This year’s somewhat different awards reflect the unique and challenging trading conditions seen in 2020, and honour those companies that have kept UK families happy and entertained during the pandemic.
Toy suppliers and retailers played a major part in keeping the nation’s children smiling, entertained, healthy and educated in 2020, resulting in a 5% increase in overall toy sales in a year heavily impacted by Covid-19.
Four outstanding categories played a big part in delivering this growth, all of which have outperformed the overall market. As such, the Toy Retailer’s Association selection panel has highlighted a ‘winner’ in each of these categories, recognised for offering the largest overall contribution to each category in a unique year for the industry.
Games & Puzzles was a key performer in the overall market. This category topped the YOY growth performance with various suppliers driving this increase, including Orchard Toys, Gibsons Games, Asmodee, Hasbro and Tomy (Drumond Park). However, the panel has chosen Ravensburger as its standout performer in this category.
Speaking to Toy World, Tim Hall, managing director of Ravensburger, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to hear we are a 2020 Toy of the Year winner. We were delighted to finish in the top 10 toy suppliers according to NPD and especially pleased to grow with nearly every customer. This news really is the icing on the cake, and I would like to thank the entire Ravensburger team in UK and Europe, together with our trade partners and licensors for making this possible during the most challenging trading period many of us have ever experienced.”
Building and Construction is an area dominated by one supplier, notes the TRA, although Hornby’s Airfix range added a different dimension to this category, alongside notable new lines from Geomag and K’Nex. The winner in this category is Lego. Delivering remarkable growth consistently over the last 10 years, Lego has yet again outperformed the market and is to be commended for keeping the nation’s children (and kidults) entertained and amused throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns.
Marius Lang, UK & Ireland head of marketing at Lego, said: “We are proud that we were able to support children, families and adults through 2020 via creative play inspiration and pushing the boundaries of what traditionally was defined as a ‘construction toy’. Last year, we also launched into the Arts & Craft category with Lego Dots and Lego Arts, brought Super Mario fun to life in physical form with Lego bricks, and welcomed many new adult fans to engage in joyful focus through our more advanced builds. We‘re committed to the continued support and inspiration of families in new and innovative ways. We’ve just launched ‘Bygge Hygge’, encouraging families to embrace The Art of Cosy Building together and, looking ahead, have many exciting launches, plus much more, on the horizon.”
A category that benefitted from people having to stay at home, it was inevitable that growth would be achieved in Outdoor & Sports. Many products helped with our children’s mental and physical health, such as bicycles, trampolines and skateboards, as well as outdoor ranges from the likes of Little Tikes. The standout performer in this category was Mookie Toys, which has been recognised for its Swingball range.
Several suppliers contributed to making the Arts & Crafts category such a success in 2020, including Galt, Crayola, John Adams and Spin Master, plus many more. The winner in this category is Hasbro, which was recognised for its domination in the arts & crafts sector with its Play Doh brand.
Highly Commended certificates have also been awarded to the following companies: Bandai (for CoComelon), Character Options (Peppa Pig, Goo Jit Zu, Pokémon), Funrise (Fart Ninja), Golden Bear (Hey Duggee, Bing), MGA Entertainment (L.O.L. Surprise!), Mattel (Barbie, Hot Wheels, The Mandalorian), Spin Master (Paw Patrol), VTech (pre-school learning toys), and Zuru (5 Surprise Mini Brands).
Licences played a big part in the success of 2020. In addition to properties already mentioned, Frozen, Super Mario and Harry Potter continued to deliver throughout the year.
In a press release, The TRA said it sincerely hopes that normal service resumes in 2021. “[Then] we can revert to our customary criteria and identify the actual toy winners and allocate awards accordingly. In the meantime, we wish you all a successful and healthy 2021,” the statement added.