The U.S. toy industry is worth more than $30 billion annually and saw a growth rate of 14 percent in 2021. But that growth hasn't been easy.
We have a couple of toy-related items of interest to the plastics industry to highlight today.
First, if you haven't had the time to read Catherine Kavanaugh's story on the context behind Lego A/S's decision to build a new plant in Virginia, put it on your list.
This isn't just one story on one (very popular) global brand, but it instead reflects a range of changes in manufacturing, supply chains and public policy that all played a part in the toymaker's $1 billion expansion.
Lego once produced its ABS blocks in Connecticut but closed that site in 2006. It also previously contracted with luggage maker Samsonite Corp. in the 1960s to make its bricks in the U.S. Why reverse course now?
"The toy industry talks about speed to market," James Zahn, deputy editor of The Toy Book, told Catherine. "The standard timeline for a toy was 18 months from green light to production to your kid's toy box. Now companies want that done as quickly as possible. We've seen it shrink to three months for certain items and even quicker on other things."
Add to that Lego's highly automated manufacturing process and the desire to reduce the company's global footprint by making blocks closer to customers, and you've got a lot of momentum behind reshoring and direct foreign investment moves.