Sunshine and summer holiday blockbusters help market to stabilise

The NPD Group looks at the combination of recent film products and the good weather helped outdoor and plush sectors
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The sunshine in July continued to drive outdoor and sports toys growth, with sales up 34 per cent for the month for the category. This helped stabilise the total toy market sales for the month, with total value down just one per cent as all other super categories experienced decline.

Outdoor was driven by the summer seasonal toys area, especially pools, water and sand toys and water guns.

The Nerf Supersoaker range performed strongly, with two items in the top ten best sellers across total toys for the month – the Battery Powered Thunderstorm at number five and Electrostorm reaching number seven.

A number of recent film licences also started to show growth with Monsters, Inc sales across a number of categories driven by the release of the new prequel film, Monsters University in July. Monsters, Inc was the top property in plush for the month with four lines in the top ten bestselling plush items.

Despicable Me was also a surprise strong performer in plush with strong demand especially for the Minions. In vehicles, Disney’s Planes sales started well, with the Planes Single Die-cast Assortment the number five bestseller for the month – ahead of the film release on August 16th.

“Cinema and film releases have always been a great source for development for new toy ranges,” said Jez Fraser-Hook, practice director of NPD Group’s toy business in the UK.

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“For some notably stronger properties like Disney’s Planes and Pixar’s Monsters University the toy market is prepared for, with plenty of items well stocked across toy shelves. However, the popularity of Despicable Me 2 has surprised the market with demand for Minions extremely high.

“This is just one area which shows how dynamic and unpredictable the toy market can be. With their own film release in 2014, I suspect next year there will be many more Minion toys and, hopefully, just as high demand.”

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