Toy Industry grows 3% in 2011 – courtesy of NPD and ToyNews

26 Jan

Business shows resilience as construction toys, outdoor toys and dolls drive the market

Market statistics released this morning at Toy Fair highlight the UK toy industry’s resilience throughout 2011, with NPD reporting that sales increased by three per cent in value to achieve sales of £2.96 billion.

Figures from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor show that, while total UK retail sales grew by two per cent in 2011, non-food sales rose by a mere 0.2 per cent, which points to a relatively positive performance by the toy market.

A total of more than 384 million toys were sold during 2011. Of the ten super categories tracked by NPD, the three fastest growing in 2011 were Building Sets (+20 per cent), Outdoor (+12 per cent) and Dolls (+8 per cent).

Building sets have been a strong category over the last few years and saw the largest growth during 2011. Outdoor toys enjoyed success largely due to sales of sports equipment, ride-ons and summer seasonal toys. The strength of the category is indicative not only of the impact of sporting events and licenses, but of the value parents attach to active play. The rise in dolls sales is just one chapter in the success story of the girls’ category in recent years.

In the year to September 2011, sales of girls’ toys (which includes arts and crafts, dolls and plush) increased in value by four per cent* whilst boys’ toys increased by three per cent over the same period. They now account for 45 per cent of all toy sales (YTD September 2011) compared to 55 per cent for boys’ toys.

NPD track sales covering the ten super categories. Individual category breakdowns are as follows:

  • Building sets                            +20%
  • Outdoor and sports toys     +12%
  • Dolls                                             +8%
  • Vehicles                                      +7%
  • Infant and pre-school           +2%
  • Games and puzzles                 +1%
  • Arts and crafts                         flat
  • All other toys                           -6%
  • Plush                                           -10%
  • Action figures, accessories, active role play          -12%

Jez Fraser-Hook of the NPD Group has predicted: “2012 will continue to prove challenging for toy retailers with continued Government cuts, further drops in disposable income and the ongoing threat of job losses.”

However, statistics – supported by the 2011 figures announced today – illustrate how, even when facing difficult times, parents and grandparents will go without in order to ensure children don’t have to.

A spokesperson from the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) said: “2011 was an incredibly tough trading period for all areas of retail in the UK. By managing to grow in such difficult times, the UK toy industry has proved its resilience yet again. We are made of strong stuff. Strong stuff, plus creativity, innovation, imagination and the foresight to embrace opportunity; whether that opportunity lies in technology, licenses or real world events such as the Olympics, Euro 2012 or forthcoming family blockbusters such as Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black III and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which will all help to keep children’s interest in toys alive over the summer.”

The figures were unveiled at Toy Fair this week by show organisers the British Toy & Hobby Association. Toy Fair is the industry’s annual trade event currently taking place at Olympia in London and is open to the trade until Thursday.


Article courtesy of  ToyNews

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