It looks like optimism is in the air as thousands of industry execs hit the show floor in Las Vegas this week for Licensing Expo. An annual survey from the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s (LIMA) reveals that licensing sales are on an upward trajectory for the third consecutive year.
The report, which falls in line with numbers released by The NPD Group this past April, finds an estimated US$5.655 billion in royalty revenues were accumulated in the US and Canada last year, translating to US$115.75 billion in retail sales. That’s an increase of 3.3% and 3.25%, respectively, above 2012 levels.
Representing 94% of the overall licensing revenues in 2013 were the industry’s five largest categories: Character, Corporate Trademarks, Sports, Fashion and Collegiate.
And character-related merchandise, which encompasses entertainment, TV, movies and celebrities, remains the largest money-driver, accounting for US$2.66 billion in royalty revenues and roughly US$51 billion in retail sales – up 4.3% from 2012.
Among the report’s key findings is the adverse impact of digital technology on the appeal of traditional toys.
However, the industry has made room for the influx of digital apps that have spawned new brands across digital and physical retail channels. Rovio’s Angry Birds, for one, serves as a prime example of this trend. And with more than US$1 billion in retail sales, Activision’s Skylanders received LIMA’s top honors as the overall best licensed program at the industry’s Excellence Awards last year.