US: Toy market holds steady says NPD

Latest figures from NPD show the US market achieving a slight increase in sales in 2010.
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According to the research group, US retail sales of toys generated $21.87bn in 2010 compared to $21.46bn in 2009, an increase of two per cent.

Strong fourth quarter (October 10th - December 10th) sales, which experienced an increase of three per cent over fourth quarter 2009, saw revenues top $10.2bn, representing close to half of the year-end total, with December 2010 generating $5.64bn, a four per cent increase over December 2009.

In individual categories, plush and building sets saw the most significant increases at 18 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively. Outdoor and sports toys realised an increase of nine per cent, while dolls and infant/pre-school both experienced increases of six per cent.

Youth electronics, action figures/accessories/role play, and games/puzzles experienced the most significant declines when compared to 2009, at 22 per cent, 15 per cent, and nine per cent, respectively.

Unit sales mirrored revenue sales trends in most respects, with the largest increases coming from dolls, building sets, and outdoor and sports toys super-categories showing respective increases of 23 per cent, 13 per cent, and 12 per cent, while overall unit sales were up four per cent.

Retail channel performance was mixed, with online/internet sales experiencing revenue growth over 2009 at 22 per cent.

The Toy Stores and Food/Drug channels also saw growth of four per cent and six per cent, respectively. The only channels to experience loss in share were department stores and majors with respective declines of 11 per cent and two per cent.

Top properties for the year based on total dollar sales included Barbie, Crayola, Nerf, Star Wars, and Toy Story. Licensed toys represented 25 per cent of total industry sales in 2010. Based on dollar sales, Cars: The Movie, Disney Princess, Star Wars, Thomas and Friends, and Toy Story topped the list of 2010's best-selling licensed properties.

"Looking forward to 2011, there is much optimism coming off the strong holiday performance for toys," said NPD industry analyst Anita Frazier.

"From our KIDS tracker, we know that toys is one of the top categories kids are spending their holiday gift cards on. With an improving economy, several movie releases, and a wide array of innovative product coming to market, 2011 looks to be another solid year for toy sales."

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