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Toy market experiences best sales growth since 2010

17% increase in unit sales in 2014 so far suggests a strong Christmas to come

London, 5th November 2014: The NPD Group, a global information company, today unveils the British toy market’s year to date sales performance, as well as anticipated Christmas trends to coincide with the Dream Toys event in London*.

According to retail sales data from The NPD Group, year to date (January 1, 2014 – October 11, 2014) sales of toys in Britain increased by 6% compared to the same time period last year. This is the best sales result for the British toy industry since 2010. Unit sales also experienced robust increases, climbing 17% from the start of the year.

Expected sales increase of 4% at retail for the full 2014 year

The NPD Group predicts an increase in toy spend this Christmas that will help the industry realise year end growth of up to 4%, bringing annual sales to over £3 billion, an increase of £166m in one year. This growth is due to the continued interest in interactive/connected toys, and performance in sales of classic categories such as Building Sets and Arts & Crafts as well as new, highly anticipated products coming to the market in time for Christmas.

Several must-have toys at retail helped to spur growth in an industry that has otherwise been flat since 2011, including Panini stickers, LoomBands and LEGO Minifigures. Increased interest in these low priced and collectible toys, as well as a healthy growth in impulse purchasing has meant the average price for toys dropped from £7.69 to £6.95.

The rise of interactive friends and connected companions

Hotly anticipated new toys coming to the market for Christmas include interactive friends and connected companions, toys that can communicate and be connected to smartphones and tablets using wifi. Following the runaway success of the re-launched Furby, children across Britain will be hoping to find interactive friends under the Christmas tree from dolls to dinosaurs to birds. Hotly tipped to top the toy sales charts are: Cayla, the world’s first connected doll from Vivid and Spin Master’s Zoomer Dino, a moving and roaring dinosaur. Not to forget the tweeting birds from Character Options’ Little Live Pets and Silverlit’s Digibirds, friends that tweet, sing and respond to a child’s touch.

‘Frozen’ on fire

One of the more noticeable trends experienced in 2014 has been the resurgence in sales of licensed toys. Last year, licensed toy sales were down across most of Europe, including Britain. This year, licensed toys have seen sales increase 10%, and currently represent 27% of total toy industry sales. The top performing licenses include Frozen, Star Wars, Disney Princess, World Cup Soccer and Peppa Pig.

Released in December 2013, the movie Frozen is going from strength to strength. With three items related to the film in the top 10 selling toys, sales are stronger today than they were after the film's initial release. With excellent momentum and plenty of products now on shelves across several categories, sales of licensed Frozen toys will be one of the highlights of the Christmas shopping season

Frederique Tutt, Toys Global Industry Analyst for The NPD Group comments: “The British toy market is leading resurgence in toy sales in Europe. The innovation that the industry has invested in has also started to pay back. Impulse sales of collectibles and lower-priced toys are up as well as licenses from movies including Frozen, and this year’s craze, Loom Bands. These two factors combined delivered the fastest growth rate in toy sales since 2010 (+6%) in the first nine months of 2014 which suggests that Christmas 2014 might be the best for some time.”

Top 10 toys – week 41 (to 11th October 2014) – £ Sterling Sales – Great Britain
MATTEL DISNEY FROZEN SPARKLE DOLL ELSA/KRISTOFF
TOPPS MATCH ATTAX 2014/15
MATTEL DISNEY PRINCESS FROZEN SPARKLE ANNA
JAKKS PACIFIC FROZEN SNOW GLOW ELSA
VTECH RIDE ON ALPHABET TRAIN
LEAPFROG LEAPPAD EXPLORER TABLET
LEGO GROUP LEGO MINIFIGURES
VTECH INNOTAB HARDWARE ASST
HASBRO AVENGERS HERO SERIES 30CM FIGURES
SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB 3 KIDS ECRAN 7'' 8GB ANDROID JELLY BEAN WIFI

Super categories

Looking at current sales performance across super-categories for the first 40 weeks of this year, Arts & Crafts, Youth Electronics and Building Sets experienced some of the most significant increases at 25%, 24%, and 19% respectively. NPD expects those three segments to continue to perform well over the Christmas period, fuelled by some exciting new product introductions.


Press Contact

Lucy Green
Greenfields Communications
07817 698366
Lucy@greenfieldscommunications.com

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