Build-a-Bear Attracts Adult Consumers Thanks to TikTok Influencers

The franchise is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

By Steve Huff

Ben Hider | Getty Images

Build-A-Bear Workshop CEO Sharon Price John has a surprising statistic for anyone who ever spent time with a child in one of the chain's stores just hoping to return to the world of grown-ups as soon as possible: "40% of our shoppers are adults."

CNN reports that Build-A-Bear has seen a notable rebound in demand as pandemic restrictions have waned around the world and that renewed demand consists of numerous shoppers from early teens on up.

According to CNN, there are 400 Build-A-Bears worldwide, where for prices between $14 and $30 customers can stuff a plush of their selection and then accessorize it with clothing and even recorded messages. For the 3rd quarter of 2022 the company reported a 9.9% increase over sales from last year, reportedly the seventh straight quarter of increased sales.

The influx of older shoppers includes customers seeking gifts and collectors. Build-A-Bear has enhanced its product offerings by licensing popular characters from movies and games.

Small Cap Consumer Research CEO Eric Beder tells the cable newser that "there is a definite strong demand for collectors with key licensed items such as Pokémon, Star Wars, older movie characters from The Nightmare before Christmas and video game-driven items such as Mario and Luigi."

Beder also says TikTok influencers have been having Build-A-Bear "stuffing parties" and those products sell fast. Price John added that teens have many reasons to return to the store, including "creating ... viral moments with our products on TikTok."

The best thing about older consumers, according to Beder? "The older customer spends more, is not discount driven and makes multiple purchases…a really nice demographic."

Steve Huff

Entrepreneur Staff

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