It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for toy retailers. As the calendar ticks ever so closer to the capital-H Holiday season, toy sellers are gearing up for their busy season.

Of course, toy buying has changed in recent years. Gone – at least for now – are the giant, big-box toy behemoths, replaced mostly by Target, Walmart, and, to a great extent,

In fact, according to a recent CivicScience study of more than 1,200 toy purchasing adults, nearly half of toy purchases are going to be made at online-only retailers, such as A little more than 40% of toy shopping will be done inside four walls, either at a big box retailer or a specialty toy store.

The biggest driver in where Americans shop for toys? Very clearly, it’s whether someone has an Amazon Prime membership. The numbers are startling. American toy shoppers who have a Prime membership are over 200% more likely to make the bulk of their toy purchases online compared to Amazon subscribers who don’t have a Prime membership. They are also 125% more likely to buy mostly online compared to people who don’t have an Amazon account at all.

On the flip side, account holders who don’t have a Prime membership are 150% more likely to use or for the bulk of their toy purchases.

Age plays a factor, though not quite in an expected manner. Millennial and Generation X toy buyers are 37% more likely than Generation Z toy buyers to do the bulk of their shopping at online-only retailers. 

Parents are more likely than grandparents to shop mostly online, but people who don’t fall into either category are even more apt to skip the trip. Also notable: One in five grandparents plan to do the majority of their toy shopping locally.

One potential worrisome sign for Target and Walmart: Over 40% of people with favorable views of the two chains plan on doing the majority of their toy shopping at online-only retailers. 

Brand Affinity

LEGO MY LEGOS: Nearly 60% of Americans 13+ like Legos, and only 4% don’t. But it’s Millennials and Generation X who love them the most. Good news for Lego right now, as those groups are the parents making the toy buying decisions. But might not be such good news when Generation Z comes of age.

HASBRO A NO-GO FOR GRANDMA: As a brand, most Americans either hold a favorable or neutral view of Hasbro. But for reasons unknown, the over 55 cohort – and the grandparents among them – are not fans. Compared to Lego, Hasbro doesn’t have the same mass appeal, at least at this point.

Emerging Trends in Toys

NOT-SO-EQUAL PAY: Hasbro’s decision to “lean in” and issue a “Ms. Monopoly” version of Monopoly – a game in which women make more money than men for the same job – is being received lukewarm, at best.

Interestingly, the younger generations hold the highest unfavorable views. The study found that Generation Z women and Millennial men really dislike the concept.  

NEUTRAL ABOUT GENDER-NEUTRAL: Mattel launched a line of gender-neutral dolls called Creatable World, where kids are invited to customize their own doll that isn’t dictated by gender norms. When surveying the gen pop, most are not about the idea or are neutral on it.

Age shows that younger people under 35 are the most favorable to a gender-neutral doll, to no surprise.

Overall, the toy industry is a hot one, especially at this time of year. It’s clear that Amazon and other online retailers will do well with toy shoppers come holiday. But how will big-box stores remain relevant as the years go on?