After a patchy few months in September and October, which saw the value of sales drop £8 million in each month from 2010, the UK experienced a minor improvement in Novmeber and a last minute surge in December which accounts for 5.7% of the UK’s total annual sales.
However, the data also revealed that even though the UK is still ranked as the number one toy market in Europe its dominance is ‘slipping’. Although the UK’s market grew, it dropped from % growth in 2010. Fance managed 5% growth and Germany 7% growth.
Jez Fraser-Hook, UK toy director for The NPD Group believes the UK toy market did well to recover after a slow start to 2011, stating: “After surprisingly negative trends over the summer, achieving 3% growth by the end of 2011 was a positive achievement for the toy market in the UK. It is also a good indicator that while 2012 will undoubtedly be a challenge, there is still potential for the market to grow.”
The NPD Group also shows that consumers faced with the economic crisis choose to buy toys for their close family, children and grandchildren, as opposed to friends.
The fastest growing toy categories in the UK for 2011 were: Building sets (+20%), Outdoor (+12%), Dolls (+8%) and Vehicles (+7%).
Jez Fraser-Hook concludes: “2012 will be a challenging year for the toy industry, partly due to the wider economy and partly due to the fact that the Cars, Star Wars and Moshi Monsters licenses were so successful in 2011 that they will be hard acts to follow. However we expect to see new and exciting launches for both the boys and girls markets this year. An array of super hero licences, combined with ranges crossing over from digital, along with a new mini world for girls should all help to sustain the UK toy market.”