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Global toy sales see increase, vidgames take a slight tumble: NPD

Although it's been a tough year, global toy sales are holding up in spite of current economic conditions, according to industry researcher The NPD Group. Video game and hardware sales, however, continue on a downswing.
December 11, 2009

Although it’s been a tough year, global toy sales are holding up in spite of current economic conditions, according to industry researcher The NPD Group. Video game and hardware sales, however, continue on a downswing.

Port Washington, New York-based NPD looked at a cross-section of year-to-date (January to October) toy sales across 11 global markets, and found positive signs of growth leading up to the last two months of the calendar year.

With the exception of moderate revenue declines in the US and UK, and flat sales in Spain, all other countries analyzed saw growth when compared to the same time period last year. Poland, Australia, Italy, Austria, Belgium, and Portugal experienced respective revenue growth between 5% and 10%, while Germany and France posted growth of almost 5%.

Looking at performance in supercategories, action figures, accessories & role play, arts & crafts and building sets saw growth in nearly all countries measured. Youth electronics sales declined in 10 countries, while plush saw only modest upticks in Italy, Poland, and Australia. Dolls, games/puzzles and infant/preschool products had positive sales performances, and outdoor & sports toys saw more growth than decline.

On the video game side, November industry sales in the US declined 7.6% from last November to sit at US$2.69 billion, though NPD analyst Anita Frazier notes that year-to-date, the industry is still up 7% over 2007. (Record-breaking 2008 revenues appear to be a bit of an anomaly.) Revenues should break US$20 billion for the year. She remains positive that December sales will be up over last year by 11% as a result of ‘frugal fatigue’ in the last weeks of the holiday season.

Nintendo Wii sales are still going strong, moving 1.06 million units, while its DS handheld saw unit sales of 1.7 million in November. Not too far behind was the Xbox 360, selling 819,500 units and the PS3 selling 710,400 units in the same month.

The top-selling software list for November was dominated by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, but some family-friendly titles still managed to crack the top 10, with New Super Mario Bros. Wii (1.39 million) coming in at number three.

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