Playground Crazes and Pocket Money Toys Help Boost Traditional Play

Classic categories are enjoying a revival thanks to the latest playground crazes says NPD

London, 23rd July 2014: Loom bands, Lego mini figures, Panini cards…as 2014 marks the return of the collectible trend in the UK, The NPD Group, a global information company, looks at the impact of playground crazes and how these are boosting traditional play patterns despite the popularity of high tech toys.  

Three of the top five best-selling toys belong to creative segments

Looking at the best-selling toys since the beginning of the year, NPD reveals that three products of the top five come from the Building Sets or Arts & Crafts categories. “Collectibles have definitely made a come back in 2014 and boosted the traditional segments.” explains Frédérique Tutt, Global Toy Industry Analyst with The NPD Group.

Despite the high tech category still being the fastest growing segment (+24% year-to-date June 2014), both the Arts & Crafts and the Building Sets categories are featuring significant sales increases at +16% and +21% respectively. This is driven by playground crazes such as Loom bands and Lego mini figures. Frédérique Tutt says: “We haven’t seen such trends since 2011 and it’s great news for the market as small purchases and impulse buys are on the rise again.”

Crazy crazes and creativity

Loom bands are leading the return of collectibles in the UK, epitomising the continuing endurance and popularity of creativity and traditional play patterns alongside high tech and robotic toys. £9m worth of Loom bands have been sold in the UK since the beginning of the year, with the first week of July holding the retail record to date with £1 million sold in that week alone.

Similarly, with the launch of the Simpsons collection, the best-seller of the last three years*, Lego mini figure blind bags are experiencing a new surge in sales. Sales are up by 52% compared to the same period last year.

Finally the tournament may be over, but with 25 million toys, (mostly stickers) sold since the beginning of the year and the Panini 2014 FIFA World Cup Single pack the best-selling toy across all categories, the World Cup mania isn’t over as far as toys sales are concerned. Frédérique Tutt continues: “Despite the increase in popularity of digital games and gadgets, children are still very receptive to old fashion toys. Here we have a perfect example of how toy fashion repeats itself. Home made bracelets such as the Brazilian bracelets in the 80’s, Panini cards, and Lego have proved their staying power and have been a recurring favourite with kids for many generations.”

Last but not least, the mania around Disney’s movie release Frozen is not showing any signs of slowing – toys derived from the latest Disney movie outsold all Disney princesses the first week of July with Mattel’s fashion doll Elsa a best-seller.

A market driven by fashion

Toy sales to date (w/c 5/07) were up by 6% compared to the same period last year and the UK and France are currently the strongest performing markets in Europe.  Frédérique Tutt concludes: “The UK market is renowned for being particularly receptive to new trends driven by the entertainment calendar. This year has been rich in events, from the World Cup, to strong film releases but it’s really the scale of new playground crazes that has been welcomed by the industry after a few years seeing consumers keeping rigidly to big occasions to buy new toys.”

TOP 5 BEST SELLING TOYS YEAR TO DATE (5/07/14) – in Sterling

Source: NPD Group

Note to editors

*Unit sales – full year 2011, 2012, 2013 – source The NPD Group | Retail Tracking Service

Source NPD Retail Tracking Service covering 75% of British toy sales

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Greenfields Communications
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