It’s a New Year and with it come new opportunities – for licensors, licensees and retailers alike.
After almost two years of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be hopes that 2022 will bring an increased sense of normality to our lives and, along with it, renewed consumer confidence.
LicensingSource.net has put together 22 talking points for the licensing business in 2022 – from supply chain and shipping challenges, through to key trade shows, anniversaries, trends and major sports events, all of which will have an impact on our industry.
Supply chains and shipping challenges
Speaking to a selection of licensees across various categories pre-Christmas, a return to less fractious supply chains, with a rebalancing of shipment costs and more regularised factory lead times was high on the agenda. The challenges are likely to remain a key talking point as we move through 2022.
Post-Brexit customs rules
From 1 January 2022, exports between Great Britain and the EU will be subject to full customs controls. This means that goods must be presented to customs and the export declarations must be entered into HMRC systems to decide if any further checks are required. Traders are no longer able to delay completing full import customs declarations for up to 175 days, a measure which was introduced to cope with the disruption of Brexit. Some sectors will be hit harder than others – the rules are more complicated for animal products, for example.
The on-going pandemic
Although at time of writing, no new restrictions were looking likely to be bought in by the government, the ramifications of the pandemic will be with us for a while yet. From international travel being harder to wobbling consumer confidence and the affect on retail.
An issue which is only growing in awareness and importance, sustainability will continue to be high on the agenda as a wider industry trend for 2022. New research from The Insights Family found that ‘purpose first’ is becoming a key factor for parents when buying products for their children, and this could see companies switch their marketing strategies to better convey their sustainability credentials. Products of Change will also continue to bring the industry together and drive it forward with a number of initiatives, one of which will be the first in-person Sustainability in Licensing Conference which is due to take place at the Royal Geographical Society on 22 June, 2022.
2022 is a bumper year for key anniversaries from some major brands, with special edition merchandise, events and experiential activity all part of the plans. Just a few to keep an eye out for include Peter Rabbit (120), Teletubbies (25), In the Night Garden (15), Care Bears (40), E.T. (40), Shaun the Sheep (15), Legally Blonde (21) and Rocky (45).
The live and experiential events space was badly hit by the Covid restrictions, but last year saw a number of new immersive experiences launch. These included Monopoly Lifesized in London and Doctor Who: Time Fracture, which was dubbed a ‘groundbreaking immersive theatrical experience’. Immersive Everywhere is also currently readying Peaky Blinders: The Rise, due to open in London this summer.
2022 Winter Olympics
The XXIV Olympic Winter Games – more commonly known as Beijing 2022 – will take place from 4-20 February in Beijing and towns in the neighbouring Hebei province in the People’s Republic of China. For Team GB, medal hopes include Bruce Mouat (curling), Katie Ormerod (snowboarding), Kirsty Muir (freestyle skiing), Charlotte Bankes (snowboard-cross) and Lamin Deen (bobsleigh).
Box office blockbusters
2022 will finally see a number of movies which have had their release dates pushed back due to Covid hit the big screen. The heavyweight release schedule includes Robert Pattinson’s debut as the Caped Crusader in The Batman, Downton Abbey: A New Era, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, DC League of Super-Pets, Top Gun: Maverick, Jurassic World: Dominion, Lightyear, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, Minions: The Rise of Gru and Thor: Love and Thunder to name a few.
Beatrix Potter: Drawn to Nature at the V&A
Opening on 12 February, this new exhibition will celebrate the life and work of one of the best-loved children’s authors of the 20th century. In collaboration with the National Trust, the family friendly exhibition will take visitors on a journey to discover Beatrix’s life as a scientist and conservationist, exploring the places and animals that inspired her most beloved characters.
The continued rise of the ‘Kiddult’
The kiddult market – adult fans of what are traditionally seen as children’s pastimes – has been steadily growing for a number of years. Perhaps originally brought into the public consciousness by adult LEGO fans, it expands to all elements of pop culture with companies benefiting in the licensing space including the likes of Funko and Pokémon.
The Light Fund English Channel Relay Swim
The English Channel Relay Swim will be taking place between 30 June and 3 July, 2022, and will see two teams of industry executives race each other in order to raise funds for the charity. The mixed teams are of variable swimming ability and will be captained by two experienced open water swimmers, all from the licensing industry. Training has been significantly ramping up as each month passes (which you can read all about in the monthly blogs on LicensingSource from the swimmers themselves). To find out more on the challenge, and how you can support it, by clicking here.
UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022
All eyes will be on the Lionesses at the Women’s Euros this summer. The tournament kicks off at Old Trafford on 6 July and will comprise 31 matches. Hosts England will be joined by 15 other nations in a bid to lift the trophy at Wembley on 31 July. Women’s football is a growth area for licensing, so the tournament should certainly prove to be worth a watch both on and off the pitch.
Rugby League World Cup
Postponed from its original 2021 timeframe, the Rugby League World Cup will run from 15 October to 19 November, 2022. Staged in the UK – with the final showpiece weekend taking place at Manchester’s Old Trafford – the event already has a robust licensing programme in place with more no doubt to come as the year progresses.
Licensing Expo 2022
Licensing Expo is set to return in-person to the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas this year, running from 24-26 May 2022. The event will also have a theme for the first time, focusing on location-based live experiences. You can check out more in the video below.
Brand Licensing Europe 2022
After a successful return to London’s ExCeL last year, BLE will this year run from 20-22 September. Plans are already underway and stay tuned for further announcements through the first part of 2022.
Bricks and mortar brand experiences
With online retail having surged ahead due to the pandemic, it’s fair to say that bricks and mortar has some ground to make up. Expect to see more pop-up experiences launching (Event Merchandising is one to watch here), as well as activations in shopping centres from Rainbow Productions and the licensors it works with, as physical retail looks to put some ‘oomph’ back into the high street in 2022.
Retailers to watch
Continuing on the retail theme, those which have considerably upped their licensing game over the past 12 months – and should continue to do so in 2022 – include Iceland, B&M and Studio.com. Meanwhile, Character.com, Missguided, H&M, George @ Asda and The Hut Group continue to make ambitious moves with collaborations and sustainability initiatives, while Primark continues its bounceback from the 2020-21 lockdowns. Plus, of course, all eyes are on the return of Toys R Us to the UK…
One of the trends to emerge strongly from 2021, NFTs – non fungible tokens – will continue to add a new dimension to licensed collectables and the industry in general. Indeed, it is likely to be a major talking point in 2022, along with…
If you don’t know what it is, find out quickly, because you’re going to need to know.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
The first World Cup ever to be held in the Arab world, the 2022 World Cup will run from 21 November to 18 December. Could it be a case of ‘Football’s Coming Home’ for Christmas?
Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2022
Back in its usual spring slot for 2022, this year’s Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards will take place on Wednesday 27 April at the Hilton, Park Lane. The awards will be open for entries shortly, with a closing date of Tuesday 8 March. Keep an eye on LicensingSource – or the official B&LLAs website – later this month for further details.
The Licensing Awards 2022
Mark Tuesday 13 September in your diary and keep your eyes peeled for further details…