The world's largest retailer said Wednesday during a presentation to employees at the start of its annual shareholder meeting week that it has sold $100 million of adult coloring books so far this year. "Adult coloring books are on fire, a lot of people are stressed and coloring relaxes people," said Steve Bratspies, Walmart U.S. chief merchandising officer.
Walmart isn't alone in finding success in selling to overworked adults or perhaps those looking to tap into their childhoods by buying coloring books.
Craft retailer Michael's (MIK) - Get Michaels Companies Inc Report said adult coloring books were one of its top-performing categories during the most recent holiday season. "We continue to capitalize on the growing trend of coloring for adults, highlighting our selection of book titles and coloring tools in the front of the store and on our website, making them easy for customers to find," said Michael's chairman and CEO Carl Rubin on a Mar. 17 call with analysts.
The company has expanded its assortment to more than 150 coloring books. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble (BKS) - Get Barnes & Noble, Inc. Report also pointed to strength in adult coloring books during the holiday season, which helped to offset sluggish sales of traditional books.
Nielsen Bookscan estimates that some 12 million adult coloring books were sold in 2015, a huge jump from the 1 million sold the previous year.
And it appears that when adults choose to sit down to color, it's with pencils rather than messier crayons. According to Nielsen, total sales of colored pencils spiked 26.3% in 2015, a sharp increase compared to the previous three years, when growth ranged from 1.3% to 7.2%.