Games and puzzles, plush and dolls are among the fastest growing categories of 2016 with the former seeing a 15 per cent growth from January to September.
According to retail sales data from NPD, toy sales grew by five per cent over the period, compared to the same period last year, with family gaming titles such as Hasbro’s Pie Face and Speak Out leading the charge.
The category is followed by plush which has seen an increase of 12 per cent and dolls, up nine per cent, buoyed largely by the popularity of Shopkins.
NPD now expects the UK toy industry to sell more than 400 million toys by the end of 2016, the highest number of toys sold per year to date, with almost one third of 2016’s annual sales value of £3.3bn to be recorded during the Christmas period.
The industry analysts has also seen the average selling price of a toy now reaching £7.54, a drop from last year’s £7.81. Unit sales grew nine per cent in the same period, due to the popularity of cheaper priced collectibles including Panini stickers, Shopkins, Hot Wheels and LEGO Mini Figures.
Sales of collectables increased 37 per cent in the first nine months of the year, representing close to £1 for every £8 spent on toys.
“This year has been particularly good for collectables and we expect their sales to continue to be strong over Christmas in the shape of ideal stocking fillers and as their more expensive play-sets become main presents,” said Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst, toys, NPD.
Movies have remained an important factor for the toy industry this year, but sales on movie licensed products have remained flat for the year with other areas of entertainment coming to the fore with the growth in digital games such as Pokemon Go and kids’ animated series such as Paw Patrol being strong drivers.