UK toy sales decrease in 2017

Published on: 24th January 2018

UK toy sales decreased by 2.8% in 2017 to £3.4b, a dip attributed to “Brexit, under-performing licences, and counterfeit toys.”

This is according to the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) and the NPD Group. The announcement, made at the 65th Toy Fair in London, follows three consecutive years of growth and a particularly strong year in 2016 and, despite the small decline, still positions the UK as the largest market in Europe.

Natasha Crookes, director of public affairs and communications for the BTHA, commented: “We are disappointed but not surprised by the contraction of the market from 2016’s exceptional performance. The increasing breadth and depth of counterfeit toys is a real concern, with over £400m worth of sales being lost to the industry, as well as the cost to companies from the theft of innovative design. 2017 was also a mixed year, with disappointments in some sectors but real success stories in others. Collectibles, for example, seem to be an unstoppable force within the industry.”

Collectibles grew by 17% in 2017 with brands such as Fingerlings dominating the must-have lists. The category was responsible for 9% of the overall value of the market and 19% of all units sold. Other strong sectors in 2017 were Doll Playsets, Pre-School Figures and Action Figures.

Frederique Tutt, global toy analyst for the NPD Group, added: “After three good years of growth for the UK toy industry, 2017 saw a decline as did other territories such as France and Australia. While licensed products are an integral part of the industry, across Europe it has been a sector that has under-performed – with the exception of PJ Masks, Cars 3. and Lego Batman.”

NPD has also released a list, found below, of the Top 10 Toys from 2017.

  • MGA Entertainment – L.O.L Surprise! Doll assortment
  • Spin Master – Paw Patrol Vehicle and Pup
  • Jazwares – Fingerlings Monkeys
  • The Lego Group – Batman the Movie Minifigures
  • VTech – Kidizoom Duo
  • Flair – Shopkins 2-pack Assortment
  • Anki – Cozmo
  • MGA Entertainment L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise Ball
  • Flair – Shopkins Shoppies Dolls Assortment
  • MGA Entertainment L.O.L. Surprise! Lil Sister Assortment


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