Lads' army

Thank goodness for the boys sector, which has been propping up the toy market for the last two years, clocking up an impressive £1.2bn of sales last year. NPD provides some more stats on what lad?s love?
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Boys have been the driving force of the total traditional toy market in the last few years and saw sales increase by a further eight per cent in 2007 compared to an overall flat girls market. The total boys market (excluding video games) clocked up £1.2bn in 2007 (source: NPD Consumer Panel).

Licenses related to films and TV are becoming increasingly more important in the boys market. Blockbusters such as Star Wars, Spiderman and Transformers had a massive impact on total sales in the last few years and so did TV series like Doctor Who. Overall a third of all boys’ sales were coming from licensed merchandise in 2007 compared to only a fifth ten years ago. Looking at the movie releases planned for 2008 - Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Speed Racers, The Incredible Hulk and Batman to only name a few - it could very well be another strong year for boys.

Action Figures is without doubt the biggest boys’ category and while the actual figures still take the lion’s share in this market, role play has gained quickly in popularity in the last few years taking share from action figures accessories. Items such as voice changers, light sabres and web blasters are some of the most popular role play items, but the top seller for the year to February was the Ben 10 Omnitrix FX Watch.

After a tough couple of years in 2004/2005 Vehicles (the number two boys’ category) are now fully back on the radar and are amongst the fastest growing categories in the market. Disney’s Cars the Movie had (and still has) a big impact and Cars (the Movie) Vehicles Assortment is best seller for the year to February 2008 followed by Hot Wheels Basic Cars Assortment (both by Mattel). Furthermore, the category also got a fresh boost thanks to the various R/C items, such as Character Options’ Dragonfly and Silverlit Toys’ R/C Helicopter.

Building Sets is another key category for boys and particularly for boys aged five to 10 it is a growing sector. Whereas seven years ago only six per cent of all spend on boys aged five to 10 was going to building sets, in 2007 the figure has doubled. Lego is without doubt one of the key players in this area with strong brands such as Star Wars, Bionicles, Technic and Racers, but Mega Brands contributed as well over the years with Dragons and Pyrates amongst others. Building Sets for the younger boy on the other hand, seem to be losing out to strong preschool brands, such as Thomas & Friends, Bob the Builder and more recently Roary the Racing Car.

TOP 10 BOYS' ITEMS

1 Cars Vehicle Asst. Mattel
2 Transformers Movie LegendsHasbro
3 Power Rangers figures Bandai
4 Transformers Movie Deluxe Asst.Hasbro
5 Hot Wheels Basic Asst. Mattel
6 WWE Ruthless Aggression Vivid
7 Ben 10 OmnitrixBandai
8 Ben 10 Collectable figures Bandai
9 Dr Who five-inch figures Character Options
10 WWE Deluxe figures Vivid

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