UK toy market stands firm despite low consumer confidence and concerns of Brexit, NPD Group reports

The NPD Group, a global information company, today reveals the UK toy sales results for the first quarter of 2016.  With an 8 % growth* in value since the beginning of the year to 9th April, the sector is enjoying strong sales performance.  The action figures and plush categories lead that growth, and are up 16% and 21% respectively. With almost 54 million toys sold since the beginning of the year, the UK is keeping a firm hold on its leading position as the largest toy market in Europe.

Star Wars still the force to be reckoned with

More than four months after its theatrical launch and hot on the heels of the release of the Blu-ray DVD, Star Wars is still driving sales. The license has enjoyed a 249% increase in the last three months compared to the same time a year ago with over 2.1 million toys sold. Star Wars and Lego Star Wars were the top properties during the first quarter of 2016 followed by Shopkins, Disney Frozen and Lego City.

New launches and collectibles maintain the momentum

Beyond the Star Wars effect, a number of new launches have helped maintain a healthy growth level. And with the expansion of collectible ranges such as Shopkins that proved so popular throughout 2015, consumers are constantly spoilt with new choices.

“If you isolate the Star Wars effect and look only at sales unrelated to the film, the UK still shows a 3% growth. This highlights just how buoyant and dynamic the UK toys sector is at the moment” said Frédérique Tutt, Toys Global Industry Analyst, The NPD Group. “Of the 50 best-sellers in the UK since January this year, 19 are new products.”

Paw Patrol, Lego Nexo Knights, Teletubbies and Tsum Tsum (the mini stackable toys), were some of the top growth properties in Q1 2016. The Batman versus Superman release has generated excitement on the super-hero front. Collectibles continue to boost the market. With four products featuring in the top 10 sellers since January, Shopkins has seen sales more than double in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago. At the perfect price point for the grocers in particular with the 2-pack retailing at £2.50, the brand is poised for continued growth this year as the range expands to enter new categories with puzzles, collectible cards and card games. In addition, we are already seeing additional sales coming from new categories such as plush.

UEFA Euro 2016 – the best is yet to come

With football related toys sales currently up by 44% compared to the same period in 2014, the UEFA Euro 2016 has been highly anticipated in the toys sector. The official Euro 2016 Panini album was launched mid-March and the Topps Match Attax pack of 16 football cards already features in the top 10 sellers in the first quarter of the year.

“With the combination of the Star Wars legacy, the dynamism of licensing and collectibles such as Shopkins, Tsum Tsum, and the Lego figurines, the UK market is poised for a strong second quarter. Euro 2016 is already starting to make an impact two months ahead of the start of the competition so we are confident growth is also on – and in – the cards.”

The NPD Group: UK Toys Top 10 growth properties in £ value

YTD April 9th 2016

Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars


Paw Patrol

LEGO Nexo Knights


Batman v Superman

WCS (World Cup Soccer)


Tsum Tsum

Source: The NPD Group, retail tracking service, Year to 9th April 2016

*Source The NPD Group, Retail Tracking service covering 75% of British toy sales