NPD figures show European toy market outperforming US

New stats from NPD show the European market ahead of the US in the first half of the year, with the UK leading the way.
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Toy sales in the US remained largely unchanged during the first half of 2010, while revenue growth in Europe's five largest toy markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and UK) experienced a five per cent increase.

Though strong economic pressures persist in most countries, and the prospect of a consumer recovery is not yet clear, consumers have increased their spend on traditional toys.

US revenues topped $7.771bn during the first half of this year (Jan.-June) against $7.748bn generated during the same time period in 2009.

Of the European toy markets during the same time period, the UK lead the way with eight per cent growth, followed by Spain with six per cent growth, Germany with four per cent, France with three per cent, and Italy with two per cent.

In Europe, sales for the first half of the year only represent approximately 30 per cent of annual toy sales, but this performance is already a positive indicator of a good peak season to come.

"With a strong first half like the one experienced in 2010, we are confident that 2010 will record solid single digit growth in Europe," said Frédérique Tutt, EuroToys analyst at NPD. "We are currently seeing growth in each of our five key markets, and consumers seem to react well to impulse categories perhaps indicating a greater confidence into economic recovery."

For the first half of this year, NPD has noticed market growth that is driven, in part, by sales of outdoor and sports toys. Overall consumer reaction to the dry weather experienced throughout Europe in June bodes well for the industry, since sales of products within this category are largely weather-dependent. Another good indication of a general recovery within the industry is the continued popularity of properties such as Bakugan and Star Wars.

In the coming weeks, analysts anticipate continued growth from the Toy Story 3 brand. For the year-to-date (Jan-June), Europe's five largest toy markets show Star Wars (pictured) as the number one license for traditional toys, with Toy Story being the year's fastest growing license.

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