NPD: Early sun gives the industry a lift

March was an extremely sunny month, which bought an early start to the purchase of outdoor and sports toy sales.
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March was the strongest month of 2012 so far for the toy market, with sales up seven per cent by value, and volume also growing four per cent. The average price paid has increased from £6.17 in March 2011 to £6.33 this year. High price points continue to be a big driver in the market, with items priced £50+ up 33 per cent for the month and the fastest growing price point.

However, top sellers for the month do have a number of pocket money items, with Moshi Monsters Moshling Figures Blister Pack at number one and the Blind Bag at number two, closely followed by Lego Minifigures.

March was an extremely dry month with unseasonably sunny weather, which brought an early start to the purchase of outdoor and sports toy sales, which grew by around a quarter. The biggest growth came from playground equipment, where Plum Products performance was very strong. Little Tikes and Smart Trikes ride-on brands also rose up the rankings in March, with Little Tikes the fourth best selling toy property for the month. In addition, Nerf sales continued to grow and drove the sports toys category performance.

Girls toys continue to be strong in the market this year, with dolls sales up double digit per cent YTD. This has been driven by Moshi Monsters Moshling collectable items, as well as continued growth from Barbie and Monster High in the fashion dolls category. Lego Friends also has a strong offering for girls in the building sets category – and is the fourth largest property in construction. Hello Kitty also remains strong, with growing sales across most categories – it is particularly strong in arts and crafts.

“While girls have seen a very strong start to 2012, I wouldn’t underestimate the boys market,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group’s toy business, UK.

“While construction remains firmly at the top of boys purchasing, action figures could make a revival this summer. Spider-man, previously a strong performing licence, has a new film, as well TV shows like Monsuno, Redakai and Transformers Prime all ready to do battle.

“And, of course, with the Euro championships, boys are a strong contributor to the collectable stickers range this year.”


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