WANNA PLAY?

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Christmas may be over, but the real toy season is just about to begin. An estimated 20,000 buyers from around the world will converge on New York City this month for the 100th annual Toy Fair, where they'll find out what's new, what's hot and what the future has in store for the toy industry. In the century since the inception of the fair, many playthings have come and gone, but only a handful of novelties have remained popular. LEGO building blocks and Lincoln Logs, for example, have been staples in children's toy chests for more than 70 years. Silly Putty and Play-Doh, despite their simplicity and odd scents, have managed to fascinate kids since the 1950s. Which of today's toys and games have the staying power to last until the next century? Finding out is key, because between 1997 and 2001, inflation-adjusted retail sales of toys and games remained relatively flat, at $25 billion. And with the under-12 population expected to remain steady over the next five years, future toy sales are barely expected to keep up with inflation. And that's not fun at all.

AGE-APPROPRIATE

Child population (in millions) in:

2003 2008
Under 2 7.6 8.0
2-3 7.6 7.8
4-5 7.6 7.8
6-8 11.4 11.4
9-12 16.5 15.8
Total under 12 50.7 50.8
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

EXPANDABLES OR SHRINKY DINKS?

Percent change in dollar sales between 2000 and 2001 for selected toy sectors:

SALES 2001 (IN MILLIONS) % CHG 2000-2001
Action figures $1,618 +36%
Building/constr. $822 +22%
Ride-ons $773 +17%
Infant/preschool $3,154 +14%
Pretend play $479 -15%
Trading cards $318 -28%
Sports toys $1,528 -29%
Source: NPD Funworld

WE MAKE THE TOYS

Number of U.S.:

Retail toy stores 10,824
Retail toy store employees 111,757
Toy manufacturing plants 1,025
Toy manufacturers 33,015
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

FUNNY MONEY

Last year* the toy industry spent $831.3 million on ads in traditional media.

TOP 5 AD SPENDERS AMONG TOY MAKERS (IN MILLIONS)

Mattel, Inc. $156.6
Hasbro, Inc. $127.9
Sony Corp. $92.1
Nintendo Co. $70.6
Microsoft Corp. $37.0
*Figures are for spending between July 2001 and June 2002.
Source: Competitive Media Reporting

PLAY DEFICIT

Americans continue to spend more on imported playthings, though fewer toys and games are being exported from the U.S.

(IN MILLIONS) 1997 1999 2001
Exports $973 $899 $867
Imports $12,063 $13,095 $14,193
Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

TOP TOY TOWNS

While the average U.S. household devoted $213 to toys and games last year, San Jose consumers forked over $367.

METROPOLITAN AREA AVERAGE SPENDING
San Jose, CA $367
Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ $326
Nassau-Suffolk, NY $322
Trenton, NJ $306
San Francisco, CA $306
Washington, DC-MD-VA-WV $303
New Haven-Bridgeport-Stamford-Waterbury-Danbury, CT $302
Bergen-Passaic, NJ $300
Newark, NJ $296
Oakland, CA $288
Source: ESRI Business Information Solutions
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