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NPD Insight The difference a month makes into the unknown As lockdowns remain in force, Melissa looks at the impact on consumer behaviour and the UK toy market for 2020 so far.


n the last six weeks or so, everyday life in the UK has changed drastically as we adjust to combat Covid-19, save lives and realise how important it is to have a strong workforce. At the same time, both the UK and global toy markets are adjusting, not just to new ways of reaching the consumer, but to the new demands in terms of products and needs from the consumer.

Playground Equipment, with an average price of £42.40, growth of nearly £9m and volume up +99%. The Trampolines category in particular has grown and was four times its value in 2019, while Playsets (swings, slides, climbing frames etc.) was three times larger. Standard Building Sets is the next fastest

UK – Weekly Sales Trend

Melissa Symonds

Director UK Toys, EuroToys NPD

Classic the top item in total toy market for this period. Arts & Crafts has also seen sales doubling in this period with Craft Kits and Reusable compounds up 47% and 64%, respectively.

Week ending 11th April was the third week of lockdown for the UK with

However, this recent value growth is only a short-term phenomenon and not expected to continue as the lockdown continues and parents have already stocked up on toys. There have already been significant volume declines in the Action Figures & Accessories, Dolls, Vehicles and Infant/ Toddler & Pre-school Toys supercategories in the last four weeks – all categories that have historically been more reliant on in-store purchasing verses online.

At the time of writing, non-essential retailers closed and week ending on Easter Saturday. we are able to see three weeks of toy sales since Sales % change versus year ago the school closures 60% were announced and Total Sales Trend Week 15: 50% parents became aware 40% Value +5%, 30% that home schooling and Units -23%, 20% entertainment for their Value Av. Price +37% 10% children was wholly on 0% -10% their shoulders. For the Units -20% four weeks from 15th -30% w/e 4- 11-Jan 18-Jan 25-Jan 1-Feb 8-Feb 15-Feb 22-Feb 29-Feb 7-Mar 14-Mar 21-Mar 28-Mar 4-Apr 11-Apr 18-Apr 25-Apr March to 11th April, the Jan Half-term UK toy market grew by First UK case School closures 3/23 (31-Jan) +23% in value compared Lock-down & non-essential stores closed 3/24 to the same period a year Source: The NPD Group | Retail Tracking Service FIRST ALERT | U.K. 2020 vs 2019 ago (Source: The NPD The NPD Group, Inc. | Proprietary and confidential 1 Group / Retail Tracking Service). While normally this would be cause for celebration, volume in the growth area with the average price up +37%, while same period declined by -12%. The toys that were The reduced number of physical stores that have volume is down slightly. This appears to be driven purchased were at a much higher price-point than been able to sell toys means that online sales have by kidult purchasing, with Lego Technic the number standard for this time of year, with the average price increased. Before the crisis, the UK was already one brand. Sports Activities and Games was the third paid £11.46, up from £8.21 in 2019. This increase the second largest online market for toys in Europe largest growing subclass, with garden games such as of 39% shows that the product mix of what was (behind Germany) with £2 in every £5 spent on Swingball, Wubble and Kickmaster benefitting from purchased has changed significantly. The UK toy toys in 2019 through online delivery and click and improved weather prior to Easter weekend. market prior to lock down was declining in value by collect for the UK (Source: NPD Consumer Tracking -5% and -6% in volume, so this short-term uplift has The next fastest grow categories are Family Board Service). This was already growing ahead of in-store driven the total market to a 3% increase in value year & Action Games and Adult Puzzles, with Family purchases, which dropped by -9% in value in 2019. to date up until week 15, but with volume down -8%. Games four times larger compared to 2019 sales in With non-essential retailers closing their physical the same period and Adult Puzzles twice the size as stores and social distancing in place for the few However, this value growth in the last four weeks families and self-isolating adults look for something stores that remain open (mostly grocers), it’s fair to has benefited only a limited number of categories. to distract them within the home. Traditional board say that the way that consumers are shopping at the The largest category growth in this period is games has seen triple digit growth with Monopoly

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Toy World Magazine May 2020  

Toy World Magazine May 2020