Despite an overall 2% decline for retail toy sales in the US in 2011, dollar sales of licensed toys increased by 2% and gained 1.2 dollar share points, according to market research company The NPD Group.
US retail sales of toys generated US$21.18 billion in 2011 compared to US$21.68 billion in 2010 and licensed toys represented 26% of total industry sales in 2011.
Consumers made purchasing trade-offs in 2011, meaning they purchased more higher-priced toys at the expense of mid- to lower-priced ones, says NPD.
In 2011, the average retail price for a licensed toy was 57% higher than that for non-licensed toys.
The top properties for 2011 based on total dollar sales (in alphabetical order) included Barbie, Cars: The Movie, Crayola, Disney Princess and Star Wars. Based on dollar sales, Cars: The Movie, Disney Princess, Star Wars, Thomas and Friends, and Toy Story topped the list of 2011′s bestselling licensed properties (in alphabetical order).
Switching to revenue sales performance across super categories, building sets and dolls experienced the largest growth at 23% and 7%, respectively. Vehicles rose 2%, but plush (-21%), games/puzzles (-8%), action figures/accessories/role play (-8%), and infant/preschool (-4%) categories experienced the most significant declines compared to 2010.
Consumers are still choosing mass merchants as their retailers of choice to purchase toys. Mass merchants captured the largest share of the total spend on toys (49%), while online channel sales were flat compared to 2010 in absolute dollar sales.