NPD: Global toy sales dip 2%

An overall decline in 2018 couldn’t halt the growth of L.O.L Surprise, Barbie, Marvel, Star Wars or the emerging Latin America market

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 12.02.2019 | Toys

NPD: Global toy sales dip 2% thumbnail

Global toy sales fell 2 per cent overall in 2018, according to the NPD Group’s latest figures from the 13 major markets it tracks.

The US toy market, the world’s largest, again matched the global average, though the UK, Australia, Spain and France all experienced more dramatic declines. Toy traders in Mexico, Russia and Brazil fared better, all seeing growth. The other markets NPD monitors are Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands.

A “shrinking retail footprint” most evident in the disappearance of Toys R Us and independent stores from high streets and shopping centres was highlighted as a major contributor to the decline in sales. Other disruptions came from the video game industry, where games like Fortnite are attracting an ever greater share of kids time and pocket money.

Only three of NPD’s super categories saw growth throughout the year, with average declines falling in the mid-single-digits. See the results below :

Frédérique Tutt, Global Toys Industry Analyst at The NPD Group, says that many manufacturers and suppliers “demonstrated their resilience in what could easily be described as a tumultuous market,, with two rising to the top to win NPD’s annual awards for excellence in sales”.

Mattel was named the number one manufacturer, while MGA scooped two NPD awards for its ubiquitous L.O.L Surprise! brand: number one property and number one selling toy.

Unsurprisingly, then, MGA’s L.O.L Surprise was found to be the world’s biggest toy brand in 2018, conquering the charts in almost half the 13 monitored markets, including the UK and US. The unboxing collectable was followed by Barbie, Marvel Universe, Nerf and Star Wars to round out the year’s top five toy properties.

“While it isn’t business as usual for toys, 2019 sounds promising thanks to a wide range of kid-friendly movies, which often helps to drive toys sales, as well as old, favourite toy brands that are either celebrating milestone birthdays or attempting to make a comeback,” adds Frédérique.


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