than twenty years. My oldest son was addicted to Lego toys, and I spent hundreds of bucks for this. After an even today at his 25, he is the computer developer guru but in his teenage years used to play Lego and computer games at the same time.

     My youngest son is seven, and when we compare time for electronics and Lego, smartphone wins about 70/30. Anyway, he watching online Lego tutorials and after building incredible Lego constructions.

    • Hannah

      I have witnessed similar in my two oldest neices, they will watch videos and then recreate what they see.

      It is quite interesting how they use technology and just take it for granted really.

  • Denis

    Like you, I don’t think that we are coming to an end of traditional toys, however, companies will definitely have to adapt. 

    When you see a 4 year old handling a cell phone better than his parents, it says something about this new generation.  First off they have been stimulated and bombarded by TV, videos and electronic devices since they were just a few months old, so it’s no surprise that they can handle them with ease.

    For these children, these traditional companies, Lego Included, will definitely have to come up with a way to stimulate them the same way the electronic devices do. 

    But then again, this is not scientifically proven, it’s just my own observation and opinion.

    Thanks for the great article!

  • Dora

    I hope they don’t do away with Legos.  Every Christmas I buy each and everyone of my nephews a new lego puzzle and they still love building with Legos.  It is unfortunate that more and more kids are using touch screens, as young as 2 years old, because I see it all the time.  I also see kids today playing board games as well and that’s a good thing.  I do hope they keep making Legos because it is fun for both kids and adults equally.



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