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Market Research


Licensing in Spain: one name and many doubts

The Spanish licensing market is currently dominated by just one property


The licensing market in Spain is being dominated by Monster High, which is eclipsing all other properties and keeping dolls as the only toy category with positive sales so far this year, as explained in the Pulsometer, a survey among retailers and toy makers to be published in the November issue of the toy trade magazine Juguetes B2B. This, according to some distribution professionals, poses difficulties, as it generates dependence on a product and a brand.

In fact, as César Ridruejo, country manager of Lego, explains, the behavior of the licenses so far this year is "below expectations". Ridruejo adds that "during the holiday seaseon is going to be very difficult to reach the licensed product sales recorded last year". Elvira Sanjurjo, Mattel marketing manager, agrees with him, and expects licensed toys to continue with the weak sales of the first months of 2012.

However Jose Antonio Pastor, President of the Spanish Association of Toy Manufacturers (AEFJ), believes that the licensed product "will recover market share slightly, especially because of the effect of specific phenomena [Monster High]. Without taking into account these specific cases, I think this segment would behave slightly worse than the overall toy market."

Doubts and concerns
Licensing is going thorugh a difficult moment: in 2011, sales fell for the first time against generic product, mainly because of certain weariness on the part of the consumer, higher prices and lower margins. But on the other hand the case of Monster High reveals the importance of a good brand as a lure to the consumer, as it provides added value. In fact, in 2011 there was a second category that showed growth, Vehicles, supported by another license: Cars. Also, licensed toy sales remained at 32.6% of total toy revenue.

For the coming months and apart from this phenomenon, the industry professionals name other properties that could have a significant weigh in the toy industry: Peppa Pig, Doraemon, Minnie and Angry Birds, plus brands with aspirations of becoming classics, such as Maya the Bee, the Ninja Turtles and Beyblade.

Waiting for the next big thing
The licensing industry is expecting another big hit to be confirmed, as the market poses risks difficult to face, and many manufacturers prefer to focus on the product rather than the property.

This caution is not necessarily negative: as noted by Domingo Rivera, Vice President of Jucosur, properties should go with the right product, as "a license not well chosen depreciates the value of the article. If you do not choose the correct property, you are doing bad business."

Ignacio Gaspar, General Director of Toy Planet, is even more critical and expects more falls in the licensed product, because of market saturation. However, he also believes in the possible succes of properties "not so typical so far, but perhaps now more common to us all, as are those coming from the video game world, with names such as Angry Birds and Skylanders".

Despite these doubts, Daniel Rossinés, Comansi managing director, expects "an uptrend of licensed toys and dolls", as these licensed products have always had "a major role in the Christmas season" as "families look for gifts with characters related to the consumer."

Jose Antonio Carrión, chief marketing officer of Boys Toys, is of the same opinion, and says that "there is a strong presence of all those toys related to TV series and movies. Those toys that come together with a strong communication campaign will be the least likely to suffer from the economic situation."

In short, toy professionals are waiting for a new successful property, but are also cautious with new bets. This situation is slowing the development of a market that has usually been characterized by its dynamism.

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