NPD Group says movies are vital for toy industry

Published on: 29th May 2015

Sales of movie-related toys this year to 2nd May represents 14% of the total market, an increase of 55% year-on-year and doubling since the same period in 2013.

npd2015 looks set to be another strong year with the biggest numbers expected from summer releases of the Minions Movie and the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode VII. Disney’s retail event May the fourth be with you boosted sales by 25% in the week prior to the event. The NPD Group expects Star Wars VII toy sales to be the biggest seen. This would be a significant achievement, given Frozen’s record of £76M in toy sales at retail.

Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst with The NPD Group, says: “As well as launching new characters, the Hollywood studios have expertly turned their top franchises into sequels. These are less risky than brand new franchises for retailers, and often benefit from greater exposure as buyers know what level of business to expect. Star Wars has always been a favourite with kids and adults alike and so we expect this movie to be a hugely important driver of toy sales in the crucial last quarter of the year.”

The NPD Group believes that increasingly for kids and toys, content is the Holy Grail. With its short-form videos and ease of use, kids are enjoying sharing and creating content on YouTube. Accessing cartoons, films and videos on tablets through TV channels like Nickelodeon and subscription services like Netflix means kids can watch and engage with characters when they want to. TV channels, Hollywood studios and filmmakers are adapting to this changing media landscape where children are in control of what they watch and when they watch it.

Short videos of popular toy properties such as Shopkins and Lego City are achieving huge global viewing figures, some in the region of 12 million. Tutt believes this contributes to the uplift in toy sales for some brands and is now an integrated part of marketing to kids for the major brands.

He commented: “Kids’ interaction with characters on screens drives demand and desirability for them to own the toys and play with them in the real world too. Properties with content including TV cartoons, webisodes, and digital games represented 37% of global toy sales in 2014, and properties with content saw a 13% increase in sales – while those without did not experience year-to-year sales growth.”


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