Disney’s Frozen was the hottest property in 2014 while US retail toy sales grew by 4%, according to the latest numbers from market research firm The NPD Group.
With more than 300 different items available last year, Frozen generated a cool US$531 million in sales and was the year’s top gainer among all toy properties. Although it didn’t top any of NPD’s super categories, the property was number one in four of the 100 sub-classes (paint kits, fashion styling and dress up, children’s puzzles, and entertainment) and was among the bestsellers in 39 total categories.
Overall, the US retail toy industry netted US$18.08 billion in retail sales in 2014, up from US$17.46 billion the previous year. And representing 31% of total industry sales, licensed toys made significant gains with a 7% jump from 2013.
The busiest toy-buying time, the holiday shopping season, got off to a lukewarm start with Black Friday down 2% and Cyber Monday up 1%, but Q4 sales eventually rebounded register a 3% spike compared to the same period in 2013.
According to NPD, the combination of an extra shopping day during Christmas week in 2014 and last-minute shoppers boosted the week’s sales by 27%, which spurred December’s overall growth by 6% from the previous year.
In the super-categories, building sets and youth electronics were the big winners in 2014, with increases of 13% and 11%, respectively, followed by action figures and games/puzzles—both at 9%. But it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns for the US toy industry last year, as the “infant/preschool toys” and the “all other toys” categories dipped 5% and 0.4%, respectively.
Topping the list of bestselling traditional toy items were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures line (Playmates Toys), My First Disney Princess Frozen Snow Glow Elsa (Jakks Pacific), the Hot Wheels Car line (Mattel), LeapFrog Explorer Licensed Software assortment (LeapFrog), Galaxy Tab 3 Kids 8GB (Samsung), Minecraft Core Steve with accessory (Jazwares), the Zoomer Dino line (Spin Master), Barbie’s 3-Story Dream Townhouse (Mattel), the Nabi 2 8GB Bundle 7-inch tablet (Fuhu), and the Disney Frozen Sparkle Doll assortment (Mattel).