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Big name movies driving licensed toy sales, says NPD

Sales of licensed toys are at their highest since 2008, new data from NPD has shown.

Licensed toys account for 30% of all sales this year, NPD confirmed today (16 June). By remaining relatively flat at -1%, licensed toy sales have out-performed non-licensed toy sales which are currently down -11% in value (Year to date May 2022 vs the same period last year). The largest licences this year are Star Wars, Harry Potter and Minecraft with content including movies, streaming shows and video games.

Big name movies have also helped to drive up sales further – with this trend set to continue thanks to the arrival of Jurassic World: Dominion, Lightyear and Minions: The Rise of Gru.

“We’ve already seen strong growth from movie releases this year such as The Batman driving toy sales up +84%, and Marvel Universe up +12%,” commented Melissa Symonds, executive director at NPD. “Even ahead of their film launches, the Jurassic World toy license is up +63% and Minions up +79% so far this year. While prices and the cost of living pose a real-world challenge, cinema can provide an escape from everyday life. By buying toys related to the film they’ve just seen, kids can live in that world a little longer.”

In addition, the multi-channel strategy implemented by most of the big studios allows them to offer new content to fans continuously, instead of being restricted by one big movie release every three years.

Melissa continued: “Many of these summer blockbusters have additional content available. There are series available on video-on-demand platforms such as Camp Cretaceous for the Jurassic saga, or Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, not to mention the various Marvel streaming shows such as Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight developed around the lesser-known characters which enrich and extend the appeal of the franchises.”

The top five movie properties YTD (May 2022) are:

  1. Star Wars
  2. Marvel Universe
  3. Barbie
  4. Pokémon
  5. PAW Patrol


Melissa concluded: “2022 looks set to be a record year for licensed toys. With the big screen making a comeback, all eyes are on the summer blockbuster movies, but we also expect to see non-cinema licensed content performing as a powerful catalyst for the toy market thanks to TV, YouTube, subscription video on demand and video games. This should bring us one or two points of growth over the whole year.”

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