UK Toy Industry Sales Experience Double-Digit Revenue Increase in First Quarter 2010

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According to the NPD Group, traditional toy sales in the UK were up 11 percent in the first quarter of 2010.

The current growth in the UK toy market is very welcomed following a difficult year in 2009 with the closure of Woolworths together with the economic conditions

According to leading market research company, The NPD Group, traditional toy sales in the UK were up 11 percent in the first quarter of 2010 (January – March), topping £241.5 million vs. The £218.3 million generated during the same time period last year. Unit sales saw a 2 percent increase to 42.8 million units.

While positive growth can be attributed in large part to an increase in price points, UK consumers were also purchasing more traditional toys in 2010 than they were in 2009.

Looking at monthly sales of traditional toys in the UK, January, February and March all experienced positive revenue growth, with respective increases of 3 percent, 14 percent and 13 percent. Unit sales were down 5 percent in January, but saw increases in February and March of 3 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Price points for traditional toys priced at £5 and less saw an average increase of 4 percent, followed by toys in the £10-£20 range, which experienced an average increase of 8 percent. Toys in the £5-£10 and £20+ ranges saw respective price point increases of 16 percent and 15 percent.

“The current growth in the UK toy market is very welcomed following a difficult year in 2009 with the closure of Woolworths together with the economic conditions,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, UK Toys Director, The NPD Group. “The remaining retailers continue to benefit whilst a number of manufacturers are starting to see a turnaround of fortunes, contributing to a very strong start to the year.”

In terms of super-category sales performance, besides Action Figures & Accessories, Vehicles, and Youth Electronics, which saw respective declines of 10 percent, 5 percent, and 31 percent, all super-categories realized increases during the first quarter of the 2010. The most significant increases were within Building Sets and Plush, which saw respective increases of 65 percent and 77 percent.

“The play value and increased offering from the Building Sets category has seen this category go from strength to strength, even through the recession; whilst for the Plush category new and interesting items are the key drivers to success, with Waybuloo and Zhu Zhu Pets being two examples,” said Fraser-Hook. “However, for some categories, such as Youth Electronics, the trend of children moving into video games at an earlier age has impacted sales in recent times.”

Based on NPD's toy market research, top properties for the quarter based on total revenue sales (in alphabetical order) included Ben 10, Lego City, Star Wars, Thomas and Friends, and Transformers. Licensed toys represented 25 percent of total industry sales in Q1 2010, compared to 2009's 31 percent.

About The NPD Group, Inc.
The NPD Group is the leading provider of reliable and comprehensive consumer and retail information for a wide range of industries. Today, more than 1,800 manufacturers, retailers, and service companies rely on NPD to help them drive critical business decisions at the global, national, and local market levels. NPD helps our clients to identify new business opportunities and guide product development, marketing, sales, merchandising, and other functions. Information is available for the following industry sectors: automotive, beauty, commercial technology, consumer technology, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, foodservice, home, office supplies, software, sports, toys, and wireless. For more information, contact us, visit http://www.npd.com/, or follow us Twitter at https://twitter.com/npdgroup.

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David Riley
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