NPD: Toy sales show continued growth in early spring

Traditionally spring is a time of rebirth and the traditional toys market is no exception with value sales up nine per cent year-to-date in February.
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Further positive signs are evident as volume sales grew three per cent in February following decline in January 2010.

Nine out of the 11 NPD supcategories grew in February 2010, compared to 2009, with plush, building sets and all other toys growth particularly strong.

“While the first quarter of the year has previously been a quiet time, some extremely positive movement early in 2010 has shown that it is possible to make a strong impact sooner rather than later within the toy market,” says Jez Fraser-Hook, director of NPD Group Toy Business in the UK.

Plush showed the strongest growth with YTD value sales up 75 per cent compared to the same period in 2009. This is heavily driven by Character’s Zhu Zhu Pets with the Go Go Hamster Pack Assortment the top selling item across total toys for February.

Other fast growing properties in plush are Hello Kitty & Friends and Toy Story with Mattel’s Toy Story 12” Talking Plush helping to drive awareness of the Toy Story licence ahead of the third film release in July. Building sets continued to grow as well with unit sales up 52 per cent for the month.

Licences have become more important to the category, now accounting for a third of all Building Sets sales with the early success of Lego’s Toy Story and Ben 10 ranges performing well.

All other toys growth is driven by the continued success of Gogo’s Crazy Bones and the renewed interest in Match Attax with Topps Match Attax Cards the top item in both value and volume for February.

There has been a lot of positive movement within the top properties with girls’ properties showing some strong growth. Disney Princess has grown driven by the release of The Princess and the Frog in February, while play-set themed ranges, Flair’s Sylvanian Families and Corinthian’s In My Pocket continued to grow on top of 2009 success. Barbie also grew, up 14 per cent YTD last year with Barbie’s Pets & Fashion Fever ranges growing.

“Early sales have shown that optimism at the start of the year was well founded – the challenge ahead for the market is to sustain and continue these trends for the rest of the year,” comments Fraser-Hook.

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