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Digital Gains as DVDs Decline; Toys Remain Firm 45% of Market

Digital products, including educational and gaming apps and e-books, held an estimated 8% share of retail sales of licensed preschool products in 2013, up from 5% in 2012, according to TLL’s new report, “The Global Market For Licensed Preschool Properties.”

Indeed, 2013 marked a watershed year for preschool targeted apps and digital content; this category’s share remained flat at 5% from 2011 to 2012 before rising significantly in 2013.

Meanwhile, DVDs’ share of total retail sales of licensed products declined in 2013, from 8% to 7%, after a decline from 9% to 8% from the previous year. Book publishing’s share held steady year-on-year from 2011 to 2013, at 9% each of the three years.

Toys are of critical importance for preschoolers, with a 45% share of all sales of licensed goods for this age group from 2011 to 2013. Apparel and soft goods maintained a 24% share in 2012 and 2013, up from 22% in 2011.

Even as the core categories—toys, apparel and soft goods, and content-driven products—see their relative value rise within a licensing program, compared to noncore categories, the specific emphasis within each is changing. In toys, for example, role-play and aspirational play are increasingly important at the preschool level, just as it has been among older boys and girls. This emphasis is one of several reasons cited for the breakout success of Doc McStuffins, for which role-play is a key element.

In apparel and soft goods, the variety of products tends to be narrower than in the past. Rather than buying all apparel and accessories categories, a retailer might concentrate its support of licensed properties just on a few apparel items, or focus on backpacks but avoid other accessories categories, at least initially.

Meanwhile, categories such as bedding, seasonal items, novelties, paper goods, and health and beauty remain viable for some individual preschool properties, but their relative share of the market is declining compared to the core categories. Their collective share has declined from 10% in 2011 to 9% in 2012 to just 6% in 2010, as licensors focus their efforts on the most critical product categories.

The all-new 2nd edition of “The Global Market For Preschool Properties” ranks 137 dedicated preschool properties by retail sales worldwide. The report also discusses the impact of non-preschool properties such as Star Wars, Peanuts, Disney Princess, and others that have a strong presence in the preschool market, and provides demographic data and analysis of preschool markets in key territories worldwide. For additional information or to order the report, see our website, or call 888-729-2315.

Global Product Category Shares, Preschool Licensing Programs, 2011–2013
NOTE: Numbers may not add up due to rounding.
Category Share, 2013 Share, 2012 Share, 2011
Toy 45% 45% 45%
Apparel, accessories, soft goods 24% 24% 22%
Publishing 9% 9% 9%
Paid apps and electronic content 8% 5% 5%
DVD 7% 8% 9%
Other 6% 9% 8%


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