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It used to be a matter of fact when Peter Pan – a character from James Matthew Barrie’s 1911 book – said: “All children, except one, grow up.”
But this “fact” doesn’t seem to apply to today’s world anymore.
According to the NPD Group, a US market research company, sales of toys to adults in the UK increased by more than 20 percent in 2016, three times the pace of the children’s toy market itself. These toys ranged from puzzles and Lego building sets to vehicle models and action figures. And more than half of the sales came from millennials – people born between the 1980s and 2000s.
美国市场调研公司NPD集团表示，在英国，卖给成年人的玩具要比2016年多出超过20%。这一增长速度是儿童玩具市场的三倍。这些玩具包括了拼图、乐高积木、汽车模型、玩偶等。超过一半的销量都来自于千禧一代 —— 出生于上世纪80年代到2000年代之间的人。
“Adults of the 21st century are channeling their inner child, one toy at a time,” commented website Koreaboo. This is also why these adults are sometimes referred to as “kidults”.
According to Frederique Tutt, an analyst at NPD, the motivation of these grown-ups is to escape the stress of today’s fast-paced world. They are driven toward the more immediate pleasures brought by toys than those brought by, say, getting a promotion, which is far less easy to achieve.
“It reminds me of the playful side of life,” Rob Willner, a 25-year-old PhD student in the UK, told The Telegraph when talking about his love for Lego, which he said brings him both comfort and entertainment.
Despite this, some social scientists see the trend as disturbing. To Frank Furendi, a professor at the University of Kent in the UK, the fact that so many adults are pursuing “the thrills of youth” is the evidence that “adulthood has got nothing attractive about it anymore”, he told The New York Times. “That’s actually quite sad.”
尽管如此，一些社会学家认为这一趋势令人不安。在英国肯特大学教授Frank Furendi 看来，如此多的成年人追逐“青春的刺激”这一事实，证明了“成年已完全不再具有吸引力，”他在接受《纽约时报》采访时表示。“这其实相当悲哀。”
But scientists are probably just worrying too much. According to Canadian comic book artist Todd McFarlane, collecting toys could simply be a way for people to express their individuality.
“It’s just pop culture stuff. It’s stuff that says, ‘I like a little of this and I like a little of that’,” he told ABC News. “[It’s] no big deal.”
So now that over 100 years have passed since Peter Pan, perhaps it’s time to introduce a new “fact”, as stated in the tagline of the UK fashion brand KIDULT: “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.”