U.K. Toy Sales Shine in 2016 Amid Brexit

The British Toy and Hobby Association also predicts additional growth in 2017 due to collectibles, board games, licensed toys and other key trends.

Despite Brexit concerns, U.K. toy sales increased by 6.3 percent and generated more than £3.5 billion for the first time, according to The NPD Group and the British Toy and Hobby Association.

The growth equates to an increase of more than £200 million year-on-year with 415 million units sold in 2016, an increase of 7.5 percent–which was driven in part by collectibles. The collectibles market in the U.K. has seen a year-on-year increase of 44 percent, accounting for almost one out of four toys sold.

“Naturally we are delighted to see the U.K. toy industry returning significant growth despite the political uncertainty last year,” says Jon Diver, chairman, British Toy and Hobby Association. “We were pleased to hear Prime Minister May confirm last week that the government is set to provide clarity to the Brexit process which was concerning many of our members. Our industry is innovative and creative and to sustain growth we look forward to more clarity on the process of Brexit, particularly the relationship with Europe on free trade agreements, customs union access and favorable tariffs with WTO members.” 

Meanwhile, a survey of British Toy and Hobby Association members suggests that the toy industry is positive about the year ahead, despite concerns over Brexit. However, the greatest concerns for U.K. toy makers are the devaluation of the pound against the dollar, which will lead to price increases; the lack of decision or clarity on Brexit; and anxiety over the uncertainty regarding exporting to, and trade deals with, Europe as the industry’s largest export market.

The survey also found that 80 percent of BTHA members and exhibitors predict additional growth in 2017. The key sectors predicted to help this growth are the continued success of collectibles and board games as well as licensed toys, S.T.E.M. products and robotics.

“Although there are still some concerns, our members remain optimistic about the year ahead and trust in their ability to innovate their products to grow their businesses,” says Diver. “The toy industry creates products which help develop the skills and knowledge children need to become the scientists, creatives and innovators of the future through play. To have a government committed to the same empowerment for children can only be good for the future of the U.K.”

Additionally, The NPD Group unveiled the U.K.'s 10 best-selling toys in the lead-up to Christmas. The list highlights several of the industry's most popular toy categories in the U.K., including connected toys and games. The list includes:

  • Furby Connect Assortment from Hasbro
  • Pie Face Game from Hasbro
  • Overdrive Starter Kit App from Anki
  • Pie Face Showdown from Hasbro
  • Hatchimals from Spin Master
  • SpeakOut from Hasbro
  • Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster from LEGO
  • "Paw Patrol" Vehicle and Pup from Spin Master
  • Simon Air from Hasbro
  • Trivial Pursuit Family Edition from Hasbro

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