Sales of licensed goods and services up 4.5% globally in 2019

Published on: 8th June 2020

The 6th Annual Global Licensing Survey revealed slight growth for Licensed Toys & Games.

Licensing International has released the results of its 6th Annual Global Licensing Survery, which show that global sales revenue of licensed merchandise and services grew to $292.8b in 2019, a 4.5% increase over the $280.3b generated in 2018.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, and its impact across all industries, the results of the survey indicate a strong start to 2020 for licensing. Covid-19 has also presented opportunities within the licensing space; families, for examples, have been turning to licensed puzzles and games for home entertainment, while the growing calls for face masks and coverings have been answered with a raft of products showcasing film or TV characters, fashion brands and artwork.

According to the survey, the entertainment/character sector remained the leading market share category by far, accounting for $128.3b or 43.8% of the total global licensing market. The second-largest sector was corporate brands with $60.1b (20.5%), slightly down from 2018 (21%) due to below market growth. Fashion followed with $33.8b (11.5%) and sports ($28.9b, 10%) rounded out the top four.

Apparel (15.1%), toys (12.2%) and fashion accessories (11.9%) continued to lead in the breakdown by product category, with both accessories (+8.0%) and apparel (+5.1%) showing strong above market growth and share gain. Retail sales of Licensed Toys & Games showed slight growth of 1.2% – well below the overall industry rate – which Licensing International posits is the results of the changing nature of childhood play in favour of online play and entertainment.

The US and Canada held strong at 58% of worldwide consumption of licensed goods and services worth $169.7b (up 4.5% from 2018), while the Northern Asia and Southern Asia/Pacific markets experienced the strongest year-over-year increases in licensing business, each showing growth of more than 5% for the year.

“The 2020 Global Licensing Survey underlines the continued growth of licensing in both developed and growth markets, as well as in both historically big and small categories,” said Licensing International president Maura Regan. “The numbers also illustrate the solid foundation that the licensing business model offers to businesses of all sorts as they work through the impacts of Coronavirus this year and eagerly await the ‘next normal’ we all will face.”

The complete report, including regional and country-by-country breakdowns for major markets, will be made available free to all Licensing International members this summer. Non-members will be able to purchase the survey for $975 at


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