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32 Entertainment/Character Properties Make the Cut for $100MM List for 2018

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Just 32 entertainment/character properties cleared over $100 million in licensed retail sales in the U.S. and Canada in 2018, compared to 37 in 2017 and 46 in 2016. See the complete list here.

On the other hand, the total volume of licensed retail sales generated by these top properties has not staggered significantly. The top 33 entertainment/character-based properties with over $100 million in licensed retail sales in the U.S. and Canada generated $32.0 billion in sales worldwide in 2018; the top 37 generated $35.6 billion in 2017; and the top 46 generated $43.1 billion in 2016.

In other words, the largest properties aren’t necessarily getting smaller, but there are fewer entertainment/character brands that are making the cut. For example, the top 5 properties as ranked by sales generated $10.5 billion in 2018, or just under $6 million more than the top 5 properties had in 2017.

The biggest reason for the dip in licensed retail sales overall for the top entertainment/character brands in the U.S. and Canada were overall market conditions; namely, falling sales in licensed toys and games. Overall, entertainment/character-related licensed sales dipped -1.3% in the U.S. and Canada.

Half of the top 10 properties as ranked by sales within the U.S. and Canada were Disney brands. Mickey Mouse and Paw Patrol were the only two brands to top $1 billion domestically, with $1.3 billion and $1.1 billion in licensed retail sales, respectively, carrying on with steady 1% growth. Licensed Star Wars sales dipped -20% to land below the $1 billion mark to $941 million in sales in 2018. On the other hand, Marvel Avengers jumped 55% in a stunning movie year to reach $833 million in sales in the U.S. and Canada. Disney Princess sales continued to fall, contracting -15% to reach $734 million in sales.

Surprisingly, WWE made it to the top 10 list for the first time ever with almost $720 million in licensed retail sales, despite slipping -1% compared to the previous year. Coming in at No. 7, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles continued with relatively lively 10% growth to reach $714 million in sales. Hello Kitty continued to fall down the list, this year contracting -6% to reach $601 million in sales.

Licensed sales connected to the relative newcomer PJ Masks, which debuted on the list last year, jumped 230% to reach $594 million in sales and ranking No. 9 on the list. Rounding out the top 10, Frozen sales continued to contract -10% for $562 million in sales.

Six properties that were on last year’s list fell off, while three more debuted: Warner Bros’ Harry Potter/Wizarding World with $175 million in sales in the U.S. and Canada, Disney’s The Incredibles with $105 million, and Universal’s Jurassic World with $103 million.

Retail Sales of Licensed Merchandise Based on $1 Billion+ Entertainment/Character Properties, 2018
Notes: Figures are for retail sales of all licensed merchandise for calendar years 2017–2018.
Does not include: Content licensing such as DVDs; products created through in-house divisions rather than through licensing agreements with third parties (e.g. toys at Mattel or Hasbro or Pokémon video games from Nintendo); or nonretail products such as touring shows, theme park attractions, cruises, gambling/lotteries, and the like.
Figures in Millions
RankPropertyLicensorGlobal Retail SalesShare of Sales in U.S. & Canada
1Mickey & MinnieDisney$3,26539.9%
2Hello KittySanrio$2,64522.7%
3Star WarsDisney$1,92348.9%
4Paw PatrolNickelodeon$1,81158.6%
5Marvel AvengersDisney$1,79846.3%
6Disney PrincessDisney$1,68643.5%
7Winnie the PoohDisney$1,67529.4%
8PeanutsDHX Media$1,66227.9%
9Peppa PigeOne$1,27019.1%
11Frozen Disney$1,01355.5%

In 2018, just 10 properties on TLL’s $100 million list also cleared over $1 billion in licensed retail sales worldwide. Mickey & Minnie, Hello Kitty, and Star Wars retained their top 3 spots, while newcomer Paw Patrol wrestled control of the No. 4 spot ahead of Marvel Avengers.


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