Chloe Dykstra’s seven Razor scooters have entertained her throughout the pandemic. During lockdown, she also occupied herself building a Lego typewriter. Now she’s eyeing a Sea-Monkeys Aquarium pet hatching kit. Although the toys were designed for kids, that doesn’t bother Dykstra, a 33-year-old writer and producer in Los Angeles. “Sometimes taking care of yourself looks like going back to childhood a little bit,” she says.
A cohort of shoppers like Dykstra—dubbed “kidults” by toy industry insiders—have helped US toy sales surge 37% over two years, to $28.6 billion in 2021, according to data tracker NPD Group. Executives more accustomed to the whims and preferences of children initially thought the spike in purchases of dolls and skateboards were for kids cooped up at home. But a survey last year from the US industry’s Toy Association found that 58% of adult respondents bought toys and games for themselves.