US: Toy sales decline in first half

Sales were down by two percent for the first half of 2009, according to The NPD Group.
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Sales for the US toy business were $7.8 billion for the six-month period from January 4th to July 4th, 2009, down from $7.95 billion at the same point in 2008.

For the 12 months ending on the same date, the industry tallied $21.6 billion in sales, down from $22.06 billion recorded at the same time in 2008.

NPD toy industry analyst Anita Frazier said the good news was: “Even as the economy worsened earlier this year...there wasn't evidence of greater declines post-holiday."

Despite an overall decline in sales, some sectors of the market did show increases. Building sets were up 20 per cent in the first six months and up 22 per cent for the full year.

Action figures sales rose by 13 per cent for the first half and four per cent for the 12-month period. Arts and crafts were up by six percent for the first half and three per cent for the year. Finally, games and puzzles crept up by five per cent for 2009's first half (helped by a ten per cent gain in board game sales) and up two percent for the full year.

In contrast, plush sales saw the largest decline, falling 18 per cent for the six months and three per cent year-on-year. Vehicles sales were down 12 per cent for both periods.

Outdoor and sports toys slipped ten per cent for the six months and seven per cent for the full year. Infant and pre-school toys dropped six per cent for the half and four per cent for the year.

Dolls dropped two per cent for the six months and seven per cent for the full 12 months. Youth electronics slid one per cent for the six months and 12 per cent for the year.

Tracking the business by age group, NPD said sales rose two per cent for toys designed for kids aged two years and younger and for those made for kids ages nine and over. Conversely, sales fell six per cent for kids aged three to five and four per cent for kids aged six to eight.

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