Kids Insights


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Our latest editorial prepared for Total Licensing, looks at toy licensing products across the globe.

The toy industry faced difficult trading conditions throughout 2019 across a number of countries, however 2019 was also a big year for TV and movie releases, headed up by the release of the second Frozen installment. Other blockbusters also released last year from Disney and Pixar, include Toy Story 4, The LEGO Movie 2 and Paw Patrol. In 2020, licensing could help power the toy market. As we know big film and TV releases not only impact content kids are watching but also product purchases.

Our data shows that licensed products are one of the key drivers for the US toy industry; a substantial 41.2% of American kids aged 3-12 purchase film tie-in toys, higher than any other country. In the last quarter of 2019, 3-9 year olds who watched Frozen II at the movie theatre bought movie-related toys, 30% more than average.

Amongst pre-school Americans aged 3-5, almost two-thirds (63%) bought TV-related toys, with three in four fans purchasing PJ Mask products (77%) and 76% of Paw Patrol viewers purchasing tie-in toys. For kids aged 6-9, My Little Pony topped toy purchases (68%), followed by Paw Patrol (62%) and LEGO Ninjago (61%). Toys however, are not the only form of merchandise that viewers are buying as other categories have increased recently; the number of 3-12s buying stickers related to their favourite movie almost doubled between Q1 2018 (9%) and Q4 2019 (16%).

Whilst in many countries, TV shows lead the way in terms of licensed product, Italy is the only country globally where kids aged 3-12 buy more toys in relation to their favourite movie (10.7%) than TV show (3.6%).

Elsewhere, in the UK, preschoolers (3-5s) are the most likely age group to own licensed toys related to their favourite films (33%) and TV shows (46%) and almost 9 in 10 parents (88%) say they have bought licensed products related to their child’s favourite character. This increases to 95% amongst parents of 2-4 year olds, showing a considerable appetite for licensed merchandise, even before the age where pester-power really comes into play. Among the parents of 2-4 year old Peppa Pig fans, 3 in 4 bought toys related to their child’s favourite character.

Despite YouTube and video game purchases being relatively low across almost all countries, the potential in this area is huge. In the UK, our data shows that 16% of kids have purchased products relating to their favourite YouTubers and amongst 6-9 year olds, almost 1 in 5 (19%) have bought toys based on their favourite video games, the most likely group to do so. Indian children also buy more toys based on game or YouTube than other markets. Ryan’s World is a good example of a YouTuber transcending the platform and making a huge success of selling licensed products.

With movie releases for Barbie, Hot Wheels and Masters of the Universe in the pipeline, will we see licensed products in games increase further or will video game properties and YouTubers, an area set to be an increased threat on more traditional TV licenses, win as kids spend longer gaming. Most recently in the US, we have seen a number of viewership changes during the coronavirus lockdown with a decline in the number of kids watching Netflix (-13%), YouTube (-16%) and Amazon Prime (-13%). How may this impact licensed product purchases after the COVID – 19 lockdown?

Already, our data shows that in the US, gaming fans have instead been purchasing more video-themed board games (+25% from 8.3% to 10.3%), DVD’s (+16% from 9.8% to 11.4%) and apps (+28% from 6.9% to 8.8%) from the beginning of coronavirus. In the UK, there has been a 25% increase in gaming related toy purchases (from 15.8% to 12.6%). Whatever way consumption and purchasing habits change and develop during the coronavirus, the world is likely to be a different place once the pandemic has ceased.

This is just one area which our comprehensive Kids Insights Global Toy report 2020  covers. We also look at the impact of technological innovations, sustainability, licensing, kids increasing financial empowerment, licensing, retail, media consumption, top ten by country, key trends and what’s next. To receive further information and details of how to purchase a copy of the 60 page report, please click below: 

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