World beating franchises like Jurassic World, Marvel Universe and LOL Surprise are currently driving toy in the US, buoying a market that has seen a two per cent dip since the collapse of Toys R Us last year.
Licensed toys inspired by some of the past year’s biggest film franchises have helped keep sales strong amid what has been acknowledged as a challenging time for toy retail throughout 2018.
US retail sales of toys hit $21.6 billion in 2018, down two per cent from the $22 billion in sales in 2017, according to the latest figures from the NPD Group.
Sales performance is reported as mixed across super-categories in 2018 with just four – action figures, dolls, youth electronics and arts and crafts – showing growth out of the eleven.
Dolls had the most significant uptick in sales thanks to the success of LOL Surprise, barbie and Hatchimals. Meanwhile, action figures had the second highest growth with sales from Jurassic World, Marvel Universe and Beyblade driving revenue.
Youth electronics saw a boost thanks to Fingerlings, Kidi and LOL Surprise.
Much of the blame for the dip in sales figures has been placed at the now shuttered doors of Toys R Us, who, following its liquidation in the US last year, caused much speculation over what would happen to the toy industry without it.
“Some predicted double digit declines,” said Juli Lennett, vice president and industry advisor, toys, The NPD Group.
“Overall, a two per cent decline is a solid performance after such a significant shift in the retail landscape. It’s also worth noting that annual 2018 sales are slightly higher than in 2016, which experiences mid-single digit growth.”
Steve Pasierb, president and chief executive of The Toy Association has applauded the industry’s resilience in the wake of Toys R Us.
“Following four years of solid growth, US toymakers defied constant media pronouncements of doom and gloom linked to the demise of Toys R Us by instead delivering vastly better than expected results, which are consistent with The Toy Association’s view all year of a low single digit decline at worst,” he said.
“The energy, inventiveness and outright passion of toymakers and retailers has put the US market in an excellent position for a full recovery as we travel through 2019.”
Pasierb has stated that properties lead by LOL Surprise and licensed products from Jurassic World and Marvel Universe, along with further positive results from Fingerlings are among this year’s diverse products to keep consumers excited.
“Kudos to those who grew and all good wishes to everyone,” he concluded.