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Toy Fair 2018: Counterfeit toys impact UK sales as NPD reports 2017 dip

Counterfeit toys have been highlighted as having a big impact on the UK’s toy industry through 2017 following reports of a sale decrease of 2.8 per cent on the previous year.

The NPD revealed the total UK toy sales for 2017 brought the value of the industry to £3.4bn pointing at under-performing licenses, the impact of Brexit and growing concern around counterfeit goods as the reasons for the dip.

Despite the small decline, the UK is still positioned as the largest market in Europe, having seen three consecutive years of growth, according to the NPD’s annual announcement.

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the contraction of the market from 2016’s exceptional performance,” said Natasha Crookes, director of public affairs and communications for the BTHA.

“The increasing breadth and depth of counterfeit toys is a real concern, with over £400m worth of sales being lost to the industry, as well as the cost to companies from the theft of innovative design.

“2017 was also a mixed year, with disappointments in some sectors but real success stories in others. Collectables, for example, seem to be an unstoppable force within the industry.”

Collectables grew by 17 per cent with brands such as Fingerlings dominating the lists while the category was responsible for nine per cent of the overall value of the market and 19 per cent of all units sold.

Other strong sectors in 2017 were doll play-sets, pre-school figures and action figures.

“After three good years of growth for the UK toy industry, 2017 saw a decline as did other territories such as France and Australia" commented Frederique Tutt, global toy analyst for the NPD Group.    

“While licensed products are an integral part of the industry, across Europe it has been a sector that has under-performed – with the exception of PJ Masks, Cars 3 and Lego Batman.”

“Collectables, however, have seen significant year on year growth. This continued growth highlights the year-round appeal of toys and less reliance for the industry on seasonal sales.”

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