Playing with toys has always been an essential part of kids’ development, but today’s kids now have one gamechanging thing at their fingertips: technology. This new generation is inundated with tech, causing toymakers to add interactive learning and play elements to classic toys and games. Some examples include Play All Day Elmo, from Hasbro, which features age-appropriate play modes for toddlers and preschoolers, and Hello Barbie, Mattel’s classic doll with new abilities that allow her to learn and remember things.
The addition of technological elements in toys has helped to fuel recent growth in the industry. According to The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys grew to nearly $18.1 billion last year, an increase of 4 percent over 2013. Industry growth has attracted both strategic and financial buyers to the sector, with last year’s deal volume increasing 20 percent over 2013, while public company valuation multiples remained strong last year.