NPD: Events help the toy market return to growth

Movies, summer events and sunny weather help traditional toy sales grow two per cent in May.
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The traditional toy market returned to growth in May, with value sales up two per cent and volume up three per cent.

Helping drive May performance was some sunny weather in the last week of the month, which saw outdoor sales increase by 90 per cent for that week. The average price for toys dropped slightly in May, down to £6.53 from £6.59, heavily influenced by the release of the low-priced Panini Euro 2012 stickers for the football tournament.

Action figures continued to grow in May, up eight per cent in value, with The Avengers the number one property in the category – ahead of Star Wars. Both licences have seen growth this year thanks to film releases – these have always been very important to this category which is the most heavily licensed area of toys; 71 per cent of all value year-to-date comes from licensed toys.

With the new Batman and Spider-Man films, this summer could see the continued growth of this category. In May, Spider-Man was already the eighth largest property in action figures. Power Rangers and WWE are also showing growth, proving that licences are not just limited to films.

Spider-Man was the eighth-biggest toy property in May.

For girls, dolls remains a key category – both fashion-themed dolls and play-set-themed dolls have seen double-digit growth over May. Moshi Monsters is now the top dolls property – as well as the number one property across the total toy market, with the Moshling Figures proving extremely popular both in blind bags and blister packs. Over 74 per cent of Moshi sales are under £5, suggesting that the collectable and pocket money aspect is key to Moshi’s success and growth.

Barbie and Disney Princess are the next largest properties in dolls, both selling over £1 million in May. Fast growers include Lalaloopsy and Monster High, both showing consistent growth so far this year.

“2012 has been a very event driven year so far,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group’s toy business in the UK. “From Star Wars in 3D, to the Jubilee celebrations, to sporting events like Euro 2012 and now with the Olympics upon us, there have been more than just film releases and new launches to excite toy consumers this year.

“As all eyes start to look at the all-important autumn/winter launches, especially a certain catalogue release, it will be interesting to see if these events drive consumers peak season purchasing this year. Hopefully the feel good factor will translate into toy sales.”

Top 5 properties

May 2012
1. Moshi Monsters
2. Star Wars
3. Little Tikes
4. Disney Princess
5. Cars the Movie

Best property progression

May 2012
Super Soaker
Some good weather at the end of May helped the brand move from number 80 up to number 22.

Best item progression

May 2012
Super Soaker Electrostorm (Hasbro)
The product leapt 438 places in May from number 480 to
number 42.


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