This uplift was consistent across both food and non-food with outdoor leisure, clothing and footwear particularly showing strong growth. Non-food internet, mail-order and phone sales grew by 12.5 per cent and continue to find favour with consumers.
With the moving Easter holiday making like for like comparison difficult for April, the toy market has never-the-less shown signs of improvement with average price continuing to increase, reaching £6.04 in April 2009 from £5.94 in April 2008. Traditional toys costing more than £20 now account for 25 per cent of all value within the market, growing by five per cent for the year to date. The super-categories driving this price rise are building sets and outdoor & sports, where average prices have risen 16 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.
Infant and pre-school continues to be the biggest super-category accounting for 21 per cent of total value sales for the year to date April 2009, with infant toys particularly continuing to grow. Infant toy growth is driven by walkers, mobiles and rattle categories as new parents are reluctant to compromise on their new children beginnings.
The warm weather early in the year has meant a strong opening for the outdoor and sports category which has grown one per cent in value for the year to date April 2009. Properties that are driving this increase include Little Tikes, Ben 10, In The Night Garden and Swingball – all showing double digit growth for the period.
New film and TV releases have been driving a number of new properties so far this year. Bolt is now the tenth-ranked new property for the year to date, with the plush items performing strongly, while Aliens vs. Monsters has already become the sixth biggest new property with Vivid’s Action Figures driving the growth. Bakugan and Lego’s Power Miners continue to be the top two new properties this year with Bakugan now the 14th biggest property in the total market. However, there is little change at the top of the chart with Ben 10 holding on to the number one spot driven by the new Alien Force product ranges and TV show. Star Wars is still number two and continuing to grow.
With Easter performance boosting sales and some decent weather, the toy market now starts to look forward to the summer blockbusters and related new toy launches. Hopefully the number of action films out this year will have a beneficial impact on the toy market.