Key brands among UK toy market’s Christmas best sellers

L.O.L. Surprise, Nerf and LEGO Harry Potter among top ten according to NPD.

The top ten best selling toys in the UK in the run up to Christmas include a number of high profile licensed brands.

L.O.L. Surprise dominated the list – which is for the week ending December 8 and will be the last weekly sales data that will be published by NPD before Christmas.

The L.O.L. Surprise Doll Assortment was at number one, with Eye Spy Tots Under Wraps Blind Pack Assortment (three), Eye Spy Bigger Surprise (four) and Pearl Doll Assortment (seven) also included in the top ten.

In addition, the Nerf and Harry Potter brands also made an appearance.

Nerf Laser Ops Pro Alpha Point 2 Pack was at number two, with LEGO’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall at number five.

The full top ten is below:


Worth £1.2 billion, or 34% of annual sales, Christmas is a crucial time for retailers and toy manufacturers with £110 spent on each child on average, and the fortnight before Christmas usually accounts for 12% of annual toy sales.

The toy industry has not been immune from the challenges facing the retail sector this year, so the performance this Christmas sales period will be closely analysed.

“This year, Christmas Day falls on a Tuesday, and the last time that happened was in 2012,” said Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst for toys at NPD. “If Christmas sales then are a predictor of what will happen in 2018, we’ll have seen three weeks of solid sales figures up to the big day and record spend on the high street during the weekend before Christmas.

“The majority of toy sales are still made in a physical store at six in 10 (61%) of toys sold (YTD sales to December 1, 2018 vs same period in 2017), so we expect toy shops and stockists up and down the country to be busy up to the last minute.”

In addition, collectable sales are up 32% year on year since 2017 (source: The NPD Group consumer panel, 2017), with Pokémon, L.O.L. Surprise and football stickers all contributing. With an average price of around £4.80, they currently represent 14% of total sales in the market and account for one out of four toys sold.

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