Outdoor and sports toys is the second largest super category within traditional toys by value and worth over £363 million in the latest 12 months, which is up ten per cent (source: NPD Consumer Panel).
While outdoor and sports has always been reliant on the British weather, 2011 was an extremely mild year which helped the category show growth for ten months out of 12. Unlike other toy categories, there were two peaks for outdoor sales last year – in April where the weather was warm and dry, which lead to a surge of sales in ride-ons, and in December when Nerf was very popular as a Christmas present. The grocer channel accounted for a large proportion of outdoor and sports toys growth over the last year, with sales up 39 per cent, although continued in the specialist and mixed channel as well.
The largest area of outdoor remains sports toys, which was also the fastest growing category with Nerf proving extremely popular and now the number one property in outdoor, accounting for ten per cent of the total category as well as the top two items – N-Strike Maverick and N-Strike Barricade RV-10.
Within sports toys, skates, skateboards and scooters also saw strong growth, up 30 per cent with Razor USA driving sales, up 73 per cent. The Razor E100 Electric Scooter is the number four best seller across total outdoor, with Grossman’s Nebulus Folding Scooter and Lightning Strike Scooter ranked seven and eight.
Within summer seasonal toys, water guns showed a 45 per cent increase as children took advantage of the mild weather. Playground equipment also grew, although dominated by exclusives and own label items. Ride-ons are always popular with children, with MGA’s Little Tikes Cozy Coupe the third best selling item in the category, and Mookie’s Smart Trike at number five.
Licences account for a small percentage of total sales – just 12 per cent, with strong performers reflecting the total toy licence performance. In 2011, the top licences were Hello Kitty and Cars.