This ad will be closed automatically in X seconds.

20 licensing talking points for 2020

From Brexit to Meet Vincent Van Gogh, Source lists 20 things which will have an impact on licensing this year.

It’s a New Year and with it come new opportunities – for licensors, licensees and retailers alike.

Following on from December’s general election, there will be hopes that the uncertainty that has surrounded a number of issues will slowly begin to dissipate, leaving the way clear for businesses to begin building once more.

Source has put together 20 talking points for the licensing business in 2020 – from Brexit and the US elections, through to key trade shows, anniversaries, trends and major sports events, all of which will have an impact on our industry.


Boris Johnson has promised to ‘get Brexit done’ by January 31 and all eyes are on whether, this time, he actually makes good on it. A no deal would have a huge impact on import/export trade duty, with the potential to significantly harm numbers of manufacturers across sectors.

The impact of the UK general election

What will the Conservative party do for business to kick start the high street and get people spending at key times? December saw a modest sales growth of 0.7%, according to BDO’s latest monthly High Street Tracker and the first couple of months of 2020 are likely to be difficult. In addition, the rise in the minimum wage for retailers could also see a further squeeze on margins.

The US Presidential election

Set for Tuesday November 3, Donald Trump heads into his campaign to be elected for the second time awaiting trial in the Senate to become only the third US President in history to be impeached. A major moment in world politics and will certainly impact on our business when it comes to things such as trade deals, tariffs and more.

Monopoly is celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2020.
Monopoly is celebrating its 85th anniversary in 2020.


Likely to be the major trend for 2020, expect to see sustainability and environmentally friendly product, packaging and more being a key focus at upcoming fairs and at retail. There won’t be any major changes overnight, but small steps are being taken throughout all areas of the licensing industry.

Mergers and acquisitions

It was confirmed last week that Hasbro has completed the $3.8 billion acquisition of eOne, while the merger of Viacom and CBS was completed in December 2019, with the CP arm now known as ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

Milestone anniversaries

A number of brands will be celebrating major anniversaries throughout 2020, with special edition merchandise, events and experiential activity all part of the plans. Thomas & Friends celebrates 75 years, Peanuts hits 70, 1990’s pop culture icon Clueless celebrates its 25th, Rubik’s and Spot hit the big 4-0, Miffy is still marvellous at 65, Sanrio is 60, while Monopoly is an impressive 85.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games span July 24 to September 6.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games span July 24 to September 6.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games

The 2020 Olympic Games runs from July 24 to August 9, with the Paralympic Games taking place from August 25 to September 6. A total of 33 Olympic sports and 22 Paralympic sports will be contested during the Tokyo 2020 Games. A host of licensing opportunities abound.

Euro 2020

Running from June 12 to July 12, the tournament is due to be held in 12 cities in 12 UEFA countries to celebrate the 60th birthday of the European Championship competition. London’s Wembley Stadium will host the semi-finals and the final, so get set for football fever to take over the UK once again.

Primark’s licensing investment

The fast fashion retailer sees major opportunities to further grow its presence in the licensing business (see the upcoming spring 2020 edition of Licensing Source Book for full details) and has some significant plans for 2020 involving brands across the spectrum.

Where better to celebrate a 40th birthday than Las Vegas? Licensing Expo hits the milestone in May.
Where better to celebrate a 40th birthday than Las Vegas? Licensing Expo hits the milestone in May.

Licensing Expo @ 40

Licensing Expo will be marking 40 years when it returns to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from May 19-21. Plans are currently underwraps but expect special celebratory activity.

Brand Licensing Europe 2020

The show returns to London’s ExCeL for the second year – marking what could be seen as the ‘difficult second album’ phase. However, the team has listened to feedback received from last year, so expect this to be acted on and the quirks experienced during the first year in East London to be ironed out.

Alice in Wonderland at the V&A

The V&A’s landmark exhibition in 2020 – Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser – will celebrate one of the most iconic, imaginative and inspiring stories of all time. The exhibition – which opens on June 27, 2020 and runs until January 10, 2021 – will explore Alice in Wonderland’s origins, adaptations and reinventions over 158 years, charting its evolution from manuscript to a global phenomenon. Expect another sell out run.

Meet Vincent Van Gogh will arrive on London's Southbank from February 7 to May 21.
Meet Vincent Van Gogh will arrive on London's Southbank from February 7 to May 21.

The UK launch of Disney+

The eagerly anticipated streaming service will arrive in the UK (as well as France, Germany, Italy and Spain) on March 31. It will offer 500 films and 7,500 episodes of library TV when it arrives in western Europe across Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Fox and National Geographic. Original movies, specials and series to be offered at launch will include The Mandalorian, the hotly tipped Star Wars spin off which has already set the US alight.

Meet Vincent Van Gogh Experience

Taking place on London’s Southbank from February 7 to May 21, Meet Vincent Van Gogh gives art fans the chance to step into some of his most famous paintings. The immersive exhibition – created by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – has already been a hit in Barcelona and Seoul , with visitors being able to study his techniques, materials and tools, as well as create their own self portrait in a Van Gogh style. You can even pull up a chair at the Potato Eaters’ table and perch on Van Gogh’s bed.

The continued rise of gaming and esports

With new consoles from both Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation mooted, plus the continued growth of esports and how it can be monetised in the CP space, this category will only expand further throughout 2020.

James Bond is back in No Time to Die in April.
James Bond is back in No Time to Die in April.

Box office blockbusters

From the return of James Bond and Maverick, through to Sonic, Trolls and another clutch of superhero outings, 2020 should be another bumper year at the cinema… and this should, in turn, translate into CP sales across a raft of categories.

The Light Fund

The industry charity has now raised and donated over £1.5 million to good causes since its inception and 2020 will see it edging ever closer to that £2 million milestone. The popular Golf Day is already dated (June 18) and expect confirmation shortly on a number of other fundraising events.

Live events and experiential activity

Over the last few years this has been a category of the business which has significantly taken off. From live tours to sculpture trails, through to in-store activity with major retailers and standalone pop-up shops, IP owners have embraced bringing their brands to life and into the hands of even more fans.

The Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards return on April 29.
The Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards return on April 29.

The Brand & Lifestyle Licensing Awards 2020

Returning for its fifth year on Wednesday April 29, the B&LLAs 2020 will once again celebrate the innovation and growth in brand licensed merchandise and IP management, as well as retail execution. Entries are open now… you have until Friday February 28.

The Licensing Awards 2020

Mark Wednesday September 9 in your diary and keep your eyes peeled for further details…

Want to read more news like this? Simply sign up to our daily digest by clicking here. You can also follow @LicensingSource on Twitter.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group is significantly ramping up its licensing ambitions - welcoming experienced consumer products executive, Libby Grant to the role of chief commercial officer....
The retailer is planning to open four new stores in four new cities, alongside extending its popular Colombo store in Lisbon....
The deal - brokered between Blonde Sheep Licensing and Louis Kennedy - covers six pin badge designs....
The family friendly games publisher is teaming up with Dr. Seuss Enterprises on a special physical update holiday edition of The Grinch: Christmas Adventures....
The new structure sees a number of promotions including Keith Taperell at Bravado UK becoming vp of licensing....
The new pop-up shop will give fans an opportunity to purchase a variety of synonymous products seen on screen including the iconic water bottles for a four-week period at Bluewater Shopping Centre from 25 June....
Get the latest news sent to your inbox
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

The list doesn't exist! Make sure you have imported the list on the 'Manage List Forms' page.