One of lime and another of sand for the Alicante toy manufacturers, who are about to face the next Christmas campaign with more doubts than ever about the possible evolution of the business. The good news is that the industry sales in the national market have increased by about 7% in the first eight months of the year, reaching 352 million euros, with which they would definitely have recovered all the volume that was lost with the pandemic.
But the bad news is that most of this improvement is due solely to rise in prices suffered by these products, given the need for manufacturers to pass on the rise in costs they have suffered, while the volume of units sold has actually barely changed and only recorded a rise of 0.4%. In other words, it is sold the same number of toys, but more expensive.
This is reflected in the latest data provided by the consultant The NPD Groupwhich indicate that the half price sales of toys between January and August rose 6.5%, compared to 1.6% the previous year. “Although the problems with the cost of transport and the rise in raw materials began the last yearmost manufacturers could no longer modify their ratesbut this year they have been uploaded from the beginning,” says the director of NPD in Spain, Fernando Perezwhich trusts that this greater price range will allow it to close the year in positive, despite the fact that the number of articles remains flat.
An optimism that is not shared by everyone in the sector, since businessmen they fear that the rise in prices will deter buyers over the next few months, especially given the deteriorating economic situation ahead. “People have to pay more for electricity, gasoline or food and it is logical that products that are not essential will suffer sooner, and even more so if they turn out to be more expensive,” laments the manager of the manufacturer of berjuan dolls, Cesar Bernabeuwhich, however, ensures that they have no choice but to raise prices since their costs have increased by at least 30%.
“From cardboard to vinyl to make dolls or fabrics for clothing, everything has exploded“, insists the businessman, who also points out the delay that has occurred in the provisioning by businesses, since many still had stocks from last year and have preferred to wait to see how the situation evolves.
Waiting to see how the Christmas campaign unfolds, in which the sector is at stake around 70% of its sales, for the moment the data until August are settled with the aforementioned 7% increase in turnover in the national market , albeit with differences. In this way, they are called licensed toysthat is, those linked to certain films of success, series or video game the ones that have pulled the most from the market, with an increase of 17% compared to 3% for the rest of the toys, according to The NPD Group. Some data that coincide with the presence in theaters in recent months of titles such as Jurassic World: Dominion, Lightyear or the new installment of The minions, to cite a few examples. In this way, licensed products already cover almost a third of the market.
By categories, what grew the most were the sales of action figures, with brands like Pokemonthe populars Funko Pop or all related to the universe Marvel, which recorded an increase of 8%. It also improves the sale of collectibles (+17%), which were greatly affected during the pandemic by the closure of schools and restrictions on social life and which have now recovered their tone.
In contrast, sales of dolls are those that present the least favorable evolution, by chaining several months of falls -in August the decrease was 8%-, although the accumulated figure for the year is still saved, with a slight increase of 2%.
On the other hand, from the consultancy they emphasize that companies continue to bet on innovation and for introducing novelties to the market. Thus, new launches already account for 16.6% of the market, after improving sales by around 20% in the first months of the year.
Another trend that is consolidating is that of public ‘kidult’, as it is called the segment made up of young people and adults who buy toys for themselves –the majority, collectible figures- and that already account for a quarter of the market.
The NPD Group is the reference consultancy in the toy sector and obtains its data from the reading of bar codes on the boxes of the main distribution chains in the market.
Grandparents buy gifts again
The Tous Consumer 360 report by NPD confirms the gradual return to normality in the habits of toy consumers. Thus, among the factors that have driven the market the most in the first half of the year is the recovery of birthday parties or purchases linked to the start of vacations or going back to school. Similarly, the group that most increased their purchases, 18%, are grandparents, compared to 6% registered by parents and other relatives. A trend related to the greater precautions that this group adopted in the face of the pandemic and that now their grandchildren enjoy again.