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Retail Sales of Licensed Toys and Games

On the product category side of the $106.5 billion equation of 2016 licensed retail sales in the U.S./Canada, only three categories outperformed the average sector growth of 3.2%—toys/games (7.0%), food/beverages (6.0%), and apparel (5.8%).

For the third year in a row, toys/games is out on top in the rat race for most growth in licensed retail sales amongst product categories. The category is down from an unprecendented 8.1% growth in 2015, but at 7.0% growth last year, retail sales surpassed $8.0 billion in 2016. The brightest ray of sunshine in the greater toys/games category has been collectibles and blind packs (which also provided a boost to gifts/novelties). It is important to note that although growth has been staggering, blind backs still make up only a fraction of overall toys/games sales (estimates range between 5-10%). Increased interest in traditional toys and games, on the other hand, have softened the growth rate of licensed sales in toys/games.

Over the last five or so years, growth in toys/games has been closely tied to the growth in the entertainment/character property type. Their fates are less closely intertwined this year, thanks to greater entertainment-branded involvement in other product categories, such as apparel. But the biggest driver behind the growth of toys/games generally remains top-shelf licensed properties such as Star Wars, Pokémon, Trolls, superhero tie-ins to films like Batman v. Superman, and Finding Dory.

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