"It's been a challenging nine months," said Aaron Muderick, founder of Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty in Norristown, Pa. On a positive note, harried parents coping with quarantined kids fueled strong growth in puzzles, games, and arts and crafts. Meanwhile, the industry is still experiencing disruptions that began with the shutdown of Chinese factories in January.
Sales in the first six months of the year fell 9 percent from the same period in 2018, when thrifty parents stocked toy chests with bargain-priced goods from shuttering Toys R Us stores, market research firm The NPD Group reports. But third-quarter sales edged up 3 percent to $3.69 billion.
Amid positive news at the massive Hong Kong Toys && Games Fair — Hong Kong's exports of toys jumped 8.6 percent in the first eight months of 2018 to $4.1 billion — industry nabobs and show-floor exhibitors alike fretted over navigating the increasingly choppy oceans of the world economy.