Sad over losing Toys R Us, parents drive a surge in toy sales in the first half of the year

  • The toy industry's sales grew 7 percent to $7.9 billion in the first half of 2018.
  • Sales were bolstered by purchases of toys priced between $5 and $19.99 and robotic and interactive toys.
  • "I am also convinced that the strong toy industry growth so far this year has been at least partially supported by the empathy that people felt towards losing a store like Toys R Us," said Juli Lennett, senior vice president and industry advisor.
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Dan Kitwood | Getty Images

Things are looking up for the toy industry as parents and grandparents, sad over the bankruptcy of Toys R Us, fueled massive sales in the first half of the year.

The toy industry's sales grew 7 percent to $7.9 billion through June, according to market research company NPD Group.

"It is likely that the Toys R Us news has kept toys top-of-mind for parents and grandparents when shopping for kids in general, benefiting both consumers and the industry," Juli Lennett, senior vice president and industry advisor, said in a statement Monday.

She said she was convinced that the jump in sales was at least partially due to empathy over losing Toys R Us.

"I think it brought about an emotional response that resulted in parents buying more toys overall," she said.

Lennett said that sales of toys priced between $5 and $19.99 and robotic and interactive toys were the two major drivers of growth in the toy industry so far this year.

Collectible dolls like LOL Surprise, Fingerlings and Soft'n Slo Squishies remain at the top of kids' wish lists as well as toys that feature dinosaurs and unicorns.

Lennett said the fast pace of toy sales will continue through the end of this year.

"Existing toy retailers have announced they will be dedicating more space and will carry more toys this holiday season both in-store and online," she said. "We're also seeing new store formats emerge that are more experiential, and we will have new toy retailers entering the space."

Top toy companies like Hasbro and Mattel have been hit hard by Toys R Us' bankruptcy. In the most recent quarter, Mattel said the closure of the toy retailer dented its gross sales by 10 percent. However, Mattel's stock is up 3.6 percent since January.

Hasbro's shares are up 9.5 percent in the same time period.

WATCH: The rise and fall of Toys R Us