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UK Toy Industry grew 3% in 2011 and remains largest in Europe
27th Jan 2012
The UK’s toy industry has delivered another resilient year of sales, as recent statistics suggest that despite the down-turn on the high street, parents and grandparents are determined to buy their children the latest toys and gadgets available.
Market statistics released this week at the Toy Fair highlight the UK toy industry’s resilience throughout 2011, with NPD reporting that sales increased 3 per cent in value to reach £2.96 billion for the year.
While the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor shows total UK retail sales grew by just 2 per cent in 2011, the toy industry managed a relatively positive performance in the face of harsh trading conditions.
More than 384 million toys were sold during 2011. Of the ten categories tracked by the NPD, the three fastest growing in 2011 were Building Sets, up 20 per cent, Outdoor toys, up 12 per cent, and dolls, up 8 per cent.
Building sets have been growing in popularity over the last few years and saw the largest growth in 2011. Outdoor toys also enjoyed a strong year thanks to sales of sports equipment, ride-ons and summer seasonal toys. The strength of the category is attributed to the value parents have begun to place on active play. The increase in dolls sales is indicative of an overall rise in traditionally ‘girls’ toys over the last few years.
In the year to September 2011, sales of girls’ toys (which includes arts and crafts, dolls and plush) increased in value by four per cent whilst boys’ toys increased by three per cent over the same period. They now account for 45 per cent of all toy sales (YTD September 2011) compared to 55 per cent for boys’ toys.
Jez Fraser-Hook of the NPD Group has predicted: “2012 will continue to prove challenging for toy retailers with continued Government cuts, further drops in disposable income and the ongoing threat of job losses.”
However, statistics supported by the 2011 figures announced today - illustrate how, even when facing difficult times, parents and grandparents will go without in order to ensure children don’t have to.
A spokesperson from the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) said: “2011 was an incredibly tough trading period for all areas of retail in the UK. By managing to grow in such difficult times, the UK toy industry has proved its resilience yet again. We are made of strong stuff. Strong stuff, plus creativity, innovation, imagination and the foresight to embrace opportunity; whether that opportunity lies in technology, licenses or real world events such as the Olympics, Euro 2012 or forthcoming family blockbusters such as Ted, The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black III and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, which will all help to keep children’s interest in toys alive over the summer.”
The figures were unveiled at Toy Fair on Tuesday by show organisers the British Toy & Hobby Association. Toy Fair is the industry’s annual trade event at Olympia in London, which ran throughout the week and closed on Thursday.