Licensed toys account for 30% of UK sales

With several blockbuster movies set to launch this summer, The NPD Group has looked at the links between the big screen and toy sales and concluded that 2022 could be the year of the ‘blockbuster’ toy.

Licensed toys account for 30% of all sales this year, their highest level since 2008. By remaining relatively flat at -1%, licensed toy sales have out-performed non-licensed toy sales which are currently down -11% in value (Year-to-date May 2022 vs the same period last year). The largest licences this year are Star Wars, Harry Potter and Minecraft, with content including movies, streaming shows and video games.

The big screen is back

Three of the most anticipated films of the year are released during June and July: Jurassic World Dominion (released 10 June), Lightyear (released 17 June) and Minions: The Rise of Gru (released 1 July).

Melissa Symonds, NPD’s Executive Director of UK Toys, says: “We’ve already seen strong growth from movie releases this year such as The Batman driving toy sales up 84%, and Marvel Universe up 12%. Even ahead of their film launches, the Jurassic World toy license is up 63% and Minions up 79% so far this year. While prices and the cost of living pose a real-world challenge, cinema can provide an escape from everyday life. By buying toys related to the film they’ve just seen, kids can live in that world a little longer.”

Additionally, most of the big studios have implemented a multi-channel strategy that allows them to offer new content to fans continuously, instead of being restricted by one big movie release every three years.

“Many of these summer blockbusters have additional content available. There are series available on video-on-demand platforms such as Camp Cretaceous for the Jurassic saga, or Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi, not to mention the various Marvel streaming shows such as Ms. Marvel and Moon Knight developed around the lesser-known characters which enrich and extend the appeal of the franchises,” comments Symonds.

The top five movie properties YTD May 2022*
1.       Star Wars
2.       Marvel Universe
3.       Barbie
4.       Pokémon
5.       Paw Patrol
Source: The NPD Group

A record year for licenses for UK Toys

Symonds concludes: “2022 looks set to be a record year for licensed toys. With the big screen making a comeback, all eyes are on the summer blockbuster movies, but we also expect to see non-cinema licensed content performing as a powerful catalyst for the toy market thanks to TV, YouTube, subscription video-on-demand and video games. This should bring us one or two points of growth over the whole year.”


About Tessa Clayton

A former Chief Sub of Red magazine, Tessa Clayton is the Digital Editor of and ToyNews. As a freelance journalist she specialised in writing about parenting and family life, and has contributed to a wide variety of publications and websites including Tesco online, Mother & Baby, Livingetc, Junior, Boots Health & Beauty, Practical Parenting and Get in touch at

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