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In it to spin it: Fidget Spinners now account for 17 percent of all daily toy sales

by Rory Plewman - June 26, 2019

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Unless you are a frustrated teacher, a befuddled parent, or an elementary schooler, chances are you haven’t heard of the fidget spinner – a toy capturing the hearts, and hands, of a generation.

For the out-of-touch, the fidget spinner is a handheld gadget that uses a ball bearing mechanism to spin rapidly on the tips of one’s fingers, providing a satisfying tactile and visual experience. Whirring off shelves and onto fingertips this toy has quickly gained traction since the beginning of 2017 and currently accounts for 17 percent of all toy and game units sold daily.

Fidget spinners’ meteoric rise shows signs of slowing

Viral trick videos, an SNL sketch and various news outlets have poured fuel on a raging fidget spinner fire that reached a flashpoint May 5, just five months after the first units began to be purchased online. The trend appears to have reached its zenith however, as blistering sales have cooled off slightly during the month of May. That being said, widespread growth of online fidget spinner sales remains strong, with over 39 percent of 2017’s total fidget spinner sales occurring in the first two weeks of May alone. Slice data shows that consumers typically purchased two fidget spinners per order paying an average of $10.03 per toy.

While some attribute fidget spinner’s initial popularization to a New York Times article published on December 23, 2016 touting the fidget spinner as a must-have office toy for 2017, others credit 17-year old entrepreneurs Allan Maman and Cooper Weiss for kick-starting the trend in 2016 with their start-up Fidget360.

Gen X account for 55 percent of total fidget spinner sales, most of them women

Interestingly, women aged 35-50 account for 34 percent of all online fidget spinner sales. Originally marketed as a toy that improves focus and classroom performance, fidget spinners are likely purchased by mothers looking to keep their kids in class, out of detention, and entertained.

Despite some research that deems these gizmos have no educational value, and the flurry of negative media attention that came with it, fidget spinners continue to dominate the toy market, at one point this month occupying every spot in Amazon’s top 20 bestselling toys list.

Fidget spinners thrive at the state-level in Middle America

Interestingly, Middle America boasts the highest concentration of fidgeters per capita, championed by Utah and Texas. Slice data shows that Utah has seen the highest number of spinners sold per capita in 2017, with four spinners sold online for every 100 residents.

East coast urban centers are a hotbed for fidgeters

While Middle America boasts a higher concentration of fidgeters across the entire state, East coast urban centers prove to be the densest fidget regions in America. New York dominates with Miami and Chicago following close behind.

About this data

With a panel of over 4.7 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Slice Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for the NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.