However, year to date, the total market continues to grow, up three per cent. The average selling price for September declined to £6.68 from £6.80 last year – the first time it has fallen in 2011.
The largest category during the month was infant and pre-school, which saw high profile launches in electronic learning from LeapFrog and VTech.
LeapFrog’s LeapPad Explorer tablet was the number one item across total toys for the month, and VTech’s Innotab has also positively impacted the category since launch.
Across total pre-school toys, Thomas & Friends stays at the top, followed by Peppa Pig and Playmobil.
The building sets category has seen a consistent upward trend and was the fastest growing category in September – up 11 per cent in value. Lego Harry Potter has driven growth and is the number three property for the month, with Lego City and Star Wars ranking one and two. New properties including Lego Alien Conquest, Hasbro’s Kre-O and Character Building have all contributed to sales.
Despite no film release, Star Wars has been this year's biggest brand
Licences account for 26 per cent of total toy sales YTD, with Cars remaining the top toy licence for the month. It has moved up to the number three property across total toys YTD, having taken over £20 million of sales this year. Only 51 per cent of Cars sales are from the vehicles category, with sales for the licence across all super categories.
However, the biggest toy licence is the evergreen Star Wars, which even without a major film release is the best selling toy licence this year.
“Licences have always been a key element to the toy market,” says Jez Fraser-Hook, director, NPD Group’s toy business, UK. “Driven by major film releases and popular TV shows, they drive excitement and awareness of the industry. In recent years re-launched licences such as Cars and Toy Story have driven high value sales after film release days, while other licences like Octonauts have also been making a splash.
“With Christmas upon us, we are waiting to see which licence kids will fall for at this time of year.”
Top 5 properties
2. Star Wars
4. Hello Kitty & Friends
5. Lego City
Best Property Progression
Furreal Friends (Habsro)
The Hasbro property moved up from number 87 the previous month, to number 45 in September
Best Item Progression
Music & Motion Choo Choo (Mattel)
The Fisher-Price item soared up the rankings from number 291 to number 25
UK Toy Sales
(Value, year to date)