UK videogame toys and merch drops 24 per cent despite Fortnite success

Despite 2018 being a major year for the both the Fortnite and Overwatch brands in the toy space, NPD data has revealed a drop in UK videogame toy and merchandise sales of nearly 24 per cent year on year.

According to the latest statistics from the NPD Group and UKIE, there has been a 10 per cent decrease in overall sales in the category ‘games culture,’ spanning toys, merchandise, books and magazines, and events and venues.

According to the figures, sales of toys and merchandise sat at £77.7 million in 2017, but fell 23.7 per cent to £59.3 million last year. Books and magazines related to popular video gaming brands also fell, though less dramatically, totalling £17.8 million in 2018, compared to 18 million the year prior.

Interestingly, movies and soundtracks saw a 34 per cent jump in sales, from £17.6 million in 2017 to £23.6 million for 2018.

Despite this slowdown in hardware sales and licensing, the UK games market reached a record £5.7 billion for 2018, a surge of ten per cent year on year. Software revenues exceeded £4bn for the first time, while significant increase in digital and online revenues saw it jump 20.3 per cent to a record £2.01 billion.

Blame for the drop in sales figures for toys has and merchandising – representing the largest part of the overall game culture valuation – has been placed at the foot of the now closed Toys R Us.

Dr Joe Twist OBE, CEO of UKIE, said: “2018 has been another record year for the UK games industry. Both software and hardware markets have seen steady growth; with the software sector’s digital, online and mobile sales all increased over the 12 months; and the hardware market seeing significant gains across PC game hardware, peripherals, and accessories.

“The UK games industry is a cornerstone of the country’s cultural landscape and continues to work hard to create new, innovative and exciting content that consumers want to experience, and that helps to drive the industry forward year-on-year.”

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