The UK toy industry suffered from “difficult” trading conditions last year due to declining consumer confidence in the wake of Brexit and early parliamentary elections, manufacturers said.
The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) – which represents over 80% of the industry in the UK – released new figures showing overall sales fell 6% to Â£ 3.2bn in 2019 in a context of gloomy streets. However, online sales of toys and games grew 2% year-over-year to give 37% market share.
Predictions that 2019 would be the ‘year of the movies’ have not come to fruition, with many blockbuster titles such as Frozen II and Star Wars launching too late – and too close to Christmas – to give the industry a boost. much needed. However, the United Kingdom remains the fourth largest market in the world, after the United States, China and Japan, and the largest in Europe followed by Germany.
Natasha Crookes of the British Toy and Hobby Association said: â2019 has been an unusual year in every way. The ongoing issue of Brexit has undoubtedly had a dampening effect on consumer confidence, while a general election in the middle of the busiest trading month of the year was not helpful. “
Typically, more than half of all toy sales occur in the fourth trading quarter from October to December, and with 26% in December alone, with Christmas immediately approaching. But the convening of the December 12 parliamentary election had made consumers “distracted and worried,” Crookes said.
She was speaking at the London Toy Fair, a three-day BTHA event at Olympia in West Kensington for its 67th consecutive year, which brought together hundreds of exhibitors showcasing toys and games that are likely to be popular at Next Christmas.
âWe are entering a new era with many structural and economic changes to come,â said FrÃ©dÃ©rique Tutt, global toy analyst at the NPD Group. âThe toy market is no exception to other retail sectors and is in a period of transition, adjusting and recovering from a difficult 2019 while finding its way for the future. Despite strong leading brands and licenses, toy sales fell 6% in 2019. â
Despite tough business conditions, the toy industry continued to innovate, BTHA said, with more than 32,000 new products launched in 2019. The figures saw 9% sales growth, driven by Fortnite, Avengers and Toy Story, while board games and puzzles have proven resilient overall, with an increase of 1%.