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.


Spirit Riding Free gallops into Mattel portfolio thumbnail

Spirit Riding Free gallops into Mattel portfolio

New toy range strengthens partnership with Universal Brand Development

Licensing International to conduct first industry diversity study thumbnail

Licensing International to conduct first industry diversity study

Global study aims to understand current level of diversity in the licensing industry and use findings to grow talent pool ...

WBCP opens new Poland office thumbnail

WBCP opens new Poland office

Warsaw outpost joins network of European offices and will be headed by Dorota Pawlowska as the region’s Director of Licensing ...

Press Releases

Energizer spotlights Masha the Bear thumbnail

Energizer spotlights Masha the Bear

Animaccord and Energizer partner on Masha and the Bear licensed torches, heading to retail across EMEA in 2020

Elmo’s World comes to UK’s Tiny Pop in 2020 thumbnail

Elmo’s World comes to UK’s Tiny Pop in 2020

Kids’ TV channel expands its Sesame Street content with new series of short-form, interactive episodes

Milkshake picks up Pirata & Capitan S2 thumbnail

Milkshake picks up Pirata & Capitan S2

UK kids’ block acquires second series of the Millimages pre-school animation after successful first run

Moorcroft is Chelsea’s Choice thumbnail

Moorcroft is Chelsea’s Choice

Moorcroft and RHS present the limited-edition vase Chelsea’s Choice, celebrating Chelsea Flower Show 18 Plant of the Year