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Angry Birds Star Wars, best-selling new license in Europe

According to data by The NPD Group


  Angry Birds Star Wars is the best new toy license in the big five European toy markets in 2013 so far (year to date July 2013), according to data from The NPD Group. Sales of Angry Birds Star Wars during this period were £5.3 million, ahead of second place Skylanders at £4 million and third place Monsters University at £2.9 million. Angry Birds Star Wars has even taken pole position as the number one license in the board games category.

According to NPD Group data, over the first seven months of 2013, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars combined ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and 12th biggest overall in the UK. In comparison, just one year ago Angry Birds alone was ranked a much lower 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.

The original Angry Birds sold £4.2 million worth of toys in the first seven months of 2012 across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The figure for the same seven month period in 2013 had almost doubled to £8.1 million. With the Angry Birds Star Wars sales performance of £5.3 million added in, in total the Angry Birds license had achieved combined sales of £13.4 million in the seven months to July 2013.

As of July this year, the total licensed toy market in Europe year to date was worth £845 million, down 7% on the same period a year earlier. However, the total toy market for the same period was £3.5 billion, up 1%.

Frederique Tutt, Global Toy Industry Analyst with The NPD Group, says: “When the Angry Birds Star Wars deal was announced, it created a huge buzz. Angry Birds, one of the biggest global digital sensations to date, was joining forces with Star Wars, possibly the biggest license of all time but in any case the number one toy license of 2012 in Europe. The results are already impressive. Meanwhile, Angry Birds itself continues to do well with sales up 95%. It is rare in the licensing world to see a brand extension adding so much to the sales of the core brand.”

Digital-to-physical (and vice-versa) trend all set to boost the toy license market

While some digital licenses are successful, few extend beyond the world of apps, and even fewer become top-selling toys. According to the NPD, "new developments such as the Angry Birds Star Wars tie-up, and the licensing of digital intellectual property into the toy market, are providing a welcome boost to the toy industry."

As part of this trend, Hasbro is launching the Telepods action game based on Angry Birds Star Wars. Like Activision’s Skylanders and Disney’s Infinity, Telepods action figures integrate physical characters into the mobile gaming experience. The difference is that the game is played on a tablet rather than a video game platform.

Tutt concludes: “While the toy market is holding its ground, digital gaming is challenging traditional play patterns. At the same time, breaking through with licensing is more difficult than ever due in part to more caution by retailers and a narrower range of retail outlets. So the Angry Birds Star Wars tie-up and digital intellectual property transferred onto physical formats is an exciting new opportunity for the toy industry.”

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