Sales of traditional toys in the industry’s five largest European markets (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK) dropped 2% in 2012, according to the latest data published by the NPD Group. This was the first time the combined sales dropped in eight years. NPD links this decline to the lower contribution made by new toy launches last year compared to previous years. In the UK, for example, 31% of sales were generated by new products in 2012 – down 3% from the previous year. NPD notes that this does not mean that new products did not sell well in 2012. Some of the top sellers last year were new properties, such as Lego Friends and the digitally enhanced Furby. Frédérique Tutt, Global Toy Industry Analyst with The NPD Group, notes that this shows ‘the vital role innovation has in maintaining and growing the toy market’.According to the NPD’s estimates, the toy market in these five countries totalled approximately €7.5 billion in 2012. The UK was the largest market last year, followed by France, Germany, Italy and Spain.National differences are evident in terms of favourite toys, with each of the five major markets having a different top seller in 2012. However, InnoTab’s VTech tablet was the top selling toy across Europe, with over half a million units sold. Ms Tutt adds that the success of pre-school tablets shows that ‘when the product is appealing, parents are prepared to pay more money despite the current challenging economic climate’.This article is based on a press release issued by The NPD Group on 22 January 2013.