The NPD Group reports on 2019 global toy sales

Published on: 20th February 2020

The top five selling toy properties across the G13 in 2019 were L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Marvel Universe, Hot Wheels and Nerf.

Toy industry sales decreased by 3% in 2019 across the 13 global markets (G13) tracked by The NPD Group. Overall, the industry performed better outside the United States, with Russia, Germany and Brazil up 5%, 3% and 2% respectively. LATAM sales increased 1% and European sales were down 2%.

The first six months of 2019 declined 6%, underperforming primarily due to comparisons to the Toys R Us liquidation sales in 2018 in large global markets; but the second half marked a clear improvement, declining only 1%.

In 2019, Action Figures & Accessories and Games/Puzzles were the two growth areas for the year, with respective growth of 14% and 3%, while Building Sets and Dolls out-performed the market. Action Figures (+11%), Action Figure Play sets & accessories (+21%), Action Figure Collectibles (+16%) and Battling Toys & Playsets (+41%) all contributed to the growth of Action Figures overall. Games/Puzzles showed strong resilience with Strategic Trading Card Games, Card Games, Family Strategy Games, Adult Puzzles and Adult Games all experiencing growth.

Of the top five selling toy properties across the G13 in 2019, L.O.L. Surprise! was the largest property, followed by Barbie, Marvel Universe, Hot Wheels, and Nerf. Overall growth was driven by entertainment properties with movie launches in 2019 such as Disney Frozen, Toy Story, Pokémon and The Lego Movie, as well as the video game licence, Fortnite.

“A 3% increase in licensed toys, driven by an unprecedented line-up of family movies, helped the market, especially during the second half of the year. The closures of major specialist chains had the most adverse effect on global toy sales. In those countries where a major chain closed down (US, UK, Australia, and Netherlands), sales were down 5% compared to 2018. Sales outside of those countries, however, were up 1% for the year,” said Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at The NPD Group. “The industry is preparing itself for 2020. In the US, we are pleased that the threat around tariffs for toys is no longer a concern, but we are now facing a potential industrial crisis with the coronavirus, which is having an impact on manufacturing in China. We hope the situation will improve very soon and we can get back to business as usual.”


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