Inflation, the curse of our pocketbooks and the Federal Reserve, has hit almost every good in the U.S. But the price of a beloved toy has managed to hover around $1 — for more than 50 years.
Hot Wheels are a retail oddity. They remain one of the most affordable toys in the country at a time when inflation is chipping away at savings accounts and compounding credit card debt for many Americans, experts like James Zahn told NPR.
Zahn is the editor-in-chief of The Toy Book, a trade publication that has covered the toy industry in North America since 1984. Inflation and other supply chain-related factors have boosted prices this year in a few toy categories, most notably action figures, dolls and electronic toys, Zahn said.
On average, The Toy Book has recorded a 15% jump in manufacturers’ suggested prices for a lot of toys this season; many products that would’ve been $19.99 a year or two ago are coming in at $22.99 to $24.99, he added.
“It is exceptionally rare to find a toy that maintains its price for a few years, let alone more than five decades,” Zahn said. “Hot Wheels are an anomaly in that the continued sales volume and razor-sharp production pipeline manage to keep