Licensed toys from summer blockbusters set for strong sales, NPD Group reports

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A few days into the release period of Pixar’s Monsters University movie in the UK, expectations of strong toy sales are as high as ever for a Disney cinema release. The NPD Group, a global information company, expects Monsters University to deliver a solid licensed product sales performance in the next few weeks.  

The film was released in the US on 21 June 2013. Two weeks after the release, it has already become the fifth largest toy license in the country, just behind Disney’s Cars franchise.

Overall, 28% of the British toy market is made up of licensed toy sales. Cars 2 delivered the biggest selling licensed toy sales in Europe of all time, turning over €312m in 2011 in the top five European markets alone. Two years on, Cars is still the largest toy license in France and the eighth largest in the UK.

Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst, The NPD Group, said: “Longevity in the toy market is not a given, and the performance of the Cars franchise is exceptional. It has become an evergreen license that retail buyers are happy to restock from one year to another, safe in the knowledge that toys will not be sitting on shelves for long.

“However this year there are two Pixar movies coming to cinema screens, with Planes – a spin-off from Cars – due for release on 16 August 2013 in the UK, only a few weeks after Monsters University. The two Disney films are tipped to be the most important kids’ movies of 2013 in terms of merchandise but they are unlikely to give Cars record toy sales a fright.”

The NPD Group’s analysis suggests that sales of toys related to a movie experience a quick growth in the three weeks prior to cinematic release, then a slowdown in the six weeks after the movie has come out. The most successful ones will then see sales pick up in the build-up to Christmas, finishing two and a half times larger than the original release week peak.  Retailers are acutely aware of this opportunity as testified by the Sulley mask, an iconic toy from Monsters University, which has already been selected by two leading retailers – Hamleys and The Entertainer – as one of the best-selling toys for Christmas 2013.