By Rob Knight

Millions of Brits have taken a trip down memory lane – by buying toys they owned as kids, according to a study.

Researchers found 44 per cent of the population have purchased toys they enjoyed as kids because they bring back happy childhood memories.

Colouring books, cuddly toys and board games top the list, with jigsaws and Lego completing the top five most popular choices.

And those who have sought to recapture the sense of wonder associated with their formative years own eight toys on average.

The research was commissioned by Barclaycard following last year’s report by a retail analyst group which found the ‘kidult’ toy industry is worth over £300 million – and is growing three times faster than the toy sector overall.

As a result of the findings, Barclaycard and Smyths Toys Superstores are launching the ‘Big Kids Aisle’ at the London Staples Corner store where grown-ups will get a chance to play with toys and old and new.

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.

“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.

“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.”

The survey also found over half have bought toys for kids in their family because they had owned the toy themselves as a child or because they always wanted it.

Fifty-six per cent of the population admit they miss playing with children’s games and toys, while over half admit playing with kid’s toys and games is stress-relieving.

Seven in 10 don’t see a problem with playing with children’s toys and games as adult and consider it to be socially acceptable.

However 23 per cent have pretended a toy purchase was for a child rather than for themselves.

Amid this, three quarters enjoy shopping in children’s toy shops as it gives them a sense of nostalgia.

While seven in 10 would describe themselves as a ‘big kid’.

It was also revealed 28 per cent of us would like to see retailers stock more adult versions of kids’ toys and games such as scooters and remote-control cars.

Additional research by Barclaycard found one in 10 UK adults would be keen to attend more instore events such as the ‘Big Kids Aisle’.

It also found retailers who take advantage of this demand for experiences could stand to boost their bottom line by 14 per cent on average.

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.”

The ‘Big Kids Aisle’ area will be filled with retro classics such as Tamagotchis, Teddy Ruxpin and life-size board games as well as current favourites including the Pony Cycle and Cozmo the robot.

It will be open at Smyths Toys’ Staples Corner store between Monday 15th January and Wednesday 17th January.

The first 100 people to visit the ‘Big Kids Aisle’ area will receive a free Tamagotchi.

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

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