On the first morning of the Toy Fair in London, the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), has announced that the British toy market has increased by 4.4% in 2014, its best result since 2010 (+8%), to reach £3bn at retail or an increase of £130m. According to the global information provider, The NPD Group, 2014 was boosted by a comeback of collectible brands where unit sales rose by over 12% to 416m toys, as sales under £5 increased by 9%. This comes after a flat performance was recorded for 2013.
“This is a tremendous result for the British toy industry during a year of challenging trading conditions. The industry continually evolves to remain relevant to the demands from children and their families and this innovation combined with many consumers desire to prioritise their children’s playtime has undoubtedly had a positive effect on the year,” commented Roland Earl, Director General of the BTHA.
For the first time ever, toy sales during Black Friday week increased by 10% and exceeded those of the week prior to Christmas, traditionally the largest selling week in the toy market. The Christmas season was strong and saw a new pattern unfold as consumers took advantage of the increasing momentum around Black Friday.
“In 2014, sales of newly launched products increased by 16% compared to 2013’s range of new toys. These accounted for 37% of annual sales. Each year, tens of thousands of new toys are launched at Toy Fair, and those are usually in high demand in the UK for consumers who want to make sure they put the best new toys under the Christmas tree for their little ones” said Frederique Tutt, Toys Global Industry Analyst for The NPD Group.
Amongst the new toys, several creative products such as looms and four separate LEGO items were extremely popular and brought kids back to ‘making things’.
2014 was also particularly strong for licenses, eight of the top 10 new products were linked to a movie or a cartoon and Disney’s Frozen became the largest toy-selling movie in the UK, beating the previous record held by Toy Story 3 (2010), and the largest license in toy sales for the year, despite stock shortages of some popular items.
The NPD Group’s analysts are anticipating another good year for 2015, based on the 2014 figures and the products slated for 2015, as Frédérique Tutt concludes:
“2014 was the strongest year for the British toy industry since 2010. From spring to Christmas, sales were up fuelled by exciting new products, licenses and collectables. In 2015, we won’t be able to rely on looms nor the World Cup, but thanks to product innovation and a strong line-up of movies including the next installment of Jurassic World and the latest Star Wars, there will be plenty of excitement for kids big and small, throughout the year and we expect the market to increase by 3% “.