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US toy sales drop 1% because of fewer shopping days

Electronic toys grow 18%

  • Key4Communications

S retail dollar sales of toys experienced a decline of 1% in 2013 when compared to 2012, according to retail sales data from global information company, The NPD Group. Retail sales do appear to be impacted by 2013’s shorter holiday shopping season. While the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw respective sales increases of 4% and 24% (compared to the same time periods in 2012), the remaining weeks experienced softer sales vs. 2012. fourth quarter sales (Oct.-Dec. 2013) were down 1%.

“It’s clear that toy shoppers responded during the peak Black Friday and Cyber Monday weeks, but six fewer shopping days may have impacted overall holiday toy sales,” said Russ Crupnick, Senior Vice President, Industry Analysis, The NPD Group.

Looking at sales performance across super-categories in 2013, Youth Electronics and Arts & Crafts experienced the most significant increases at 18% and 8%, respectively. Building Sets and Plush saw respective revenue increases of 1% and 2%. Action Figures and Infant/Preschool toys experienced the largest dollar sales declines when compared to 2012 at 6% and 4%, respectively.

“You might have expected that the growth in Youth Electronics came solely from kid’s tablets, but the growth was also due to increases from new introductions in robotic/interactive playmates such as Zoomer and Flutterbye Fairies,” said Crupnick.

Licensing remains a driving force
Licensed toys, which experienced an increase of 3% in 2013, represented 31% of total industry sales, comparable to the 2012 level. Disney had three of the top 5 absolute dollar growth properties, including Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and Disney Planes. Nickelodeon’s Ninja Turtles and LEGO Legends of Chima both claimed spots in the top 5 growth properties.

Top properties for the year based on total dollar sales (in alphabetical order) included Barbie, Disney Princess, Monster High, Nerf, and Star Wars.

“The beauty of the toy business is how kids’ imaginations are captured by relative newcomers such as Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins, by rejuvenated properties such as Ninja Turtles, and through stalwarts such as Barbie, Nerf and LEGO,” said Crupnick.

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