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By: Utku Tansel

As we explore in our new global briefing, licensing is continuing to have an increasing impact on traditional toys and games with more toy manufactures looking to create fresh intellectual property using TV and films and then leveraging these characters’ popularity to increase toy sales.  However, as this trend becomes increasingly more prevalent, competition increases, making opportunities more challenging to find globally.

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Key findings

By 2015, Asia Pacific is projected to overtake Western Europe in toy sales

Rising disposable incomes, new product launches, the increasing penetration of organised retailing in rural areas and second-tier cities, as well as strong demographic fundamentals have all contributed to the region’s outstanding performance in traditional toys and games in recent years.

2013 the strongest year for licensed toys to date

More toy tie-in films scheduled to be released will continue to drive sales of licensed toys and as licensed toys still only make up around 25% of sales of traditional toys and games, there is still scope for growth globally.

Only four of the top eight most licensed categories registered growth in absolute sales in 2013

Out of these four, construction toys was the highest with absolute sales growth of US$138 million in 2013. However, the percentage of licensed toys remained more-or-less static in 2013, at around 30%, so growth in licensed toys has not necessarily come from a decline in non-licensed toys, but rather from the growth of the category as a whole.

Toy sales still linked to new film releases. However, film franchise fatigue could hamper growth in film tie-in product sales

As more licensing opportunities become available from new film content, increasing competition between toy manufacturers for the best licences could leave smaller toy companies in the dark and bigger companies with lower margins from licensed products. Therefore, a well-balanced licensing strategy is potentially more important now than it has ever been.

Toy manufacturers should continue to invest in developed markets whilst looking to grow in emerging markets

Many developed market consumers already have the per capita disposable income to afford the more expensive licensed versions of toys, so they are more likely to purchase them. Emerging markets’ per capita disposable incomes are forecast to grow further, so gaining a foothold in the licensing market across these countries should pay off.

 

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