Toy industry sales around the world are up 3% in the first half of 2017. Market research firm The NPD Group tracked international sales from January through June, and estimates the industry will grow approximately 4% for the full year.
Mexico and Russia were the fastest growing global markets, with toy sales growing 20% and 14%, respectively. Toy sales in the US, meanwhile, saw a 3% bump. Last year, US toy sales grew 5% to US$20.4 billion. The collectibles category was a major contributor to the increase, growing by 33% in 2016 to rack up US$1.8 billion.
The only countries to experience declines in sales were Australia (down 2%) and the UK (down 1%). Earlier this year, NPD and the British Toy and Hobby Association reported that UK toy sales rose by 6.3% in 2016. That growth brought the UK’s market value to more than US$4.4 billion for the first time, driven largely by collectibles.
The collectibles market continued to experience double-digit growth (up 15%) in the first half of this year. Increases were helped by the international popularity of MGA’s L.O.L. Surprise (pictured), Pokémon cards and Hatchimals from Spin Master. According to NPD, global sales of collectibles now account for close to 10% of dollar sales in the total market.
The Games/Puzzles category saw the most significant growth with dollar sales up 19%, while the Outdoor & Sports Toys category saw increases of 2% and the fidget spinner craze drove growth in the All Other Toys category (up 10%). According to NPD’s global toys industry analyst Frédérique Tutt, the success of fidget spinners is an example of the impact social media has in driving viral toy successes, with trends amplifying quickly and becoming more widespread.
Building Sets and Action Figures, meanwhile, both saw declines (down 6% and 9%, respectively).
For the second half of 2017, Tutt expects sales will be boosted by entertainment. A number of family-friendly and toyetic movies—including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Cars 3, Transformers: The Last Knight and Spider-Man: Homecoming—in particular, are expected to drive growth in the coming months.
NPD’s global toys footprint covers Australia, Benelux, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US.