First it was deemed the most-played app by kids worldwide, and now the Angry Birds Star Wars collaboration has been named by research firm The NPD Group as the best new toy license in major European toy markets this year. Numbers from the first half of this year are signaling the inroads digital IPs have made within the toy licensing industry.
According to data up to July 2013, sales of Angry Birds Star Wars toys were US$8.6 million, ahead of Skylanders at US$6.5 million and Monsters University at US$4.7 million. Angry Birds Star Wars also become the number one license in the board games category.
Together, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and the 12th biggest overall in the UK. That’s compared to last year, when Angry Birds alone ranked 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.
The original Angry Birds sold US$6.8 million worth of toys in the first seven months of 2012 across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. That figure for the same seven month period this year has nearly doubled to US$13.1 million.
Brand extensions have been a popular and natural route for digital properties, but NPD data is revealing just how much impact the Star Wars partnership, first announced last year, is having on the Angry Birds franchise itself, which has seen sales rise 95% this year.
NPD predicts that the licensing of digital IP into the toy market will continue to have positive effects on the toy industry as a whole. For one, Hasbro’s Telepods action figure-integrated game based on Angry Birds Star Wars is taking Skylanders head-on.
However, while some digital licenses like Angry Birds are finding success, very few extend beyond the world of apps, and even fewer become top-selling toys. As of July, the total licensed toy market in Europe year to date was worth US$1.4 billion, a 7% dip from the same period a year earlier. However, the total toy market for the same period was roughly US$5.7 billion, up 1%.