May sunshine warms outdoor market

The UK toy market was boosted in May by two weeks of excellent weather.
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Outdoor products were flying off the shelves (particularly the likes of pools, water/sand toys and waterguns) leaving the category with year-on-year growth of 27 per cent. As a result the total toy market increased by six per cent in value (excluding outdoor it is down three per cent) and 10 per cent in volume. Overall average price, however, is still coming down, from £6.37 to £6.10.

Despite an increase in both nurturing and playset-themed dolls the total dolls market declined by six per cent in May. Fashion Dolls are the main reason for this decline, but the good news for Barbie is that she has slowly gained back share in the last few months and is now back as the overall market leader in both fashion and total dolls. That said, the various Disney properties - High School Musical, Hannah Montana and Disney Princess - are also showing excellent performance.

The Action Figures market is down as well this month mainly because May 2007 saw the movie release of Spiderman 3. Without Spiderman the category would have been up by 23 per cent. Market leader Ben 10 continues to gain share and now accounts for more than a fifth of total action figures. Boosted by the movies both Iron Man and Indiana Jones are showing strong performance as well. Since Indiana Jones the movie was only released on 22nd May, more is to be expected from the property in the months to come.

Total Youth Electronics declined due to a double digit fall in the Robotic Pets category. That said the sub-category youth electronics declined as well, mainly driven by Doctor Who. Strong performance on the other hand was seen by High School Musical (Vivid’s Sing Along Microphone and Flip Phone Music) and Hannah Montana (Character Options’ Secret Pillow and Musical Hair Brush).

Games and Puzzles did not have the best May either with sales down 15 per cent. Children’s games and Brainteasers, however, performed very well. The former was driven by Twister, Monopoly and Tomy Activity Games amongst others while Drumond Park’s Rubik’s Cubes boosted Brainteasers.

Infant/Preschool remained flat this month. Fisher Price Rainforest saw strong performance in infant, whereas Winnie the Pooh continued to struggle. In the pre-school market the likes of Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer, Roary the Racing Car and In the Night Garden continue to do well.

Top Five Properties May 2008

1 Ben 10
2 Thomas & Friends
3 Barbie
4 In the Night Garden
5 Power Rangers

Best item progression (May 2008)
All Surface Swingball
A couple of weeks of hot weather and UK’s summer favourite, the All Surface Swingball, was flying off the shelves again. The item was the top seller in outdoor and the number six in the total market this month (coming from 59th in April).

Best property progression
May 2008

Speed Racer

Warner Bros. new movie, Speed Racer is doing well. The property ranked 24th (coming from outside the top 100) in the total market in May and was the number three in Vehicles.


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SECTOR GUIDE: Outdoor toys

The outdoor and sports toys sector was worth £363m in 2011, up ten per cent thanks to some extremely mild weather and, unusually, enjoys two peak periods. We take a look at what some of the key players are promoting this year.


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The girls market continues to be a lucrative buy tricky sector, as toys are constantly battling against other mediums like music, fashion and gaming. Licensed properties still figure highly, but so do more interactive based toys, with even traditional plush now featuring these elements...

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