New York - The 100th Toy Fair opened Sunday here on a somewhat somber note as the industry posted a 1 percent drop in traditional toy sales, but the high-tech category managed a small gain for the year with sales rising just over 2 percent.
According to NDPFunworld, the infant and preschool segment of the toy market had $2.8 billion in annual sales during the second half of 2002, a 2.1 percent increase. This category is primarily comprised of early learning aides, by such companies like Leapfrog and VTech. An NPD spokeswoman said the infant and preschool segment is the largest of the super sub-groups in the industry and this is reflected in the fact that the top two selling toys for the year, in dollar sales, were the LeapFrog Book Assistant and LeapPad.
2002 also saw the average selling prices for toys in the category drop from $13.31 to $12.69
The toy industry overall had $20.2 billion in sales, down from the $20.5 billion in 2001. Industry sales have only made incremental improvements since 1999 when $19.8 billion in sales were tallied. 2000 saw this improve to $20.4 billion.