According to The NPD Group, U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.47 billion in 2009 compared to $21.65 billion in 2008, a decline of less than 1 percent. In the fourth quarter of 2009 (October through December), although revenues were flat, unit sales were up 4 percent compared to the same period in 2008.
Building Sets and Arts & Crafts experienced the most sales increases, up 23 percent and 7 percent respectively. Action Figures and Games/Puzzles also saw revenue gain of 4 percent and 1 percent respectively. Compared to 2008, Youth Electronics and Plush experienced the largest declines at 17 percent and 13 percent respectively.
Despite the economy, unit share for toys priced under $5 decreased in 2009. More consumers bought toys priced between $5-$10 than under $5. The NPD Group’s report also states that toys for children ages 8 and under brought in the most sales with 69 percent of total toy sales, and the only age group to gain in share and absolute dollar sales was kids ages 9 to 12.
Licensed toys represented 25 percent of total industry sales in 2009, compared to 27 percent in 2008. Top licenses for the year based on total dollar sales included (in alphabetical order) Cars: The Movie, Disney Princess, Dora the Explorer, Star Wars, and Thomas and Friends. Top properties for the year based on total dollar sales included (in alphabetical order) Bakugan, Barbie, Crayola, Star Wars, and Transformers.