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Global Licensed Sales Clear $180 Billion in 2019; U.S. Drives $3 Billion in Growth Alone

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Licensed retail sales worldwide climbed 3.3% to reach $180.7 billion in 2019, according to TLL’s Annual Licensing Business Survey.

This is the fastest rate of global growth recorded since TLL began tracking this data for the year, bringing worldwide sales up by over $30 billion since 2011.

Retail Sales of Licensed Merchandise, Worldwide, 2011–2019

The U.S. single-handedly added $3.1 billion in licensed retail sales to the total global figure, or just over half of all new dollar sales in 2019. With sales up 3.1% compared to the previous year, licensed retail sales topped $103.6 billion. This is the fastest rate of growth observed since 2016, when sales jumped 3.4% from the previous year. Despite this growth, the U.S. market share of licensed sales slid down in 2019 by 0.1 percentage points to 57.3% share of all global sales.

Japan remains the second-largest country as ranked by licensed retail sales with $10.5 billion in sales despite years of lackluster growth. Since 2011, Japan’s total licensed retail sales have shifted by only 0.2%. In 2019, sales were up by 1.0%, or $103 million. The island nation’s global market share was down to 5.8% share.

Canadian licensed sales were up 4.0%, or an even $400 million, to reach $10.4 billion. As the third-largest territory, Canada counts 5.8% of all licensed retail sales worldwide.

Licensed sales in mainland China jumped 10.0% in 2019, surpassing the $10.0 billion mark. With $912 million in additional retail sales over 2019, the country’s dollar sales growth is behind only that of the U.S. Chinese licensed sales have grown by 89.0% since 2011, the highest growth rate for the nine-year period amongst the 49 major countries and territories TLL that tracks.

In the U.K., licensed sales were up 3.2%, or $251 million, to reach $8.1 billion following two years of tepid growth. Rounding out the top 5 countries by sales worldwide, the U.K. also tops as Europe’s sales leader.

Across the channel, France saw 3.0% growth with an additional $206 million in sales bringing its total up to $7.1 billion.

Germany had the highest growth amongst Western European countries with sales climbing 3.7%, or $213 million, to reach almost $6 billion. The country is one of the few top territories to consistently match or outperform the global average.

Italy was up 1.9%, the country’s highest rate of growth ever recorded, an additional $85 million adding up to $4.6 billion in total licensed sales.

Australian licensed sales jumped 2.4%, or $50 million, reaching $2.1 billion in licensed sales. Over the last couple of years the continent has shown surprisingly steady growth (jumping 2.8% in 2018) after years of flat or declining sales.

The top country in Latin America, Brazil, suffered a -2.3% dip with sales dropping by $50 million to reach $2.1 billion. Within the top 10 countries, Brazil is the most volatile region for licensed sales growth with major declines and even greater increases.

Spain was up 3.2%, or $57 million, for a total of $1.8 billion in sales.

Mexico continues to enjoy strong licensed sales growth, up 2.8% this year ($45 million) to reach $1.6 billion.

The Netherlands uncharacteristically recorded 4.0% growth, adding $57 million in sales for a total of $1.5 billion.

Behind only China in growth, India was up 9.5%, or $97 million, for a total of $1.1 billion. Since 2011, sales have jumped by 85.0% in the territory with an average year-over-year growth of 8.0%.

Rounding out the top 15 countries by licensed sales, Belgium was up 2.3% to reach $890 million in licensed sales.


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