NPD reveals how toy companies ensure collectibles become a hit

Published on: 21st September 2018

The NPD Group has revealed that despite a lower price tag, collectibles represent a significant slice of the UK toy market, both by volume and value.

Collectibles have been a mainstay of the toy market for years, but recently the category has been rebooted by manufacturers adding creative new elements to meet the demands of today’s savvy young toy collectors. Sales of collectibles increased by 29% in the first eight months of 2018 alone and by 156% since the same period in 2015. Key to success are unboxing, surprise, exclusivity, and a good sprinkling of social media shareability.

From football stickers to Shopkins, three in 10 toys sold in the UK between January and August – or 15% of total spend – were collectibles. L.O.L. Surprise! is not only the top-selling collectible, it’s also the number one selling toy overall, further highlighting the importance of this category to the toy market. And with an average price of £3.91, these toys are usually well within the budget of those relying on pocket-money to build their collection.

Top five best-selling collectible toys in the UK – January to August 2018
L.O.L. Surprise! – MGA Entertainment
FIFA World Soccer – Panini
Pokemon – Esdevium / Asmodée
Hatchimals – Spin Master
Shopkins – Flair Preziosi
Source: The NPD Group Retail Tracking Service – UK.

Frédérique Tutt, Toys global industry analyst, The NPD Group, commented: “With a sales increase of 156% in the last three years, it’s no wonder that toy manufacturers are keen to tap into the current popularity of collectibles, and they know it takes imagination and creativity to have a hit. Collectible ranges must tick a number of boxes if they are to appeal to today’s discerning collector, many of whom have grown up in the digital world. New launches are becoming increasingly innovative, incorporating elements such as unboxing, code-cracking and exclusivity. Some rate each toy as ‘common, rare or super-rare’, adding to the thrill of opening each new item purchased. It also provides another joy of collecting – swapping with friends and other enthusiasts.”


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