The U.K. takes the lead as European toy markets grow
According to a recent report from sales tracker NPD Eurotoys, the U.K. toy market grew by 5% in 2003 to finish at roughly US$4 billion for the year. Beyblade was the top-selling product for the second year in a row and probably helped drive Q4 sales, which were up 5.6% from Q4 2002. In fact, NPD Eurotoys says a full 53% of toy sales occurred between October and December. But a long, hot summer didn’t hurt either, bumping up outdoor and sports toy sell-through by 10%, with Mookie Toys’ Swingball winning top SKU honors in this category between April and August. Elsewhere in Europe, France’s toy industry finished up by 2.1%, and Italy’s market grew by 2.6%.
Hasbro and Mega Bloks report big gains in 2003
While the US$21-billion toy market remained flat, revenues at two North American toycos bucked that trend. Pawtucket, Rhode Island’s Hasbro had a good year on the international market. Sales outside of North America grew by 22% to US$1.2 billion, while the toyco’s worldwide revenues grew 11% to US$3.1 billion. Domestically, Hasbro’s U.S. toys division posted a healthy sales gain of 6.2% to US$1.1 billion, with Q4 sales growing 10.4% to US$319 million. Hasbro attributed this increase to strong performances from its Beyblade, Transformers, Playskool and VideoNow lines. Sales of standbys such as Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Twister showed that the toyco’s game unit had some retail muscle as well, pushing 2003 sales up by 9% to US$804 million.
Reporting a sizable 16% sales gain to achieve overall revenues of US$219 million, Montreal, Canada’s construction toyco Mega Bloks made even larger moves on the global scene. International net sales grew a whopping 44% to US$82 million and now account for 37% of the company’s total sales. Mega Bloks is citing its Q4 partnership with Bandai in the Japanese and Asian markets as a major factor behind its 2003 global success.