UK toy sales see double-digit growth in Q1

Traditional toy sales rose 11 per cent in the period, topping £241.5 million compared to £218.3 million in Q1 '09.
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The NPD group has reported that while positive growth can be largely attributed to an increase in price points, UK consumers were also purchasing more traditional toys this year.

Monthly sales of traditional toys in the UK in January, February and March all experienced positive revenue growth, with respective increases of three per cent, 14 per cent and 13 per cent.

Unit sales in the first quarter saw a two per cent increase to 42.8 million units. Unit sales were down five per cent in January, but saw increases in February and March of three per cent and seven per cent, respectively.

Price points for traditional toys priced at £5 and less saw an average increase of four per cent, followed by toys in the £10-£20 range, which experienced an average increase of eight per cent.

Toys in the £5-£10 and £20+ ranges saw the strongest growth with respective price point increases of 16 per cent and 15 per cent.

Jez Fraser-Hook, UK toys director, The NPD Group, said: “The current growth in the UK toy market is very welcomed following a difficult year in 2009 with the closure of Woolworths together with the economic conditions. 

“The remaining retailers continue to benefit whilst a number of manufacturers are starting to see a turnaround of fortunes, contributing to a very strong start to the year.”

Except for three categories - action figures & accessories, vehicles, and youth electronics, which saw respective declines of ten per cent, five per cent, and 31 per cent - all super-categories realised increases during the first quarter. 

The most significant increases were within building sets and plush, which saw respective increases of 65 per cent and 77 per cent. 

“The play value and increased offering from the Building Sets category has seen this category go from strength to strength, even through the recession; whilst for the Plush category new and interesting items are the key drivers to success, with Waybuloo and Zhu Zhu Pets being two examples,” continued Fraser-Hook. 

“However, for some categories, such as Youth Electronics, the trend of children moving into video games at an earlier age has impacted sales in recent times.


Based on NPD's toy market research, top properties for the quarter based on total revenue sales included Ben 10, Lego City, Star Wars, Thomas and Friends, and Transformers.

Licensed toys represented 25 per cent of total industry sales in Q1 2010, compared to 2009's 31 per cent.


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