Halloween has come and gone once again, and in its wake a flood of red, green, and gold. For many Americans, it’s time to think about the holidays – specifically, shopping.

This year, more than one-third of holiday shoppers are already getting in the holiday spending spirit. For parents, grandparents, and shoppers with kids to buy for, the question of where to buy toys comes to the forefront. The latest CivicScience data show that not too much has changed since last year; big-box stores (in-store and online) are both slightly up, together claiming the greatest percentage (39%) of holiday toy buyers, while online-only retailers like Amazon come in second (32%).

One key difference between last year and this year is the specific addition of ‘department stores’ as an answer option. Readers will likely have heard of Toys ‘R’ Us setting up shop within some Macy’s department stores, which is why department stores became a viable option for toy shoppers this year. Eight percent of toy shoppers polled said they would make the bulk of their toy purchases from a department store, cutting into the percentage of those who plan to shop at local toy stores this year. This change is also likely related to an overall decline in local/independent business patronage seen this shopping season.

Parents, grandparents, and non-parents shop similarly when it comes to toys, but parents are slightly more likely to go to a physical Target or Walmart to do their toy buying. Grandparents are slightly more likely to utilize a big-box store website.

Popular Toy Categories

Games and puzzles, educational toys, and electronics are once again the top three toy categories this holiday season. Games and puzzles and educational toys are up a few percentage points from last year, but the electronics category – while still one of the top three – lost a few points.

Major Toy Brands

LEGO leads among toy gifters when compared to other major toy brands such as Disney, Hasbro, and Mattel, continuing its popular streak year-over-year. Parents and people without kids are likely to follow the major LEGO trend, but grandparents are less likely to buy LEGO toys. Grandparents are more likely than parents and non-parents to purchase Fisher-Price toys.

There wouldn’t be a Christmas without toys, and LEGO is likely to hold its place under the Christmas tree again this year. Parents aren’t the only ones buying presents for kids – grandparents and people without kids have toys to buy, too. Regardless of parental status, it’s likely Amazon and big-box stores are the go-to shopping destinations, but parents, non-parents, and grandparents gravitate toward different brands.

Additional data on holiday toy shopping:

  • Likelihood to purchase gender neutral toys is roughly the same this year as last year.
  • 41% of consumers say they plan to reduce spending on toys, hobbies, and games because of general rising prices, however there has been recent growth in those who plan to spend more.
  • 20% of holiday toy shoppers plan to spend $200 or more on toys this year.

There’s more ‘in store’ – stay on top of the latest holiday trends with the CivicScience InsightStore. Learn more.