In the U.S., where the toy industry has been experiencing healthy gains overall, licensed toys grew 7 percent, or two times faster than the rest of the toy market in the 12 months ending in April (May 2014 to April 2015), according to global information company The NPD Group. Such a positive story for licensed toys can be told not only in the U.S., but around the globe.
Licensed toys, which during this time represented up to one-third of total toy sales in the top global toy markets tracked by NPD, experienced growth in many countries, with the exception of Italy.
"From Hollywood to the world of retail, licensing is an integral part of branding, marketing and sales on many levels," says Juli Lennett, senior vice president, U.S. toys division, The NPD Group. "Licensing fosters a multi-dimensional experience between consumers and the characters they know and love. For kids, such toys bring to life the relationship that's established on screen."
Represented in 39 different toy categories and having more than 300 different items on store shelves last year, Disney's Frozen was the big news story for the toy industry in 2014. The property captured the top spot overall and was the top gainer among all toy properties for the year based on absolute dollar growth, generating more than $500 million in the U.S. Upcoming releases in 2015 are likely to keep the licensing momentum going strong, at least through the remainder of the year.
"This year is positioned to be just as robust, if not stronger, particularly with the release of the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens," says Lennett. "Although the movie won't be released until December in the U.S., we are already seeing double-digit growth in classic Star Wars toys."