The NPD Group has this morning revealed that traditional toy sales in the UK during the first eight months of 2010 saw an eight per cent increase, compared to the same period in 2009.
At the same time, sales in August boosted the overall average with a 15 per cent increase in value.
Despite speculation about the economy, and the prospect of a double-dip recession, parents continued to buy toys for their children outside of the key Christmas period. In fact, according to NPD, unit sales have caught up with the levels experienced before Woolworths' closure more than 18 months ago, with unit sales five per cent above 2008 levels (year to date through August).
One of the market leaders in the UK is Toy Story, the number one toy licence for August. Sales of Toy Story toys have already climbed up to £20m at retail since the beginning of 2010 (source NPD Retail Tracking Service).
Other success stories include Character Group's Zhu Zhu Pets, which is the best selling toy year-to-date, LEGO toys and various World Cup related toys and collector cards.
One of the primary favourable factors of this market recovery seems to be the increase in birthday purchases. In the first half of 2009, birthday purchases dropped by 15 per cent. However, 2010 market growth has clearly been driven by birthday gifts, with year-to-date revenue up 34 per cent and unit sales up 33 per cent.
"There have been many positive stories in the toy market so far this year, all adding up to increased consumer spend and, with the most important months ahead, the toy trade is well on its way to get back to pre-Woolworths levels," said Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD EuroToys.
"With this in mind, NPD is confident the remainder of the year will be strong and forecasts a five per cent growth in value for the full year."