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UK sales of collectables surge 156 per cent in three years

Sales of collectables have surged 156 per cent here in the UK over the last three years and have risen by 29 per cent over the first eight months of 2018 alone, according to the latest findings from The NPD Group.

Unboxing, surprises, exclusivity and social media shares have been highlighted as the biggest drivers behind the recent success of the toy sector, positioning the collectables market as a significant slice of the UK toy market today.

In fact, three in ten toys sold in the UK between January and August this year, contributing 15 per cent of total spend, were collectables, from Shopkins and football stickers to LOL Surprise.

The MGA Entertainment IP is not only the top-selling collectable, it is also the number one selling toy overall, going some way to highlight the importance of the collectables category to the toy market.

Much of the category’s success over the generations comes down to its ability to consistently innovate. New toys are being launched on a regular basis and with each iterations, manufacturers strive to tap onto the latest consumer of children’s trend. Many new launches have now incorporated an unboxing element in which packaging becomes part of the play experience, while others provide challenges such as puzzles to solve and codes to crack before the toy is revealed.

Meanwhile, YouTube has become a haven of unboxing and unwrapping videos. Among the most successful young influencers, Tiana from Toys AndME or Ryan from Ryan’s ToyReview have respectively over nine million and 16 million subscribers, and have generated 4.5 billion views collectively since they started posting videos.

Frederique Tutt, toys global industry analyst, The NPD Group, said: “With a sales increase of 156 per cent in the last three years, it’s no wonder that toy manufacturers are keen to tap into the current popularity of collectables, and they know it takes imagination and creativity to have a hit.

“Collectable ranges must tick a number of boxes if they are to appeal to today’s discerning collector, many of whom have grown up in the digital world. New launches are becoming increasingly innovative, incorporating elements such as unboxing, code-cracking and exclusivity.

“Some rate each toy as ‘common, rare or super-rare,’ adding to the thrill of opening each new item purchased. It also provides another joy of collecting – swapping with friends and other enthusiasts.”

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