The global toy industry saw sales decrease by three per cent across the 13 markets tracked by the NPD Group, the company has revealed in its latest industry report.
Overall, the industry performed better outside of the US, with Russia, Germany, and Brazil up five per cent, three per cent, and two per cent respectively. Sales across LATAM increased one per cent, and European sales were down two per cent.
The first six months of 2019 saw toy sales decline 6 per cent, underperforming primarily due to comparisons to the Toys R Us liquidation sales in 2018 in large global markets, while the second half marked an improvement, declining only one per cent.
In 2019, Action Figures and Accessories and Games/Puzzles were the two growth areas for the year, with respective growth of 14 per cent and three per cent, while Building Sets and Dolls out-performed the market.
Action Figures (up 11 per cent), Action Figure Play-sets and accessories (up 21 percent), Action Figure Collectables (up 16 percent) and Battling Toys and Play-sets (up 41 percent) all contributed to the growth of Action Figures overall. Games/Puzzles showed resilience with Strategic Trading Card Games, Card Games, Family Strategy Games, Adult Puzzles and Adult Games all experiencing growth.
Looking at the top five selling toy properties across the G13 in 2019, L.O.L. Surprise! was the largest property, followed by Barbie, Marvel Universe, Hot Wheels, and Nerf. Overall growth was driven by entertainment properties with movie launches in 2019 such as Disney Frozen, Toy Story, Pokémon, and LEGO Movie, as well as the video games license, Fortnite.
“A three per cent increase in licensed toys, driven by an unprecedented line-up of family movies, helped the market, especially during the second half of the year. The closures of major specialist chains had the most adverse effect on global toy sales.
“In those countries where a major chain closed down (US, UK, Australia, and Netherlands), sales were down five per cent compared to 2018. Sales outside of those countries; however, were up 1 percent for the year,” said Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at The NPD Group.
“The industry is preparing itself for 2020. In the U.S., we are pleased that the threat around tariffs for toys is no longer a concern, but we are now facing a potential industrial crisis with the coronavirus, which is having an impact on manufacturing in China. We hope the situation will improve very soon and we can get back to business as usual.”