Playground crazes boost traditional play with £1m worth of Loom bands sold in first week of July, reports The NPD Group

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Loom bands, Lego mini figures, Panini cards…as 2014 marks the return of the collectible trend in the UK, The NPD Group, a global information company, looks at the impact of playground crazes and how these are boosting traditional play patterns despite the popularity of high tech toys.

Three of the top five best-selling toys belong to creative segments 
Looking at the best-selling toys since the beginning of the year, NPD reveals that three products of the top five come from the Building Sets or Arts & Crafts categories. “Collectibles have definitely made a come back in 2014 and boosted the traditional segments,” said Frédérique Tutt, global toy industry analyst with The NPD Group.

Despite the high tech category still being the fastest growing segment (+24% year-to-date June 2014), both the Arts & Crafts and the Building Sets categories are featuring significant sales increases at +16% and +21% respectively. This is driven by playground crazes such as Loom bands and Lego mini figures. Tutt said: “We hadn’t seen such trends since at least 2011 and it is great news for the market as small purchases and impulse buys are on the rise again.”

Crazy crazes and creativity 

£1m Loom bands sold in first week of July

£1m Loom bands sold in first week of July

Loom bands are leading the return of collectibles in the UK, epitomising the resistance of creativity and traditional play patterns against high tech and robotic toys. £9m worth of Loom bands have been sold in the UK since the beginning of the year, with the first week of July holding the retail record to date with £1m sold in that week alone.

Similarly, with the launch of the Simpsons collection, the best-seller of the last three years, Lego mini figure blind bags are experiencing a new surge in sales. Sales are up by 52% compared to the same period last year.

Finally the tournament may be over, but with 25 million toys, (mostly stickers) sold since the beginning of the year and the Panini 2014 FIFA World Cup Single pack the best-selling toy across all categories, the World Cup mania isn’t over as far as toys sales are concerned. Tutt said: “It’s interesting to see that despite the increase in popularity of digital games and gadgets, children are still very receptive to old fashion toys. Here we have a perfect example of how toy fashion repeats itself. Home made bracelets such as the Brazilian bracelets in the 80’s, Panini cards, and Lego have proved their staying power and have been a recurring favourite with kids for many generations.”

Last but not least, the mania around Disney’s movie release Frozen is not showing any signs of slowing – toys derived from the latest Disney movie outsold all Disney princesses the first week of July with Mattel’s fashion doll Elsa a best-seller.

A market driven by fashion 
Toy sales to date (w/c 5/07) were up by 6% compared to the same period last year and the UK and France are currently the strongest performing markets in Europe. Tutt said: “The UK market is renowned for being particularly receptive to new trends driven by the entertainment calendar. This year has been rich in events, from the World Cup, to strong film releases but it’s really the scale of new playground crazes that has been welcomed by the industry after a few years seeing consumers keeping rigidly to big occasions to buy new toys.”