The exclusive Top 125 Global Licensors annual report provides a valuable statistical perspective on the size of the brand-licensing sector based on retail sales, as well as valuable insights with regard to new properties, trends and innovative initiatives for many of world's most popular and recognizable brands.
The Top 125 Global Licensors (which begins as a special section sponsored by EisnerAmper) accounted for more than $192 billion in retail sales of licensed products worldwide in 2011, with 50 licensors reporting retail sales of $1 billion or more. The Top 125, plus 10 additional "up and coming" licensors included in this year's report, provide a multitude of examples of just how popular licensed products are among consumers of any culture.
Whether it's the popularity of properties from perennial No. 1 licensor Disney Consumer Products, which now also includes Marvel Entertainment and represents $37.5 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise, or the sweetness of Jelly Belly Candy, represented by The Licensing Company and on the list for the first time with $30 million in retail sales, the demand for brand extensions is as strong as ever. This demand comes from the world's largest retailers–the majority of which understand the value of licensed products, how these products drive traffic to stores and how much consumers want them.
In fact, the Top 125 Global Licensors represent almost 5 percent of the $3.94 trillion in aggregate sales of the Top 250 Global Retailers in 2011, published by the National Retail Federation and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. The Top 250 posted a 5.3 percent increase in sales over 2010.
Twenty new licensors have been added to this year's expanded list, representing $10.5 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide. They include:
- Four billion-dollar licensors: Procter & Gamble, Weight Watchers, National Hockey League and U.S. Polo Association.
- Nine entertainment licensors: Disney ABC Television Group, Toei Animation, Shine 360°, Studio 100, C3 Entertainment, ESPN, Mind Candy, HGTV and DHX Wildbrain.
- Four CPG companies: PepsiCo, Reynolds, Anheuser-Busch and Jelly Belly.
- Plus Art Impressions, MHS Licensing and RAC, the U.K.'s auto organization.
These licensors represent dozens of properties from well-known food and beverage brands, to classic TV shows, to new apps that have grown significantly over the past few years. Consider the brand extensions for CPG companies: P&G's brands; PepsiCo's apparel programs for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Mountain Dew created by The Joester Loria Group; Reynolds' Hefty brand extensions created by EMI; and Anheuser-Bush's portfolio handled by TLC. Here are just a few examples from entertainment licensors: Disney ABC's shows including "Once Upon A Time," "Wipeout," "The Chew," "Revenge," "Dancing with the Stars" and "Castle;" Shine 360°'s "Master Chef" and "The Biggest Loser;" C3 Entertainment's The Three Stooges, which debuted in theatres last month; ESPN's popular X Games handled by IMG Licensing; Mind Candy, which created Moshi Monsters just a few years ago; HGTV, which is quickly growing brand extensions (through Beanstalk) similar to other Scripps brands (Food Network) handled by Brandgenuity; DHX Wildbrain, home to "Yo Gabba Gabba!," "Rastamouse," and the new venture, Umigo; and the lifestyle brand So So Happy from Art Impressions.
There are just too many innovative brand extensions to name in detail here, and that's why the Top 125 report is 32-pages. Even that is not enough space.
It's only fitting that one of the most successful global licensors, kathy ireland Worldwide, which ranked No. 25 with $2 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise, is featured on the cover of this issue. The former supermodel turned brand guru exemplifies the characteristics that drive so many successful businesses–entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, consistency, partnership and staying power.