Traditional toys were the key winners in 2022 according to figures released by the BTHA and The NPD Group as Toy Fair kicked off.

And among those traditional areas, including building sets, action figures and vehicles, plush was the best-performing, up 29% year on year. Licensed toys grew again year on year, up by 5.5% and now accounting for almost a third of the market. Old favourites such as Star Wars Marvel and Barbie were chief properties, but the fastest growing in 2022 were Squishmallows and Jurassic World.
The NPD figures showed overall UK toy sales declining by 3% over the 12 months, making the business worth £3.6 billion. The average selling pri8ce of a toy is now £10.54, but NPD believes that the key growth area is more considered purchases priced between £30 and £50.

In other figures, the extra day afforded by Christmas Eve landing on a Saturday meant week 51 sales were up 15% on 2021. In-atore purchases showed growth, now accounting for more than half of sales, up 6% YoY to 51%. Online sales are still ahead of pre-pandemic figures, however.

The figures were revealed at the opening of Toy Fair for journalists and press, which also saw the BTHA unveiling its 25 Hero Toys.
“The UK toy industry has continued to deliver toys and games for consumers at affordable prices during 2022 amongst high levels of inflation, and a cost-of-living crisis” commented Kerri Atherton, Head of Public Affairs at the BTHA. “Last year, new product innovations were vital to driving sales in the UK toy industry which led to growth in the plush toy category. With a strong line up of new releases for 2023, the UK toy industry has signs to be optimistic about the year ahead.”

Melissa Symonds, Executive Director, UK Toys, from The NPD Group added: “New licenced properties like Gabby’s Doll House and classics like Star Wars drove major sales throughout 2022. With Disney celebrating their 100th anniversary and movie releases such as Barbie, Transformers, and Super Mario, 2023 looks set to be another good year for licenced toys, an instrumental part of the UK toy industry.

“In 2022, we saw consumers returning to make more purchases in store during the year. Consumers are increasingly choosing to shop with specialist toy stores, which saw an uplift of 16% in sales, with consumers seeking out large product ranges offering choice and value.”

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