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NPD: Star Wars Toy Sales One-Third Higher than Frozen

By Marcy Magiera

Star Wars, the space epic whose newest chapter has knocked down box-office records around the world, also drove sales of movie licensed toys up by almost 10% in 2015, according to The NPD Group’s year-end accounting of U.S. toy sales. Connection to entertainment content was the key driver behind the growth of the toy industry in 2015, NPD found, with overall toy sales growing 6.7% during the year. Movie licensed toys, led by Star Wars, significantly outperformed the overall market with 9.4% growth.

While movie licenses led the toy market growth, other kinds of entertainment content were also a factor in the growth of key properties, including TV (Paw Patrol), apps (Minecraft) and YouTube videos (Shopkins).

Star Wars was the top licensed toy property of the year, generating more than $700 million in retail sales by NPD’s count – about one-third more than the $531 million in sales NPD attributed to Star Wars’ Disney sibling, Frozen, in 2014. In 2015, Star Wars generated more sales and contributed more growth than other blockbuster movie properties Jurassic World, Minions and Avengers combined, NPD reported.

Star Wars was the No. 1 absolute dollar growth contributor to three of NPD’s super-categories: action figures, vehicles and all other toys. The property was not, however, responsible for the top toy of the year. That distinction went to Moose Toys’ Shopkins.

“What was especially interesting to see this year among the top ten selling items was the wide diversity of toys from simple to complex,” said Juli Lennett, U.S. toys industry analyst for NPD. “In addition, among the top toys were evergreen properties like Hot Wheels, Barbie, Star Wars and Ninja Turtles, as well as relatively new properties like Shopkins, Paw Patrol and Minecraft. Price points were also wide ranging, from under $1 to over $150.”

Top Selling Traditional Toy Items*, 2015
*List does not include retail exclusives.
Data Source: The NPD Group Inc./Retail Tracking Service, Jan.-Dec. 2015.
Rank Item Manufacturer
1 Shopkins 12 Pack Asst Moose Toys
2 Paw Patrol Basic Vehicle w/ Pup Asst Spin Master
3 Hot Wheels Car Basic Asst Mattel
4 Shopkins 2 Pack Moose Toys
5 Barbie Dream House Mattel
6 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fig Asst Mattel
7 Minecraft Mini Figures Asst Mattel
8 Star Wars Sphero App Controlled BB-8 Sphero
9 Hot Wheels 5 Car Gift Pack Asst Mattel
10 Minecraft The Cave LEGO Group


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