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Fashion

Licensed Fashion Sales Up 3.5% WW in 2017

Contact the Editor at karina@plainlanguagemedia.com.

Worldwide retail sales of licensed merchandise based on fashion properties grew 3.0% to reach $41,584 million in 2017, per TLL’s Annual Licensing Business Survey.

While the U.S/Canada makes up the largest share of worldwide licensed sales at 52.4% share, the fastest-growing territories are the Middle East & Africa (12% growth in 2017) and Asia (8%). In fact, every other territory TLL tracks outpaced the tepid 1.5% growth observed in the U.S./Canada. Europe grew 3%, Latin American sales grew 2.4%, and Australia/New Zealand 2.1% in 2017.

On the global scale, the only property type whose growth outpaced that of fashion brands was entertainment/character at 3.2%. Fashion is the largest property type by retail sales worldwide with $41.6 billion, or 24.1% share. It is followed by corporate trademarks/brands ($36.8 billion) and entertainment/character ($31.1 billion).



Within the U.S./Canada, apparel brands make up 84.9% of all fashion-based sales. In 2017, retail sales based on apparel grew 1.2% or $218 million. The smaller home sub-category, in comparison, grew 6.4% and footwear brands grew 2.5% compared to the previous year.

Retail Sales of Licensed Merchandise, Based on Fashion Properties Originating as Apparel, Footwear & Home, U.S./Canada, 2016–2017
Note: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding.
(Figures in millions)
Product CategoryRetail Sales, 2016Retail Sales, 2017Change, 2016–2017Share, 2017
Apparel$18,204 $18,423 1.2%84.9%
Footwear$2,557 $2,621 2.5%11.9%
Home$688 $732 6.4%3.2%
Total$21,449 $21,776 1.5%100.0%


The biggest driver of fashion brand-based growth domestically is licensed apparel. The product category grew 2.6% in 2017, adding $188 million in retail sales. The second-largest contributor was accessories, which overall grew 1.3%, or by $103 million in sales.

Within the broader accessories category, the fastest-growing consumer goods were luggage and travel accessories (3.0% growth), followed by handbags, backpacks, and messenger bags (2.6%). This growth is largely a sign that the sub-categories have stabalized—in 2015, retail sales declined by double-digits.

The only one of two product categories to contract was toys/games at -4.5% growth. The broader toys/games category shrunk -4.4% in 2017—compared to a -8.0% loss for entertainment/character brands, this dip in sales was more or less acceptable. Fashion-based toy/game sales have either remained flat or declined since 2009.

The other category to see a dip in sales was health & beauty aids (HBA) at -0.7%, thanks to a dip in licensed fragrance sales (-1.5%). This decline is attributable in large part to formerly licesed brands taking their programs in-house, rather than a decline in sales for fragrance generally. Sales are expected to jump for year 2018.

Gifts/novelties jumped 5.0% in 2017, after declining -4.7% in 2016 and -4.0% in 2015. Category sales have declined or remained flat every year since 2009.

Retail Sales of Licensed Fashion Merchandise, by Product Category, U.S./Canada, 2016–2017
Note: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding.
(Figures in millions)
Product CategoryRetail Sales, 2016Retail Sales, 2017Change, 2016–2017Share, 2017
Accessories$7,961 $8,064 1.3%37.0%
Eyewear$2,445 $2,475 1.2%11.4%
Jewelry and Watches$1,142 $1,150 0.7%5.3%
Handbags, Backpacks, Messenger Bags$718 $738 2.7%3.4%
Luggage and Travel Accessories$325 $335 3.0%1.5%
Headwear$1,831 $1,837 0.3%8.4%
Hosiery$754 $772 2.3%3.5%
Scarves and Ties$98 $99 0.7%0.5%
Other$647 $659 2.0%3.0%
Apparel$7,239 $7,428 2.6%34.1%
Domestics$419 $429 2.3%2.0%
Footwear$1,532 $1,556 1.6%7.1%
Furniture/Home Furnishings$835 $846 1.3%3.9%
Gifts/Novelties$46 $48 5.0%0.2%
HBA$2,549 $2,530 -0.7%11.6%
Fragrance$2,112 $2,080 -1.5%9.6%
Cosmetics/Nail Polish/Other$437 $450 3.0%2.1%
Housewares$324 $328 1.4%1.5%
Infant Products$334 $336 0.5%1.5%
Publishing$48 $49 1.6%0.2%
Stationery/Paper$53 $54 1.8%0.2%
Toys/Games$49 $46 -4.5%0.2%
Other$60 $61 1.6%0.3%
Total$21,449 $21,776 1.5%100.0%


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