Retail sales in toys tracked from January to March across 13 global markets that NPD calls the G13 grew 4%. The highest growth was seen in Australia (11%), followed by Germany (8%), the U.S. (7.6%), Russia (6%), the UK (2%), and Mexico (1%). NPD says that all other countries experienced declines due to the sudden closure of retailers that were deemed non-essential.
Unsurprisingly, the global lockdown drove more families to games and puzzles than any other category, just as it’s been in the U.S.
“The earlier date for Easter in 2020 had a small impact on the results, but the majority of the sales gains were the result of the stay at home orders across the globe,” says Frédérique Tutt, global toy industry analyst at The NPD Group. “The nature of the local retail environment was also a factor. In many countries, non-essential stores were ordered to shut down, which resulted in sales shifting online to the benefit of some retailers able to provide a delivery service or curbside pick-up at the store location.”
Just four other supercategories experienced growth in the first quarter: outdoor & sports, arts & crafts, building sets, and vehicles.
In terms of licensed properties across the G13, Disney Frozen, Star Wars, Toy Story, Pokémon, and LEGO Star Wars were the big winners in sales growth.
Despite the positive news of a sales boom, some in the industry continue to caution that the real challenge is coming in the second quarter, which will reflect the closure of more stores and a time when millions have since been put out of work due to the pandemic.