As economic experts continue to grapple with the possible consequences of Brexit, the toy market appears to have sailed through this period of uncertainty in the UK.
According to The NPD Group and the British Toy and Hobby Association, UK toy sales rose by 6.3% in 2016, bringing the market value to more than US$4.4 billion for the first time.
This growth equates to a year-on-year gain of more than US$250 million, with 415 million units of toys being sold last year. This 7.5% increase was driven in large part by collectibles.
In fact, the UK collectibles market saw a year-on-year increase of 44% in 2016, accounting for almost one in four toys sold. And Moose Toys’ Shopkins (pictured) led the pack.
The games and puzzles sector was also a driver of 2016′s growth, with sales shooting up by 21%.
Last year, 63,400 new toy lines debuted, accounting for 33% of sales (or approximately US$1.4 billion) at retail. On average, UK parents and caregivers spent US$440 per child aged nine and under last year.
This growth makes the UK the top toy market in Europe, and it is now the fourth-largest, behind the US, China and Japan.
Still, a recent survey of British Toy and Hobby Association members found that more than 61% of UK toymakers are concerned about the lack of decision or clarity surrounding Brexit.
The survey also found the majority of UK toy makers (66%) are worried about the devaluation of the Pound against the US dollar, while 20% are concerned about the uncertainty regarding exporting to, and trade deals with, Europe as the industry’s largest export market.
However, 80% of those polled reported that they predict further growth in 2017, with collectibles, board games, STEM toys, robotics and licensed toys expected to lead the charge this year.