The German toy manufacturer, Schleich, watched UK sales soar by 56 per cent over the last financial year, while the company increased its revenue by double digits for the sixth year in a row within the German market.
Schleich UK’s managing director for UK and Ireland, Thomas Randrup, has suggested that it is the company’s strength of brand and strong retail partnerships that cemented the firm’s success over the past year.
He is also optimistic that Schleich UK will continue its upward trajectory for the year ahead.
In Germany, the company achieved a gross revenue of over €200m (compared to €183m the previous year), an increase of around eleven per cent.
Schleich is therefore experiencing growth that is ‘significantly higher than the market average’ for the German toy industry – a market which finished the year three per cent up.
The company has stated that its international revenue is even stronger than in its domestic market, having also increased by double digits in the core markets of France and the United Kingdom.
Randrup said: “2019 saw Schleich sales rise by 56 per cent; a remarkable achievement in a challenging market.
“We largely attribute this growth to the strength of our brand, ongoing product development and strong retail partnerships. Our continued uplift in marketing will also hopefully ensure Schleich’s UK’s upward trajectory in the year ahead.”
The company’s growth is based on the success of classic Schleich figurines and the continuous expansion of the play worlds. A major contributor to the company’s success over the past year was the Bayala product line, one which centres on fairies, dragons, and magical creatures.
Alongside the first Schleich movie, Bayala – A Magical Adventure, the matching figurine sets and licensed products raised the brand’s name recognition and increased revenue.
Horse Club made for another success story for Schleich, which saw three items feature within the Top 25 German toys according to NPD. Meanwhile, and in the second year after its launch, Eldrador Creatures play world continued to fascinate fans with its line-up of creatures and monsters.
The classic Wild Life and Farm World play worlds also contributed to the increase in revenue and the German Association of Toy Retailers – Bundesverband des Spielwareneinzelhandels e.V. – lauded the four new Pony Agility play sets from the Farm World range as a top 10 toy for the year.
Projections for 2020
Following the sales success of 2019, it stands to reason that Schleich is tackling 2020 with an optimism of further growth in developing its global audience and take on the next phase of international expansion.
It aims to do this together with Partners Group, a global private markets investment manager which, on behalf of its clients, acquired a majority holding in the company in 2019.
Furthermore, the Schleich Group plans to invest in the development of online sales channels and further product innovations, in order to strengthen the market position of its core products.
It will also push forward with digitisation in a separate strategy.
“We are thinking through lots of new ideas on this front – be those more movies, a TV series, or apps,” said Dirk Engehausen, CEO of the Schleich Group. “These types of decisions call for significant investments and thorough planning.”
For 2020 the focus is on the popular Wild Life thematic world. A new chapter is also beginning in the Dinosaurs world and Schleich will introduce a new play world for the first time in September, featuring primeval giants and the protagonists, the Colby brothers.
On top of all of this, this year the company will be celebrating its 85th anniversary. Children and collectors alike will be able to look forward to a specially designed version of the classic Schleich lion to mark the occasion. The golden Anniversary Lion will be available as a limited edition from August.
Finally, another focus of the toy manufacturer in 2020 will be to increase emotional attachment to the brand. To this end, Schleich will continue to release varied, extensive play sets with familiar characters and new faces.
The uninterrupted success will make it possible for the company to expand its license model and gain new partners, thus ensuring the development of exciting stories for the Schleich characters and play sets.