2016 Set to be a Record-breaking Year for the British Toy Market

With Games and Puzzles the fastest growing category, quality family time is back this Christmas

London, 9 November 2016 – Global information company The NPD Group today unveils the UK toy market’s year-to-date (YTD) sales performance and Christmas trends to coincide with the DreamToys event in London*. According to retail sales data from NPD, toy sales grew by 5% from January to September compared to the same period last year. Crucially, NPD expects the UK toy industry to sell more than 400 million toys by the end of 2016 – the highest number of toys sold per year to date. Almost one third (32%) of 2016’s annual sales value of £3.3bn will be recorded during the Christmas period. Equating to £1.1bn in total, that’s an average of £105 spent per child, each of whom will receive an average of nine toys.

Fastest growing categories in 2016 – Games and Puzzles, Plush and Dolls

Nine out of NPD’s 11 super categories tracked at retail have posted year-on-year growth. The fastest growing category to September 2016 is Games and Puzzles, up 15%. Next is Plush (soft toys), up 12%, followed by Dolls, up 9% – buoyed by the popularity of Shopkins. With Games and Puzzles performing so well – Pie Face is in the top ten sellers YTD week 41 (see table) – quality family time is definitely back on the agenda this Christmas.

Top 10 best-selling games and puzzles in the UK YTD to 15th October**

MANUFACTURER TOY RANK
Pie Face Game Hasbro 1
Monopoly Standard Hasbro 2
Rubiks Cube John Adams 3
Uno Original Mattel 4
Pokemon Evolution Booster Esdevium Games 5
Scrabble Original Mattel 6
Monopoly Junior Hasbro 7
Dobble Esdevium Games 8
Twister 2 Hasbro 9
Cluedo Hasbro 10

The craze for collectibles has pushed up sales volume – as average sale price has fallen

The average selling price of a toy is now £7.54, a slight drop from last year’s figure of £7.81. Unit sales grew 9% in the same time period (Jan to Sept this year). This is due to the popularity of cheaper priced collectibles including top ten ranked toys Panini stickers, Shopkins, Hot Wheels and Lego Mini Figures. Sales of collectibles increased 37% in the first nine months of 2016, representing close to £1 for every £8 spent on toys. Last year, the same comparison was £1 for every £11 spent. In terms of volume, that means more than one of every four toys sold in the first nine months to September were collectibles. In other words, each child in the UK received at least eight collectibles between January and September this year.

Frederique Tutt, Global Industry Analyst, Toys, NPD, says: “This year has been particularly good for collectibles and we expect their sales to continue to be strong over Christmas in the shape of ideal stocking fillers and as their more expensive playsets become main presents.”

Top 10 best-selling toys in the UK YTD 15th October**

MANUFACTURER TOY RANK
FLAIR PREZIOSI SHOPKINS 2 PACK 1
PANINI UEFA EURO 2016 FRANCE STICKERS PACK 2
SPIN MASTER PAW PATROL VEHICLE AND PUP 3
FLAIR PREZIOSI SHOPKINS PACK OF 12 4
HASBRO PIE FACE GAME 5
LEGO MINIFIGURES 6
LEGO DISNEY MINIFIGURES 7
MATTEL HOT WHEELS SINGLE CARS 8
FLAIR PREZIOSI SHOPKINS 5 PACK 9
LEGO STAR WARS MILLENIUM FALCON 10

Sport, digital games and cartoons have driven toy sales in 2016

There has always been a strong link between toys and movies, and over recent years the sector has seen many successful toy licenses such as Frozen, Minions and Star Wars. In 2016, movies remain important, representing more than 14% of all toy sales. But with sales of toys from movie licenses flat in 2016, growth has come from other areas of entertainment: sport, cartoons and digital games. While Star Wars has more than doubled its enduring presence as the number one toy license, football in the form of Euro 2016, digital games like Pokemon and cartoons such as Paw Patrol have also been strong drivers this year.

Two innovative British toymakers join the DreamToys ranks this Christmas

Two must-have products in the DreamToys list this year are from medium-size British toy companies. Toys and games specialist John Adams’ fun family game ‘Silly Sausage’ makes the list, as does Worlds Apart, an innovative company from Cornwall, with ‘Selfie Mic’ – a karaoke for digital natives that taps into popular trends around selfies, social media and singing contests.

Internet and social media

Nearly four pounds (GBP) in ten (37%) spent on toys in Britain are online transactions – the highest figure in Europe. The internet is becoming a natural channel for toy browsing and purchasing. It’s also ideal for marketing toys, allowing producers from multinational companies down to tiny independents to communicate their message virally as kids and adults alike share photos, videos and view their favourite content online. Over the last 12 months, the game Pie Face and animated Chewbacca mask both went viral – and saw sales soar as a result. We expect the same to be true of Speak Out, which has already received much media attention.

Tutt concludes: “The variety in the toy sector is highlighted by this year’s DreamToys list, from pocket money collectibles to higher-priced favourites such as Star Wars U-Wing Fighter and Thomas Trackmaster Sky-High Jump. Innovation remains key to success. New this Christmas – and number one during the first week of October – are Hatchimals, interactive toys that hatch from an egg. We also have two important milestones this year. Toy sales will pass the 400 million units mark for the first time, and two UK toymakers have been shortlisted in the coveted DreamToys list.”

*DreamToys is the annual event hosted by the Toy Retailers Association where the top 50 toys that will dominate this Christmas are unveiled. Selected by an independent panel of buyers that represent 80 per cent of the toy retail business, the DreamToys list is widely respected as the most accurate predictive list of the toys that will be most in demand this Christmas.

**Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 40 weeks ending October 8, 2015

See the related infographic - Quick Look: The British Toy Market If you have any questions about this press release, please contact us.


Press Contact

Frédérique Tutt
European Analyst – NPD EuroToys
+44 (0)778 990 0123
frederique.tutt@npd.com 

The NPD Group, Inc.
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Port Washington, NY 11050

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