April was another tough month for the toy market – with the poor weather effecting toy sales, April was down nine per cent in value and down 11 per cent in units vs April 2012.
The weather was a factor, but outdoor and sports toys wasn’t the poorest performing category, it did decline by ten per cent but plush and youth electronics declined more so. In fact nine of the 11 supercategories experienced decline in the month.
However, there was some growth with All Other Toys showing an increase vs April last year of around two per cent in value.
This tends to be one of the more dynamic toy categories and is often affected by crazes, but within this we have seen a good growth in April for educational toys, mini figures and scene sets.
The action figures supercategory is also starting to see some positive signs again thanks to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and also Iron Man performing well this month.
Across the total market there was some positive growth from the Little Tikes brand, which grew in April vs last year.
Any growth in the outdoor category is much needed, but it should be remembered that April last year was our wettest for quite some time.
Looking at the performance of the top properties for April it tends to be quite girl focused with three of the top performers being Monster High, Peppa Pig and LEGO Friends.
We’ve also seen a good performance from new pre-school licences Tree Fu Tom and Doc McStuffins, both in the top ten new properties for the month of April.
“It continues to be a challenging year, but we are seeing pockets of growth,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group’s toy business in the UK.
“We are still waiting for the weather to turn but it looks positive that if it does the toy market is in a good place to take advantage. We have seen some positive early sales for some new licences in April which demonstrates good licences will still perform well even in a challenging market. And although we haven’t exactly seen significantly better weather the slight upturn in April brought has seen better sales for some outdoor lines. There is definitely room for optimism.”