Total toy sales for May were down just one per cent

NPD: Higher price points lift the market in May

Total toy sales for May were down just one per cent, helped by the average toy price rising to £6.75.

This was heavily driven by an increase in the higher price points, particularly £50-plus which grew by 26 per cent for the month. This was strong with outdoor and sports, plus youth electronics. As the weather started to improve in May, outdoor sales increased with Little Tikes, Swingball and Air Storm (pictured above) all leading the growth.

In youth electronics, it was the robotic and interactive playmates areas which drove sales during the month, particularly Furby, with Party Rockers joining the Hot & Cool assortment as top sellers in that category.

With increased competition for boys sales, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has had a very successful launch and is the largest new toy property in the market year-to-date with over £4m of sales, while LEGO Legends of Chima is the second largest new property and growing.

Other properties showing growth are Skylanders and WWE. Iron Man has also seen sales increase in the last couple of months with the release of Iron Man 3 at cinemas.

Top girls properties are Barbie and Disney Princess – true evergreen brands with sales consistently high each year. There is also continued growth of Monster High, LEGO Friends and My Little Pony, which all continue to build on strong performances made in 2012.

“Boys sales have always been dominated by new launches and current fads,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group’s toy business in the UK.

“The latest film, sports event or hot new TV show is quickly pickedup by boys and the first year is crucial in making a boys property a success. In comparison, girls’ top sellers are usually dominated by older properties, as newer properties take a couple of years to embed themselves within the girls shopping profile.

“So far in 2013 there have been a number of success stories for both girls and boys properties, which help generate some positive buzz for the all-important autumn/winter season.”

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