Reported by Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Analyst, from New York, USA
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
The latest retail results on the toy and game industry in the USA were revealed today by The NPD Group as flat for Annual 2012. This came as a relief, due to the weak sales in November 2012, which were followed by an impressive second half in December 2012.
Apparently, December 2012 sales finished strong, with the last two weeks of December capturing an 18% increase in dollar sales and a 10% increase in units, over the comparable sales period in 2011. This represented a 5 Billion dollar strong showing in the month of December 2012, which was the highest December sales period in the last three years.
November 2012 represented a dismal sales month in the USA, compared to annual 2011, with declines based on uncertainty over the US presidential election , the looming “fiscal cliff” and the devastation from Hurricane Sandy. Industry watchers were concerned that the annual sales numbers would be lower. Fortunately, for the industry, and for the economy, consumers did finally pull out their wallets and buy toys and games, in the final two weeks of the year.
The strongest toy categories in 2012 were Building & Construction sets (+19% ), Arts & Crafts (+6.9 %) , Dolls (+5.8 %) and Infant Preschool (+2.5 %). Categories which experienced declines in 2012 were Plush (- 12.6%), Outdoor & Sports Toys (-8 %) , Vehicles (-6.2%) , and Games/Puzzles(-5.8%) . The remaining Super-categories of toys: Action Figures/Accessories and RolePlay, Youth Electronics and All Other Toys were flat, compared to Annual 2011 retail sales figures.
The top properties for the year, based on total dollar sales, were revealed in alphabetical order and include Barbie, Disney Princess, Hot Wheels, Monster High and Star Wars.
Since the largest top properties represented a mix of large branded properties, as well as properties that contained a licensing component, overall licensed property retail sales represented only a 1% increase over annual 2011. Licensed product sales represented 30% of total retail industry dollars, for annual 2012.
The top items from this NPD Group Retail Tracking Study, ranked in dollar order, were listed as:
1) Leapster Explorer Licensed Software Asst (LeapFrog)
2) BeyBlade Metal Fusion (Hasbro)
3) LeapPad Explorer System Green (LeapFrog)
4) LeapPad 2 Tablet System Green (LeapFrog)
5) Hot Wheels Express Lane Asst (Mattel)
6) Monster High Doll Asst (Mattel)
7) Easy Bake Ultimate Oven (Hasbro)
8) Razor Scooter Asst (Razor USA)
9) LeapPad 2 Tablet Special Hardware Plus Bundle Asst (LeapFrog)
10) Barbie 3-Story Dream Townhouse (Mattel)
These products represented a mix of products from new technology, such as the new booming tablet category, as well as more nostalgic products, such as spinning tops, mini vehicles, cooking, scooters and doll-houses. This mix of top items shows the consumer appetite for both tech toys and a balance in the toybox for more traditional, non-tech toys. This is revealing, since it also mirrors the 2013 trends portrait which will be uncovered in the coming weeks, on this blog, and on the show floor, at the Spielwarenmesse International ToyFair Nuremberg 2013
SOURCE: The NPD Group. These results were based upon the new Retail Tracking Service report for the Toys & Games Industry, launched in Fall 2012, by The NPD Group. This new service gathers point-of-sale data across a representative retail sample that covers approximately 80% of the US retail sales dollars, with 38,000 retailer doors, across both brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce websites. This retailer data is compiled into 99 different categories.
NOTE: Next week, The NPD Group will publish its annual US traditional toy report containing consumer data results for Annual 2012.