We are Family, Children's marketing, Research Agency, Brands, Toys
In 2021, Squishmallows took off. The toys, designed to feel like cushy marshmallows thanks to their stretchy fabric outers and unique inner filling made from recycled plastic bottles, look a little like your child’s favourite stuffed toy had a baby with a beanbag chair. They can be animals (think pastel rainbow-hued crabs and smiling pink cats in strawberry costumes), as well as fruits, vegetables, and popular franchise characters like Hello Kitty, Chewbacca, and Minnie Mouse. Like their 90’s toy-craze predecessor Beanie Babies, each Squishmallow has its own name and short biography, making them feel both highly collectable and weirdly relatable: Junie the Banana is planning a barbecue for her annual family reunion, for example.
The soft, rotund toys quickly shot to the top of children’s wish list. At the time, it seemed like they might be a short lived trend. Their popularity was largely due to a combination of TikTok hype (at the time of writing, the hashtag #Squishmallows has 5.2 billion views Squishtok currently has 1.9 billion views on TikTok) and what experts speculated was a pandemic driven desire for comforting, huggable toys in a time of uncertainty and isolation.
Fast forward, and two years later, Squishmallows are still at the top of wishlists. So what is behind the stuffed toys' enduring popularity?