With the children's population increasing slowly in all of the five countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) but Germany, the foundation for a growing market has been established.
Despite the global recession the toy market managed to increase sales to kids under two by one per cent in value, with the UK leading the way in terms of market size - nearly three times larger than Italy or Spain.
NPD Group industry analyst, Frédérique Tutt, said: "Once again, the kids market has proven its resilience to the hardest recession since the 1980s, and industry sales have grown thanks to product innovation and increased promotional activity at retail."
As for nursery equipment - wheeled goods, car seats, seats, carriers, etc - NPD also reported a growth in 2009 for both France, which was up two per cent and the UK, up by five per cent.
Tutt continued: “Market structure, however, is not necessarily consistent, and each country has its specificities. In the US, for example, NPD notes the high appeal of baby swings, which are still a relatively rare purchase in Europe.”
In all countries, product innovation is a key driver for category growth as illustrated by the development of video and digital monitors, which, with their higher retail prices, have been boosting sales over the past few years.
To keep up with product innovation and deals, parents are increasingly looking to the internet as a source of information. From chat rooms to retailers’ website feedback, the internet has now become as important as shop visits when it comes to choosing new products.