Toy industry worth record £3.5bn after 6% rise in sales

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An interesting update showing signs of growth in the “discretionary spending” sector.

From an original article by Elizabeth Anderson

Toy sales grew by six per cent in the UK last year, making the industry worth a record of £3.5bn.

Around 415 million toys were sold in 2016, with an average of a £350 spend across the year on toys for children under the age of nine.

“Toys under £10 are doing very well. Children love to collect and find different products within a particular range. Last year, the miniature Shopkins dolls were the most popular collectible,” said Natasha Crookes of the British Toy and Hobby Association.

Collectibles accounted for almost one in four toys sold in 2016, with Star Wars action figures and Lego mini figures also among the most popular ranges.

The data was revealed as 250 toymakers gathered in central London for the annual Toy Fair, which is where manufacturers pitch their products to retailers hoping to find the next craze.

Many companies were showcasing ranges of toys for under £10, in the expectation that the “collectibles” trend would continue through 2017.

Christoph Bettin, of Cornwall based Marbel, said it was a market that taps into children of all ages.

His company is behind Nanoblocks, a range of building blocks that can be put together to form everything from pets to the London skyline. Prices range from £9 to £60 and stocklists include John Lewis stores.

“Nanoblocks are among our most popular products. Sales are growing by about 20 per cent to 30 per cent each year,” said Mr Bettin.

David Keel, of Kent-based Keel Toys, which makes a pet soft toy range called Pippins, said 2016 was a “very good” trading year. “We’re looking forward to the next one,” he added.

The UK is the fourth-biggest toy market in the world, behind the US, China and Japan. Lego is the world’s most popular toy brand.