A new report from Juniper Research (www.juniperesearch.com) forecasts that smart toy sales will reach $15.5 billion in hardware and app content revenues by 2022, up from an estimated $4.9 billion in 2017.

This increase will primarily be driven by the growing popularity of smartphone-based connected toys and the enduring appeal of console-connected “toys to life,” action figures that interact with a video game via a reader device, adds the research group. The new research identified the Lego Group as being particularly well positioned in this category, with their successful “toys to life” range, Lego Dimension. Juniper forecasts that 224 million smart toys will be shipped worldwide in 2017.

The study found that many players in the smart toy segment are not only appealing to children, but also to ‘“kidults” and collectors, as demonstrated by Sphero’s BB8 app-enabled droid and Lego Dimension’s A-Team and Ghostbusters sets.

In addition, the research forecasts that smart toy sales will be dominated by the US, based on historical high sales of toys to life products and strong performance of smartphone-based smart toys. However, China is set to disrupt this trend, with increasing disposable income and the legalization of video game consoles for sale driving smart toy uptake. China will account for 18% of the global smart toy shipments by 2022, representing an average annual growth of 42%.