The decline was due to the impact of poor weather on the second largest area, the outdoor toys category, which declined 38 per cent for the month.
The obvious reason for this was several weeks with beautiful weather in April 2011, which were replaced by rain and the cold this year.
While the dip in outdoor and sports toy sales was the main reason for the total toys decline, nine out of 11 super categories experienced value growth in April, spurred on by the school holidays and the Easter break.
The average toy price for the month dropped for the first time this year, down to £6.43 from £6.59 in 2011.
April was the first month to see growth with action figures this year, as value grew by five per cent and units an impressive eight per cent. Star Wars remains the top property and continues to grow, with the addition of the pocket money priced pods items performing well.
Following The Avengers release in cinemas in late April, the licence is now the fifth largest action figure property, and growing.
The Avenger Mighty Brawler assortment was the second best selling item in April.
Infant and pre-school remains the largest super category, and it also had a particularly strong month. Both areas grew ahead of the total toy market. Infant toys had a strong focus on brands, with VTech Baby remaining the best selling property.
Meanwhile, within pre-school, the figures category grew in April, with Playmobil, Octonauts and Imaginext all performing strongly. There was also continued growth from the electronic learning area, with LeapPad Explorer and VTech’s Innotab both continuing to sell strongly despite high price points.
There had been some growth from a number of the sports licences in the last few weeks of April, ahead of both the 2012 UEFA European Championship and the London Olympic Games.
“In 2010 the FIFA World Cup had a huge impact on the toy market, driving high volume through low priced items and impacting the average price,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group’s toy business in the UK.
“With a number of officially licensed products, as well as generic summer games ranges across numerous toy categories, it will be very interesting to see what impact the Olympics and the European Championships make on the industry.
“They could even be the boost that the toy market has been looking for to drive additional growth within the category in 2012, following a slow start to the year.”
Top 5 properties
1. Moshi Monsters
2. Star Wars
4. Lego City
5. Cars the Movie
Best property progression
The success of the new Avengers film helped the property move from number 153 in March to number 37 in April…
Best item progression
Euro 2012 Album (Panini)
The sticker album saw sales surge in April, moving up a staggering 2,073 places to number 33 for the month…
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