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Toy-filled advent calendars proving a hit at retail

Harry Potter, Star Wars, Peppa Pig and L.O.L. Surprise among favourites, says NPD data.

Sales of toy-filled advent calendars are up 5% on 2018 based on sales to November 23, making the UK market worth £16 million per annum, according to new data from The NPD Group.

In the final month in the run up to Christmas, many children – and adults – will be finding a new toy every day in their advent calendar from favourite characters including Star Wars, Harry Potter, L.O.L. Surprise, Marvel and Playmobil. This is giving a welcome boost to the toy sector in the all-important ‘golden quarter’ of the year.

The LEGO Group has seized the advent-calendar opportunity. In the latest top ten to be released, The LEGO Group’s ranks four different versions among the top ten toy-based advent calendars to week ending November 23.

The Harry Potter Advent Calendar ranks first, followed by the CITY Advent Calendar in second and the Star Wars Advent Calendar at number four. LEGO Friends comes in eighth.

“Already established in France and Germany, the toy-based advent calendar trend has been a little slower to take off in the UK, but it’s now gathered momentum and shows no signs of abating,” explained Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst, toys at NPD. “One of the reasons sales are strong is that it’s not just children that are excited to open toy-filled advent calendars from December 1-24.

“Our research suggests that the ‘kidult’ population is helping to drive sales, with older children, teenagers, young adults and toy collectors treating themselves to a Harry Potter, Star Wars, Marvel or Fortnite toy-based advent calendar. With average prices in the top ten current bestsellers ranging from £15.07 for a Playmobil calendar to £29.34 for the Funko Pop! Harry Potter for 24 toys, this growing sector is providing a welcome revenue lift to the UK toy sector at a critical time of year.”


With less than three weeks to the big day, NPD’s latest sales figures for the week ending November 23 show that the popularity of L.O.L. Surprise remains high.

The brand has five placements in the top ten sellers including first, second, third and fourth positions for toys priced from £11.12 to £103.76.

In terms of the categories that are proving to be the most popular, sales of action figures and accessories are up 8% year on year mainly fuelled by Funko Pop!, Toy Story and Fortnite.

“As we get closer to Christmas day, we expect a positive impact on sales from the movie Frozen 2, so the top 10 we will release closest to Christmas will change as we see L.O.L. Surprise!, Frozen 2 and Games & Puzzles battle for the top spots,” added Frederique.

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