U.K. Toy Sales Rose Nearly 6 Percent in 2015


LONDON: Sales in the U.K. toy market increased by 5.9 percent last year, according to data released by the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) and The NPD Group at this week’s Toy Fair in London.

The British toy industry is now valued at £3.2 billion ($4.6 billion), according to NPD, an increase of £150 million ($215 million) year on year. More than 58,000 new toys were launched in 2015, representing 31 percent of the U.K. toy sales or £1 billion ($1.4 billion) at retail. Growth was partially led by strong film licenses with Minions, Avengers, Jurassic World and Star Wars. Movie-related toy sales were up 27 percent (89 percent since 2013). The increase also includes the ongoing success of Disney’s Frozen, which was the number one toy license again last year.

On average, 38 toys per child were purchased in 2015. December accounted for 26 percent of annual toy sales. The strongest sectors for growth in the year were action figures, up 20 percent, and building sets and plush, both of which rose by 14 percent. The best-selling toy in the U.K. in 2015 was LEGO’s Mini Figures. Among the other top ten selling toys last year were Flair Preziosi’s Shopkins 2 Pack, LEGO Group’s Disney Frozen Elsa Sparkling Ice Castle, Hasbro’s Pie Face Game, Mookie Toys’s Smart Trike 4 in 1 Trike and Jakks Pacific’s Disney Frozen Sing Along with Elsa.

Natasha Crookes, the director of public affairs and communications at BTHA, remarked: “What a great year 2015 was for the U.K. toy industry. Some highly creative partnerships with major film properties were a significant driver of growth, but so too was the resurgence of traditional toys such as building sets and plush. It’s fantastic to see the innovation of the industry resulting in market growth and with more than a third of last year’s value driven by new product launches it goes to show how much our industry reinvents itself each year to keep toys and games interesting to children and families. Toy Fair is the perfect place to see all types of toys together under one roof and to start the process of picking the winners for 2016.”

Frederique Tutt, global toy industry analyst at The NPD Group, added: “What is interesting about the 2015 performance is the lasting endurance of traditional toys such as building sets and action figures. It’s also great to see the variety in the toy industry where a fun game like Pie Face went viral on the internet, alongside the increasing popularity of traditional collectables and the launch of exciting new toys from the movies—which included some of the best sellers of the year.”