Construction toys – or building sets – were worth around £280 million in 2011 and grew by 12 per cent, ahead of total toys growth last year (source: NPD Consumer Panel Service). Over the last three years this has been a dynamic category, rapidly increasing in sales, and is now the fourth largest supercategory within toys, as well as being the fastest growing. It was up 26 per cent year-to-date in May 2012 (source: NPD Epos Service).
While traditionally considered a boys category, girls purchasing of construction has grown much faster, up 42 per cent in 2011, accounting for around a fifth of all building sets purchased. This looks set to increase in 2012 with the launch of Lego Friends, currently the third largest property in the category.
There have been a number of new launches over the last year, with Hasbro’s Kre-O and Character Options’ Character Building joining category stalwarts Lego, Mega Bloks and Meccano for space and share of consumer spend. Lego remains the number one manufacturer, with a wide selection of brands and price points. However, the expansion of new manufacturers into the sector has made construction a particularly exciting category in the last year.
The top property – Lego City – is closely followed by Lego Star Wars, while Lego Friends and Lego Ninjago are in third and fourth respectively. However, licensing has become more important to construction over the last year, with a third of all sales being licensed. After Star Wars, the top licences year-to-date are DC Comics Superheroes, Halo and Harry Potter. A number of new licences have also added to sales including Deadly 60 for Character Building, Moshi Monsters and Power Rangers for Mega Brands and Super Mario Bros for Tomy.
Foil bags have been a top seller within construction, with Lego Minifigures continually topping the best sellers list for the total toy market. However, the Halo Heroes Mini Figures Assortment, Micro Deadly 60 Mini Figures Assortment and Moshi Buildable Figures have all seen high volume sales as well. The success of these blind bags has seen the £3-and-under price point grow by 25 per cent, but the fastest growing price point is £10-£20 which accounts for just under a third of all construction sales.
Construction is one of the most exciting categories in the toy market at the moment, continually driving total toys growth in 2012. And it looks set to build even further on this going forward.