Toy sales in the sector’s five largest European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) grew by 4% in 2014, according to market research company the NPD Group.
Toy Industries of Europe’s (TIE) Director General, Catherine Van Reeth, noted that this outcome was particularly exciting considering it comes after a flat performance was recorded in 2013.
Of these five markets, NPD data shows that Germany experienced the largest growth (+6%) in sales. Although Italy had the lowest growth among the five largest EU markets (1%), this was quite a turnaround after a drop of over 3% in toy sales in 2013.
Toy sales in the five main markets reached a record high of around €11.9 billion in 2014, based on NPD calculations. This represents an increase of over 4% on the previous year. The UK remained the largest market last year, followed by France and Germany.
Growth in 2014 was boosted by the loom band craze, which was responsible for around 30% of the growth in the five main EU markets, and the World Cup as well as strong licensing linked to movies including Frozen.
Furby Boom from Hasbro was the favourite toy in two of the five main markets last year: Italy and Spain. In Germany, LEGO Technic’s Volvo wheel loader was the top toy, while a VTech tablet and the LeapPad Explorer were number one in France and the UK respectively.
In terms of toy categories, building sets and arts and crafts products performed very well in 2014. Infant and preschool toys did not do so well, which in the NPD group’s view is most likely due to the fact that toy tablets have reached their peak.
Online sales up
According to NPD, toys are increasingly being purchased online: one quarter of all toys was bought online in the five major markets in 2014.
NPD analysts are anticipating another good year for 2015. While the industry will not be able to rely on loom bands or the World Cup this year, product innovation and a strong line-up of movies including the next instalment Star Wars are likely to provide plenty of enjoyment for children and the market is expected to increase by up to 2%.
This article is based on information provided by the NPD Group.