Figures revealed by The NPD Group at London’s Toy Fair this morning (24 January) show that licensed toys grew for the fourth consecutive year in 2022 – up by 5.5% – and now account for 31% of the market, the highest ever share.
2022 saw the top toy properties going to the classics Star Wars, Marvel Universe and Barbie, while the fastest growing went to Squishmallows and Jurassic World.
NPD also said that 2023 is set to be “a strong licensing year”.
“New licensed properties like Gabby’s Dollhouse and classics like Star Wars drove major sales throughout 2022,” commented Melissa Symonds, executive director, UK toys at The NPD Group. “With Disney celebrating their 100th anniversary and movie releases such as Barbie, Transformers and Super Mario, 2023 looks set to be another good year for licensed toys, an instrumental part of the UK toy industry.”
Overall, the challenging economic backdrop in 2022 saw UK toy sales decline 3% to £3.6 billion. It was also the traditional toy categories which helped to drive sales – plush, building sets, action figures and vehicles, with all four categories seeing positive growth during the year.
The best performing category of 2022, plush was up a significant 29% YOY.
The average selling price of a toy now stands at £10.54, while specialist toy and game retailers drove sales up in Q4. This is despite Christmas shoppers leaving present buying until the last minute in 2022, with week 51 up 15% on the previous year.
Kerri Atherton, head of public affairs at the BTHA, commented: “The UK toy industry has continued to deliver toys and games for consumers at affordable prices during 2022 among high levels of inflation, and a cost of living crisis.
“Last year, new product innovations were vital to driving sales in the UK toy industry which led to growth in the plush toy category. With a strong line-up of new releases for 2023, the UK toy industry has signs to be optimistic about the year ahead.”