Licensing for Retail Day attendees report on trends, challenges and more.

Jane Neal, Content Editor

March 12, 2024

4 Min Read
Licensing for Retail Day 2024 delegates
Licensing for Retail Day 2024 delegatesLicense Global

Last week, Licensing for Retail Day returned to Convene, London for its second year, welcoming 240 licensing professionals and a record number of 114 retailers. Over 60 members of the retail community – working across toys and entertainment, apparel, gifts and accessories, home goods and sports – were surveyed at Licensing for Retail Day.

Those surveyed revealed the percentage of their sales that are licensed or branded products:

  • 0-25%: (42% of respondents) 

  • 26-50%: (21%) 

  • 51-75%: (13%) 

  • 76-100%: (15%) 

  • Don’t Know: (6%) 

Of those surveyed, 52% noted that number of brand licensed consumer products on offer at their retail establishment will increase, while 28% will stay the same. Only 3% believed that stock intake to decrease, while the remaining 11% remained unsure of what will happen.

Many of the retailers are beginning to understand and appreciate the benefits of brand licensing, with 19% hoping to increase their percentage of product sales from licensed products. When asked about the benefits of brand licensing, 33% felt it could increase diversity in categories, while 26% said it helped with new customer acquisition and 19% cited increased customer loyalty.  

The survey also asked about brands retailers were most excited to possibly work with in the future. Although there was no clear winner, the 10 brands mentioned most frequently included Disney, Harry Potter, Hello Kitty, Netflix, Paddington, Peppa Pig, Squishmallows, Stitch, Transformers and Universal.

Related:Licensing for Retail: Making Brand Licensing Less About Risk and More About Reward

Watch: License Global at Licensing for Retail Day 2024

In a recent License Global story, “What’s Happening in U.K. Retail?,” one retail trend noted was that consumers are being more conscious about what they buy. Ian Downes, director, Start Licensing, and Sam Ferguson, senior vice president, Jazwares, both touched on this more conservative shopping trend and the need to find ways to entice consumers, often through brand licensing.

“More retailers seem interested in developing specific design looks when using licensed properties,” says Downes. “I think there is a growing feeling that consumers need some persuasion to shop for non-essentials. Licensing is increasingly acknowledged as a way of delivering footfall. Licensed brands bring a following with them. Exclusive design looks create a reason to shop particularly when those designs are developed in a thoughtful consumer-centric way. With our clients like the Ashmolean Museum and Edith Holden: A Country Diary, we are increasingly looking at providing distinct design executions to retailers and licensees to differentiate product ranges at retail.” 

Related:What’s Happening in U.K. Retail?

“We are anticipating a challenging year at retail, across the market,” says Ferguson. “Consumer spending will continue to be more considered than ever, and we will work hard with all our partners to ensure we have the right offerings at the right price. That said, 2024 also brings great opportunities. As a licensor, Squishmallows is key. 2024 will be a massive year as we go deeper with placement, add partners and expand across Europe. We are laser-focused on Squishmallows as a global lifestyle brand with world-class licensee collaborations across fashion, gaming and lifestyle categories, adding to our illustrious portfolio of more than 70 best-in-class licensing partners, and we are excited to welcome more in the coming year. With Squishmallows, as we manage both the toys and the consumer products, we have a competitive edge as we can seamlessly collaborate with our partners on marketing, social, out-of-aisle opportunities and business intelligence. As a licensee and master toy partner, all our partnerships and brands will be hugely important in 2024. We bring IP to life like nobody else can and are excited about key launches in the year ahead.” 

Licensing for Retail Day brought together a variety of retailers and others eager to learn more about brand licensing and how to take their licensing programs to the next level.

The event itself also touched on consumer trends, kidult culture, the importance of fandom to consumers and an increased emphasis on family celebrations and milestones. One speaker, Rory Partis, director, U.K. toys and Euro toys, Circana, highlighted the untapped market potential of superheroes, sports and manga and anime. Ben Roberts, content director, EMEA, License Global spoke to the over-arching trends taking place in the consumer market that are driving activity in brand licensing, particularly in video games, food, fashion, fandom and kidult culture.

Read the full run-down from License Global’s Ian Hart for more insights from the Licensing for Retail Day event.

Read more retail licensing news and trends.

Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group launched Licensing for Retail in partnership with industry trade association, Licensing International.

About the Author(s)

Jane Neal

Content Editor, License Global

Jane Neal is a Content Editor for License Global. Working remotely in the great state of Wisconsin, Jane specializes in retail and pop-culture trends.

She has worked extensively in the communication field as a managing editor, advertising copywriter, technical writer and journalist. She detoured for several years into academia where she taught journalism, English and humanities at the college level.

A complete Marvel nerd, she enjoys food, films, fishing, friends and family … and alliteration.

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