This year might be a rough one for the global licensing industry as supply chains struggle, shipping is delayed and lockdowns are in place for several months globally. But before that dark cloud rolled in, global revenue for licensed merchandise and services grew to US$292.8 billion last year, according to Licensing International’s sixth annual Global Licensing Survey. The 4.5% growth over 2018 marks the largest percentage jump for the industry during that period.
The entertainment/character segment led the increase, accounting for 43.8% of 2019′s revenue. Corporate brands (20.5%), fashion (11.5%) and sports (10%) rounded out the top-four sectors in terms of revenue. For product categories, apparel (15.1%) and toys (12.2%) led revenue in 2019.
The US and Canada led worldwide consumption of licensed goods with US$169.7 billion (a 4.5% increase from 2018). Northern Asia and Southern Asia/Pacific markets, meanwhile, saw the biggest year-over-year growth with increases of 5% and 6.3%, respectively.
In terms of year-over-year increases, the survey found a 19% jump in sales and related revenue since it was first run in 2014. The Global Licensing Survey was conducted by New Jersey-based Brandar Consulting.
Though the industry entered 2020 with significant growth, the global COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting lockdowns is expected to impact revenue for all products except for essential items. Amazon prioritized in-bound shipments of essential items to its fulfillment centers in March, allowing the retailer to receive, restock and ship products like medical supplies and household staples to customers more quickly.
However, quarantine-compatible categories like puzzles and games have seen a significant sales lift. According to The NPD Group, US toy sales for the week ending March 21 grew by 26%, with sales for the games and puzzle category jumping by 228% in a single week.