British toy market sees best performance in four years in 2014

The NPD and BTHA kick off Toy Fair 2015 with news of a 4.4 per cent increase in toy sales for last year.
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The British toy market achieved a 4.4 per cent increase in 2014, reaching £3 billion at retail and enjoying its best result since 2010.

The NPD Group and the British Toy and Hobby Association revealed that the market saw an increase of £130 million, driven by the comeback of collectable brands, in which unit sales rose by over 12 per cent.

Meanwhile, sales for toys under £5 also increased by nine per cent.

The news – announced during the launch day of the 62nd London Toy Fair – comes after a flat performance was recorded for 2013.

“This is a tremendous result for the British toy industry during a year of challenging trading conditions, said Roland Earl, director general of the BTHA.

“The industry continually evolved to remain relevant to the demands from children and their families and this innovation combined with many consumers’ desire to prioritise their children’s playtime has undoubtedly had a positive effect on the year.”

For the first time ever, toy sales during Black Friday week increased by 10 per cent as consumers went in for higher priced presents and electronic toys, resulting in Black Friday sales exceeding those of the week prior to Christmas.

Overall, the Christmas season was strong with an overall increase of three per cent year-on-year for December.

“In 2014, sales of newly launched products increased by 16 per cent compared to 2013’s range of new toys,” added Frederique Tutt, toys global industry analyst for The NPD Group.

“These accounted for 37 per cent of annual sales. Each year, tens of thousands of new toys are launched at Toy Fair, and those are usually in high demand in the UK for consumers who want to make sure they get the best new toys under the Christmas tree and for occasion throughout the year for their little ones.”

The top ten best-selling new toys of 2014 in sales include the likes of the 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil Official Album Stickers from Panini, Star Wars Great Vehicles 2014 from LEGO, Frozen Snow Glow Elsa from Jakks Pacific, Minifigures The Simpsons and Star Wars MF set 2014 from LEGO, Disney Frozen Ice Skating Assortment from Mattel, Transformers Age of Extinction Flip N Change Assortment from Hasbro, Character Options’ Cra Z Loom Bracelet Maker, Kidizoom Smart Watch from VTech and Star Wars Great Vehicles 2014 PP1 from LEGO.

NPD analysts are now anticipating another good year for 2015, based on the success of the previous 12 months.

Tutt continued: “2014 was the strongest year for the British toy industry since 2010. From spring to Christmas, sales were up fuelled by exciting new products, licences and collectables. 

“In 2015, we won’t be able to rely on Looms nor the World Cup, but thanks to product innovation and a strong line-up of movies including the next installment of Jurassic World and the latest Star Wars there will be plenty of excitement for kids big and small throughout the year and we expect the market to increase by three per cent.”

The BTHA’s Earl, concluded: “With over 260 exhibitors at Toy Fair, launching the next wave of brand new products, these three days provide the perfect opportunity for buyers and media to assess the new products for 2015 and determine which lines will be the key market drivers for the year ahead.”

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