Skip to main content

Fidget Spinner Craze: Explained by Network Effects

The article by USA Today was written back in May, when fidget spinners (little toys that one could spin around their finger to supposedly help with fidgeting) were extremely popular all over the country. Most people learned about fidget spinners because nearly everyone was talking about them at one point. They were such a huge hit that stores like Five Below, as mentioned in the article, had to limit customers to purchasing only two at a time so everyone could get their fair shot at getting one.

What most people don’t know, however, is that these toys had been around for years before they became wildly popular. They were simply used as they were meant to be used: to help children with autism or other disorders to concentrate while in the classroom. Of course, there is no exact answer as to why these became so widely used throughout the country, but it is likely the result of network effects. The article posits a theory that one kid brought a fidget spinner to recess one day, and all his friends wanted one too (and thus went home and asked their parents to buy them one). After that, these kids with their new fidget spinners were having so much fun that their friends outside of school also wanted one (to essentially fit in), and many kids from schools all over the area had these spinning toys after very little time.

The network effects were very strong in the beginning for this toy, as over 45 million were shipped in May alone ( If the article’s theory is correct, then one student in one school turned this little toy into a huge, profitable business. People from all over the country saw their friends using them or on TV or the internet, and wanted to try for themselves, creating a humongous network effect, which, believably so, lasted only a short period of time.


Leave a Reply

Blogging Calendar

November 2017
« Oct   Dec »