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Global sales of licensed goods up 4.5% to US$292.8 billion

Sixth consecutive year of growth in 2019 sets solid foundation for industry ahead of pandemic, says Licensing International’s annual survey.

Global sales revenue of licensed merchandise and services grew to $292.8 billion in 2019, a 4.5% increase over the $280.3 billion generated in 2018, according to topline results of the 6th Annual Global Licensing Survey, released today (June 8) by Licensing International.

The 4.5% growth is the largest percentage increase for the industry during that period.

The report shows that the licensing industry entered 2020 with a strong and profitable business model – boding well for the sector, as the world economy begins to work its way out of the shockwave that interrupted commerce for all but essential goods when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March.

Licensing International commissioned Brandar Consulting  to conduct the survey for the sixth straight year. The results have shown steady growth year-over-year, with a 19% increase in sales and related revenue over the course of the six years the survey has been conducted.

The entertainment/character sector remained the leading market share category by far, accounting for $128.3 billion, or 43.8% of the total global licensing market.

The second largest sector was corporate brands with $60.1 billion (20.5%), slightly down from 2018 (21%) due to below market growth. Fashion followed with $33.8 billion (11.5 percent) and sports ($28.9 billion, 10%) rounded out the top four.

Apparel (15.1%), toys (12.2%) and fashion accessories (11.9%) continued to lead in the breakdown by product category, with both accessories (+8.0%) and apparel (+5.1%) showing strong above market growth and share gain. Retail sales of licensed toys and games showed slight growth of 1.2% – below the overall industry rate.


The fastest growing sectors in 2019 were Art (+10.0%) and Non-Profit (18.0%). Strong growth in Art came in part from rapidly growing print-on-demand companies and online ‘maker markets’ licensees, such as Etsy.

Much of the growth in the Non-Profit space came from not-for-profits seizing licensing as a way to generate much-needed funds at a time when contributions are under pressure.

The US and Canada held strong at 58% of worldwide consumption of licensed goods and services with $169.7 billion (up 4.5% from 2018), while the Northern Asia and Southern Asia/Pacific markets experienced the strongest year-over-year increases in the licensing business, each showing growth of more than 5% for the year.


“The 2020 Global Licensing Survey underlines the continued growth of licensing in both developed and growth markets, as well as in both historically big and small categories,” said Maura Regan, president of Licensing International. “The numbers also illustrate the solid foundation that the licensing business model offers to businesses of all sorts as they work through the impacts of coronavirus this year and eagerly await the ‘next normal’ we all will face.”

The complete report, including regional and country-by-country breakdowns for major markets, will be made available free to all Licensing International members this summer.

Non-members will be able to purchase the survey for $975 at

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