Looking at the bestselling toys since the beginning of the year, NPD reveals that three products of the top five come from the Building Sets or Arts & Crafts categories.
Despite the high tech category still being the fastest-growing segment (+24% year-to-date June 2014), both the Art & Craft and the Building Sets categories are featuring significant sales increases at +16% and +21% respectively. This is driven by playground crazes such as Loom Bands and Lego minifigures. Frédérique Tutt, global toy industry analyst with The NPD Group, said: “We hadn’t seen such trends since at least 2011 and it is great news for the market as small purchases and impulse buys are on the rise again.”
Loom Bands are leading the return of collectables in the UK, epitomising the resistance of creativity and traditional play patterns against high tech and robotic toys. £9m worth of Loom Bands have been sold in the UK since the beginning of the year, with the first week of July holding the retail record to date with £1m sold in that week alone.
Similarly, with the launch of the Simpsons collection, the bestseller of the last three years, Lego minifigure blind bags are experiencing a new surge in sales. Sales are up by 52% compared to the same period last year.
25m toys, (mostly stickers) have been sold since the beginning of the year and the Panini 2014 FIFA World Cup Single pack is the bestselling toy across all categories.
The demand for Disney’s movie release Frozen is not showing any signs of slowing – toys derived from the latest Disney movie outsold all Disney princesses the first week of July with Mattel’s fashion doll Elsa a bestseller.
A market driven by fashion
Toy sales to date (w/c 5th July 2014) were up by 6% compared to the same period last year and the UK and France are currently the strongest performing markets in Europe. Frédérique Tutt added: “The UK market is renowned for being particularly receptive to new trends driven by the entertainment calendar. This year has been rich in events, from the World Cup, to strong film releases but it’s really the scale of new playground crazes that has been welcomed by the industry after a few years seeing consumers keeping rigidly to big occasions to buy new toys.”