Navigating the Kidult Frontier, a BrandTrends research to unveal the huge potential of kidults for the Toys and Games industry, but not only


A massive opportunity for the toy Market

"Kidults" is a portmanteau of the words "kid" and "adults," and it refers to individuals who are adults in terms of age but still maintain a strong interest in and engagement with various aspects of childhood or youth culture. Kidults often exhibit behaviors, interests, or hobbies that are traditionally associated with children or teens.
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These behaviors might include playing video games, collecting toys or action figures, enjoying animated cartoons, participating in cosplay, or embracing other forms of pop culture that are typically associated with a younger demographic. Kidults may find enjoyment and nostalgia in activities and interests from their childhood, even as they navigate the responsibilities and realities of adulthood. The term highlights the blending of childlike interests with adult maturity.

For BrandTrends, kidults have been defined as 18+ years old who would be interested in acquiring toys and games again for themselves. The research covers 34 countries, with national representative samples, for a total of 14,484 interviews collected end of October 2023.

Increased Consumer Base: Kidults expand the target demographic for toys and games beyond just children. By catering to both children and adults who enjoy nostalgic or contemporary play experiences, toy manufacturers can tap into a larger consumer base. Based on BrandTrends research, 67% of adults are potentially kidults, which represents a massive opportunity.

Nostalgia-driven Purchases: Kidults often have a strong sense of nostalgia for toys and games from their childhood. This sentiment can drive them to make purchases, either for collectibles or reimagined versions of classic toys, contributing to the demand for retro or nostalgic products. According to BrandTrends research, Board Games is the preferred type of games among kidults. However, this varies across regions. In Asia, puzzles takes the lead while it is Model cars in MEA.

Collector’s Market: Many kidults are avid collectors, seeking limited editions, rare items, or exclusive releases. This collector’s mindset can drive sales of special edition toys, action figures, and games, creating a niche market within the larger toys and games industry. BrandTrends research has shown that for 53% of kidults, Hobbies and collections are primary motivations for kidults.

Pop Culture Influence: Kidults often stay updated with current pop culture trends, especially in the realms of movies, TV shows, and video games. Manufacturers can capitalize on this by producing merchandise related to popular franchises that resonate with both children and adults.

Social Media Influence: Kidults are active on social media platforms, sharing their interests and purchases. This can create a ripple effect, influencing others to explore similar hobbies and contributing to the visibility and popularity of certain toys and games. BrandTrends has measured that online marketplaces are the undisputed preferred channel for purchasing toys globally among kidults (57% of their purchases).

Lifelong Engagement: Unlike children who may outgrow certain toys, kidults tend to maintain a longer-term engagement with their hobbies. This sustained interest can lead to repeated purchases, whether it’s acquiring new items, upgrading collections, or investing in related accessories and merchandise. This is what BrandTrends has called a reboot of their childhood toys, as shown below:

Participation in Events: Kidults are likely to attend conventions, expos, and other events related to toys, games, and pop culture. Their presence at such events can boost sales and create a community around specific brands or franchises. As part of their ideal shopping experience, BrandTrends has identified that kidults are looking for distinct spaces, designed especially for them. Exclusive sections and themed décor are a big plus.

Recognizing and understanding the interests and behaviors of kidults is important for toys and games brands for several reasons:

1. Diversification of Audience: Targeting kidults allows brands to diversify their audience and reach consumers across different age groups. This broadens the market and helps companies remain relevant in an ever-changing consumer landscape.

2. Extended Product Lifecycle: Toys and games that appeal to kidults often have a longer product lifecycle. Unlike products aimed solely at children, which may be outgrown, those catering to kidults can maintain relevance and demand over a more extended period, leading to sustained sales.

3. Brand Loyalty and Advocacy: Kidults who are passionate about specific toy or game brands tend to be loyal customers. Their enthusiasm often translates into word-of-mouth recommendations, social media sharing, and advocacy, helping to build a strong brand community.

4. Innovation and Adaptation: Understanding kidult behavior can inspire innovation in product design and marketing strategies. Brands can adapt and create products that bridge the gap between nostalgia and contemporary interests, staying ahead of trends and maintaining competitiveness in the market.

5. Collaborations and Partnerships: Kidults’ interests often extend beyond traditional toys to include elements like gaming, entertainment, and technology. Brands can explore collaborations and partnerships with other industries to create unique, cross-disciplinary products that cater to the diverse interests of this demographic.

6. Digital Engagement Opportunities: Kidults are often active on digital platforms, providing brands with opportunities for online engagement and marketing. Leveraging social media, online communities, and influencer collaborations can enhance brand visibility and connect with the kidult audience.

7. Market Resilience: Kidults can contribute to the overall resilience of the toys and games market. During economic downturns, adults may cut back on discretionary spending, but the emotional connection and nostalgia associated with kidult-targeted products can make them more resistant to economic fluctuations.

8. Trendsetting and Innovation: Kidults are often trendsetters in pop culture and consumer behavior. By staying attuned to their interests and preferences, brands can tap into emerging trends and position themselves as innovative leaders within the industry.

Overall, the support of kidults in the toys and games market is a testament to the industry’s adaptability. By recognizing and catering to the diverse interests of both children and adults, manufacturers can create a dynamic market that thrives on nostalgia, innovation, and the blending of youthful and mature consumer preferences. In essence, considering kidults’ interests and behaviors is not just about expanding the market; it’s also about adapting to evolving consumer dynamics, fostering brand loyalty, and staying at the forefront of trends and innovations within the toys and games industry.

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