Movie-Related Toys the Driving Force Behind UK Toy Market Sales Growth, The NPD Group Reports

Toys Offering Tradition and Technology Will Be Prominent This Christmas

London, 4 November  2015 – Global information company The NPD Group  today unveils the UK toy market’s year-to-date sales performance and holiday season trends to coincide with the Dream Toys event in London*.  According to retail sales data from NPD, toy sales grew by 5 percent (£) year-to-date compared to the same period last year. 

The overall toy market is enjoying positive sales, with nine of out NPD’s 11 super categories tracked in toys posting year-over-year growth across all age groups. The most dynamic categories are action figures (+27 percent), youth electronics (+15 percent), and building sets (+13 percent).  Movies have fueled this growth, as movie-related toys experienced a 28 percent increase in sales during this time and represent 15 percent of all UK toy sales, compared to 12 percent last year**.

With Disney Frozen and Star Wars holding the number one and number two spots, respectively, as the top toy properties, it comes as no surprise that these will have a large presence this holiday season. Driven by the launch of new products since the beginning of the year, Frozen toy merchandise has more than doubled in sales year-to-date compared to last year.  As for Star Wars, sales have tripled since the Force Friday event on September 4. The iconic Sphero BB-8, an app-enabled droid from the upcoming movie, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, was the best-selling item in the UK during September, and the LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar claimed the lead in the week ending October 3.

“This year is all about innovation and brand extension more than television and technology for the UK toy market. In this competitive retail environment, the winners this Christmas will be new toys coming from attractive brands, that offer authentic play value,” said Frederique Tutt, toys global industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Frozen and Star Wars aside, there are a number of brands performing well, including Shopkins, Little Life Pets, Paw Patrol, Toot Toot, LEGO, Nerf, Play Doh and Thunderbirds; and I expect that many of these will be Dream Toys winners this Christmas.”

*Dream Toys 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 Dream Toys 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 3, 2015

Press Contact

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

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