Licensed toy sales grow 45 per cent across China as NPD reports ‘sales surge’ across the region

Sales of licensed toys in China have grown 45 per cent in the first quarter of the year, amid a solid growth of 16 per cent of the overall Chinese toy market to hit $1.2 billion (USD) in the first four months of the year.

Top gaining toy licenses in the region include the likes of Ultraman, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari, and Disney’s Frozen as licensed toy sales take the lead on sales of non-licensed toy for the same period, that witnessed a more modest growth of 13 per cent in Q1.

The country posted the highest growth rate for the quarter in January this year when it saw sales increase 34 per cent, driven primarily by purchases made for the February 12th Chinese New Year celebration.

It’s according to a new report from The NPD Group that all toy super categories posted growth in Q1 2021, led by infant, toddler, and preschool toys which increased three per cent. Other top performing super categories in the region included Building Sets, Outdoor and Sports Toys, Action Figures and Accessories, and Explorative and Other Toys.

The Outdoor and Sports Toys posted the highest gains in value sales with an 18 per cent increase over Q1 2020, reaching $192 million.

Sales in China’s toy market was dominated by Chinese manufacturers, with only four out of top 10 manufacturers being global.

“China is the world’s second largest toy market and the world’s largest toy production base,” said Frédérique Tutt, global toys industry analyst at The NPD Group. “It’s a country that is primed for savvy international brands seeking opportunities in new markets. Even if the rate of growth slowed in 2020 due to the global pandemic, China over-performed other countries in the region and is already bouncing back.

“With the latest relaxation of the two-child policy and an ever-increasing middle-class population, we expect the Chinese toy market’s healthy growth to continue.”

According to NPD’s 2021 Chinese New Year Gift Study, Toys and Games were the holiday’s most requested gift categories for Chinese children. When making their holiday gift wish lists, 46 per cent of children requested toys that featured their favorite cartoons, television programs, and movies.

Social media had a significant impact on children’s wish lists as well with 45 per cent of children asking for toys they saw on short video platforms like TikTok and WeChat.

Chinese consumers spent an average of $91 on Chinese New Year gifts in 2021, a 39 per cent increase when compared to Q1 2020. Online shoppers spent an average of $12 more than consumers who purchased toys at brick and mortar stores.