2014: Best performance for four years for the British toy market

Black Friday week sales up 10%, the biggest week of the year

London, 20th January 2015: On the first morning of the Toy Fair in London, the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), in partnership with the NPD Group, has announced that the British toy market has increased by 4.4% in 2014, its best result since 2010 (+8%), to reach £3 billion at retail, an increase of £130 million. According to the global information provider, The NPD Group, 2014 was boosted by a comeback of collectable brands where unit sales rose by over 12% to 416 million toys, as sales under £5 increased by 9%. This comes after a flat performance was recorded for 2013. 

“This is a tremendous result for the British toy industry during a year of challenging trading conditions. The industry continually evolves to remain relevant to the demands from children and their families and this innovation combined with many consumers’ desire to prioritise their children’s playtime has undoubtedly had a positive effect on the year,” commented Roland Earl, Director General of the BTHA.

For the first time ever, toy sales during Black Friday week increased by 10% as consumers snapped up higher priced main presents and electronic toys, resulting in Black Friday sales exceeding those of the week prior to Christmas, traditionally the largest selling week in the toy market.   Overall, the Christmas season was strong with an overall increase of 3% year-on-year for December. 

“In 2014, sales of newly launched products increased by 16% compared to 2013’s range of new toys.  These accounted for 37% of annual sales. Each year, tens of thousands of new toys are launched at Toy Fair, and those are usually in high demand in the UK for consumers who want to make sure they get the best new toys under the Christmas tree and for occasion throughout the year for their little ones.  ” said Frédérique Tutt, Toys Global Industry Analyst for The NPD Group.

Top 10 best-selling new toys, 2014 - £ Sterling Sales – Great Britain

Item manufacturer
2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil Official Album Stickers Panini
STAR WARS Great Vehicles 2014 LEGO Group
Frozen Snow Glow Elsa JAKKS Pacific (Corp)
Mini Figures The Simpsons Series LEGO Group
STAR WARS MF set 2014 LEGO Group
Disney Frozen Ice Skating Assortment Mattel (Corp)
Transformers Age Of Extinction Flip N Change Asst Hasbro (Corp)
Cra-Z-Loom Bracelet Maker Character Options
Kidizoom Smart Watch Vtech (Corp)
STAR WARS Great Vehicles 2014 PP1 LEGO Group

Source: The NPD Group/Retail Tracking Service

Amongst the new toys, several creative products such as looms and four separate LEGO items were extremely popular and brought kids back to ‘making things’. 

2014 was also particularly strong for licenses, eight of the top 10 new products were linked to a movie or a cartoon and Disney’s Frozen became the largest toy-selling movie in the U.K., beating the previous record held by Toy Story 3 (2010), and the largest license in toy sales for the year, despite stock shortages of some popular items.

On the opening day of Toy Fair in London, the NPD Group’s analysts are anticipating another good year for 2015, based on the 2014 figures and the products slated for 2015, as Frédérique Tutt concludes: “2014 was the strongest year for the British toy industry since 2010.  From spring to Christmas, sales were up fuelled by exciting new products, licenses and collectables.  In 2015, we won’t be able to rely on looms nor the World Cup, but thanks to product innovation and a strong line-up of movies including the next installment of Jurassic World and the latest Star Wars there will be plenty of excitement for kids big and small throughout the year and we expect the market to increase by 3% “.

“With over 260 exhibitors at Toy Fair, launching the next wave of brand new products, these three days provide the perfect opportunity for buyers and media to assess the new products for 2015 and determine which lines will be the key market drivers for the year ahead,” concluded Roland Earl from the BTHA.

Press Contact

Frédérique Tutt
European Analyst – NPD EuroToys
+44 (0)778 990 0123

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