Licensed products make up 27% of European toy sales this year, reports Circana


According to data from Circana, licensed products now make up 27% of total spend in toy sales across the seven largest markets in Europe – UK, France, Germany, Italy Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The data runs from the start of the year to August 2023 and the figure is a 5% jump up from 22% in 2020.

The top ten character-driven toys by sales value in the UK market this year so far are:

1. LEGO Speed Champions Aston Martin 007 DB5 (LEGO)
2. LEGO Speed Champions Lamborghini Coutach (LEGO)
3. Premier League 2022/23 Adrenalyn XL (Panini)
4. 5 Surprise Mini Brands Disney Store Edition (Zuru)
5. Paw Patrol Vehicle and Pup (Spin Master)
6. Premier League 2023 Official Sticker Collection Multipack (Panini)
7. LEGO Star Wars 501st Clone Troopers Battle Pack (LEGO)
8. LEGO Speed Champios 2 Fast 2 Furious Nissan Skyline GT R R34 (LEGO)
9. LEGO Minifigures Disney 100 (LEGO)
10. LEGO Disney Up House (LEGO)

“The licensing of movies, video games and sporting events are all fueling growth of toy sales,” said Melissa Symonds, UK Toys Director for Circana.

“The licensing of toys is keeping the sector in great shape as we move into the all-important Q4 holiday period. With the wealth of content available and more coming down the pipe, it will be fascinating to see just how high the share of licensed sales in the toy market can go in 2024 – though I do expect the 148 days of the Writers Guild of America strike to have a measured impact on the flow of new toys.”

Elsewhere, across the EU7 Circana has tracked €7.9BN worth of toy sales this year to the end of August 2023 – a decline of 3.6% in value terms compared to the same period in 2022.

“Like many discretionary categories, the toy market is fighting to maintain its share of consumers’ wallets,” added Symonds.

“A decline in disposable income, drops in birth rates and unpredictable weather, which always has a direct impact on sales of outdoor toys, have all contributed to the decline in the toy market value sales. But one way manufacturers are reaching consumers’ hearts is to capitalise on the power of fandom. As a result, the licensing market is booming.”

Due to unpredictable weather, outdoor and sport toys have declined by 16.5% YTD and 15.5% for the three summer months (June to August) where they represent no less than 16% of European toy sales.

Three super categories are increasing sales: Building Sets (+0.3%), Games and Puzzles (+7.3%) and Plush (+9.4%). The top five gaining classes YTD includes strategic trading card games, traditional plush, card games, non-strategic trading cars and stickers, action figure collectibles.

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