Children’s entertainment licenses PAW Patrol, Super Mario, Harry Potter, and Star Wars have been among those praised by the Toy Retailers Association for the role they have played in helping the toy industry through a troubled 2020.
In this year’s Toy of the Year awards, reflective of the change of pace for the retail scene in general over the course of last year, a strong line-up of licensed product has been championed alongside some of the best performing companies to have fuelled the industry’s five per cent year on year sales increase.
In a change of approach to the usual Toy of the Year selection process, this year’s listing reflects the impact that the pandemic has had on the sector. Yet, while online sales have accounted for just under half of all toy sales of 2020, suppliers and retailers have still played a major role in keeping the nation’s children smiling.
Amid the uncertainty, there have been four outstanding categories which have played their part in delivering the industry’s growth, all of which have outperformed the overall market.
The TRA recognises that multiple suppliers have played an integral part in each of the categories, but the selection panel has decided to highlight a ‘winner’ in each of these categories to represent the largest overall contribution to the category in a unique year for the industry.
“This year, in keeping with the year we have just experienced, we decided to be total different in our approach,” Alan Simpson, chairman of the Toy Retailers Association, told ToyNews.
“When people look back at award winners in years to come, they will notice that 2020 was totally different. I believe that this was the correct approach to reflect the challenges we have all had to overcome.”
GAMES & PUZZLES
This was a key performer in the overall market. As well as helping educate and entertain children, this category topped the growth (year on year) performance with various suppliers driving this increase.
It was the like of Ravensburger, Orchard, Gibsons Games, Asmodee, Hasbro and Tomy (Drumond Park) that all performed superbly well throughout the year.
The panel has chosen RAVENSBURGER as its standout performer in this category.
BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION
This is an area dominated by one supplier, although Hornby with its Airfix range added a different dimension to this category with notable ranges from K’Nex and Geomag.
The winner in this category is LEGO. Delivering remarkable growth consistently over the last 10 years, LEGO has yet again outperformed the market and is to be commended for keeping the nation’s children (and kidults) entertained and amused throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns.
OUTDOOR & SPORTS
In a category that benefitted from people having to stay at home, it was inevitable that growth would be achieved in this area. Many products helped with our children’s mental and physical health – bicycles, trampolines, skateboards, as well as outdoor ranges from the likes of Little Tikes.
The standout performer in this category was MOOKIE TOYS for its swingball range.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Again, a variety of suppliers contributed to making this category such a success. These were Galt, Crayola, John Adams, and Spin Master with its Kinetic Sand, to name but a few.
The winner in this category is HASBRO for its domination in the arts and crafts sector through its Play Doh brand.
Many other suppliers contributed to the success of 2020 and the panel recognised the most notable listed below, with the reasons noted alongside. These will all receive a “Highly Commended” certificate this year.
BANDAI for its launch of the Cocomelon range.
CHARACTER OPTIONS for continued success with its Peppa Pig, Goo Jit Zu and Pokemon ranges
FUNRISE for its Fart Ninja line
GOLDEN BEAR for its Hey Duggee and Bing ranges
MGA ENTERTAINMENT for its L.O.L. Surprise! range
MATTEL for its success with its Barbie, Hot Wheels and Star Wars’ The Child ranges
SPIN MASTER for Paw Patrol
VTECH for its varied pre-school learning range
ZURU for the successful launch of its 5 Surprise Mini Brands range
Meanwhile, LICENSES continued to play a big part in 2020. In addition to licenses already mentioned, Frozen, Super Mario and Harry Potter continued to deliver throughout the year.
The TRA sincerely hopes that ‘normal service’ resumes in 2021 when we can revert to our customary criteria and identify the actual toy winners and allocating awards accordingly. In the meantime, we wish you all a successful and healthy 2021.