App-connected toys make up less than one per cent of British toy sales

Billy Langsworthy

By Billy Langsworthy

September 27th 2016 at 11:28AM
UPDATED September 27th 2016 at 12:02PM
App-connected toys make up less than one per cent of British toy sales

The data from NPD also predicts that toy sales in Great Britain could reach a record £3.3 billion by the end of 2016.

The NPD Group has revealed that less than one per cent of British toy sales belong to the web-connected toys category, while construction toys and collectables are enjoying strong growth. 

Since 2010, the building sets category has recorded value growth of over 121 per cent. This means it is growing nearly six times faster than the rest of the market. 

Collectables are also doing well. In the 12 months to August 2016, value sales of collectable cards, stickers, figurines and beanies have increased by 34 per cent. Each child in Britain aged between five and 10 has received 11 collectable toys in some shape or form in the 12 months to August 2016, an increase from the eight toys they would have received in the previous year.

While app connected toys have not broken through as much as many would have expected, the top toy item in this category is Sphero's BB-8 droid.

Looking at the wider pictures, toy sales in Great Britain have increased by over 26 per cent between YE June 2008 and YE June 2016, and sales could reach a record £3.3 billion mark by the end of 2016, five per cent ahead of 2015, if the rate of growth recorded since the beginning of the year is sustained.

“Everywhere we look, anyone above the age of 10 is glued to a screen," said Frederique Tutt, global toy industry analyst, The NPD Group.

"Depending on their age, they could be playing Pokémon Go or Candy Crush, updating Facebook, looking for directions on Google Maps or booking a meal with friends on a restaurant app. So in an era when the appeal of anything digital is racing ahead, the strength in the toy world of traditional building sets as well as collectable cards, stickers, figurines and soft toys is a welcome surprise.

"Just as some adults still enjoy the analogue habits of reading printed newspapers and books – and some are even rediscovering vinyl – there is a strong analogue flavour to the toys that children enjoy most.”

Other key recent findings from NPD include:

  • For YE December 2010, online sales represented just over one-fifth of toy sales in sterling, but as of the year to date June 2016, online shopping accounts for one-third of toy sales in Britain - the highest percentage in the top five European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK).
  • Mums are traditionally in charge when it comes to buying toys and account for 23 per cent of total spend, but dads have become much more involved and, according to data for the first six months of 2016, are now the source of 17 per cent of total toy spend, more than grandfathers and grandmothers combined (15 per cent).
  • Toy brands represented 31 per cent of the value of sales in 2010 but now account for 43 per cent of spend.