‘Big Kids Aisle’ opens as an antidote to Blue Monday

With more adults buying children’s toys for themselves, Barclaycard and Smyths Toys Superstores have launched a new aisle especially for Big Kids

  • Research from Barclaycard reveals that 72 per cent of adults describe themselves as a ‘big kid’ and over three in 10 (31 per cent) buy children’s toys for themselves or other adults
  • In response, Barclaycard and Smyths Toys Superstores are launching the ‘Big Kids Aisle’ in the London Staples Corner store in time for Blue Monday, traditionally known as the most depressing day of the year
  • The ‘kidult’ toy industry is now worth over £300 million, growing three times faster than the toy sector overall
  • Most popular ‘big kid’ buys are colouring books, cuddly toys and board games

Barclaycard and Smyths Toys Superstores are opening the Big Kids Aisle to beat the January blues for ‘kidults’ who love to play. The aisle of classic and modern toys was created to turn Blue Monday into Blue Funday with over half of adults (51 per cent) saying that playing with children’s toys and games is stress-relieving*.

Picture caption: Barclaycard opens ‘Big Kids Aisle’ in Smyths Toys Superstore at Staples Corner, London in time for Blue Monday 

It seems like there really is a big kid inside many of us as research from Barclaycard, which processes nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that 49 per cent of adults currently own children’s toys. And not just one toy – adults own eight children’s toys or games on average with almost a third (31 per cent) buying kids’ toys or games for themselves or other adults to enjoy. The classics are the most popular big kid purchases with colouring books topping the list and Lego, jigsaws and Connect 4 all making an appearance in the top ten.


Top ten ‘big kid’ buys for adults

Rank Toy/game
1 Colouring book
2 Cuddly toys
3 Board games
4 Jigsaws
5 Lego
6 PlayStation
7 Connect 4
8 Action Figures
9 Beanie Babies
10 Xbox


The Big Kids Aisle at the Smyths Toys Superstore will be filled with retro classics such as Tamagotchis, Teddy Ruxpin and Lego as well as current favourites including Cozmo the Robot so that shoppers can relive their favourite childhood pastimes and play with the latest toys on offer. Specially for the aisle, life-size board games and adult versions of kids’ toys such as the increasingly popular Pony Cycle will also be available for shoppers to try.

Trip down Memory Aisle

More than four in 10 Brits (44 per cent) think more adults are buying children’s toys and games because they bring back happy memories from childhood. 56 per cent of adults say they miss playing with children’s games and toys, and 54 per cent have bought a toy for a child in their family because it was something they owned or would have liked to own when they were younger.

Nation of Playsumers

As a nation, we are very happy to buy toys and games as adults and this is reflected by the £300 million ‘kidult’ toy market growing three times faster than the toy sector overall**. And it’s not just the toys themselves but the retail experience that lifts everyone’s mood; three quarters (74 per cent) say they enjoy shopping in children’s toy shops.

We are even happy to be seen buying and playing with toys and games typically targeted at children, showing that the ‘playsumer’ trend is very much entering the mainstream. Seven in 10 adults aren’t embarrassed to buy children’s toys or games for themselves or other adults (71 per cent) and 69 per cent think that playing with children’s toys and games is socially acceptable. Only 23 per cent have pretended a toy purchase was for a child rather than for themselves.

In the future, almost three in 10 Brits (28 per cent) would like to see retailers stock more adult versions of kids’ toys and games such as scooters and remote-control cars. Additional Barclaycard research also shows that one in 10 (10 per cent) are keen to attend more in-store events in general, with the findings showing that retailers who tap into shopper demand for events and experiences could stand to boost their bottom line by an average of 14 per cent***.

George Allardice, Head of Strategy at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said:

“It’s clear from our research that there is huge demand from adults for kids’ toys and games and the need for light relief isn’t surprising, especially as we get our heads back into the daily grind after Christmas. To help solve this, we partnered with Smyths Toys Superstores to launch the Big Kids Aisle in time for Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. Whether it’s the classics making a comeback like the Tamagotchi, the shelf stalwarts like Lego or the trendy toys this year such as Cozmo the robot, the Big Kids Aisle will keep everyone entertained.

“With kidult spending on the increase in a sector traditionally focused on children, there is a real opportunity for retailers to tap into the popularity of playsumerism by providing ‘big kids’ style activities either in-store or at promotional events. We hope the Big Kids Aisle will encourage more shops and shoppers alike to embrace their inner child!”

Sinead Byrne, Joint Head of Marketing at Smyths Toys Superstores, said:

“We have seen a real trend for adults celebrating their ‘big kid’ status and purchasing games and toys for their enjoyment – so much so we’ve adapted our range to include a selection of toys for the big kid in all of us from robots such as Cozmo from Anki, drones, a wider range of board games, NERF rivals, key software offers and launches as well as fan favourites such as LEGO technic, Star Wars and a wide range of Pop! Vinyls.”

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    2018 A1 Buyers Guide right-hand Skyscraper
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