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Worldwide

Top Countries in the $165.7 Billion Market for Licensed Retail Sales Worldwide

2016 was a great year for licensing worldwide, with retail sales topping $165.7 billion, according to TLL’s Annual Licensing Business Survey. That figure represents a jump of 1.6% from 2015 and 4.3% from 2014. See the top 49 countries ranked by retail sales of licensed merchandise below.

The top four players (the U.S., Japan, Canada, and the U.K.) kept their spots, but China rose one rank to close out the top five—pushing out France (Now No. 6). Collectively, the top 5 countries make up almost 80% of all licensed retail sales worldwide.

The fastest-growing countries were concentrated in Asia:

  • India’s retail sales ballooned 9.5% to reach $811 million in sales, making it the hottest region for licensing in 2016. Licensed sales greatly outpaced GPD (7.6%), but compared to the overall retail market (12%, according to the The India Brand Equity Foundation) growth is slightly slower.
  • Vietnam grew 8.0% to reach $12 million in sales. It’s the smallest (No. 49) market for licensed sales amongst the countries we track.
  • The Chinese market grew 7.0% to reach $6.7 billion in sales, a faster rate of growth than in 2015 (6.0%).
  • The Philippines was up 4.3% to reach $85 million in retail sales.

Other countries with notable growth include Mexico (4.0%—the bright spot of Latin America) and the U.K. (3.6%)—the latter which, despite the political uncertainties surrounding Brexit, enjoyed great success in licensed sales. 2017 will be a different story, as current reports about Q1 retail sales indicate a steep plunge in retail activity.

On the other side of the spectrum, Russia and Greece enjoyed a slower rate of decline compared to 2015. Russia’s licensed market shrank 5.6%, compared to 18.9% in 2015. Greece has one of the most dramatic drops in 2015 (-25.6%) but rebounded slightly this year with -5.0% growth. Part of the story is that there is only so much the market can shrink—the other part is success in agressive retail strategies.

Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan were biggest exceptions to the Asian success story, with their markets declining 4.5%, 1.9%, and 0.3%, respectively. Hong Kong was hard hit with an 8.0% drop in overall retail sales (according to government figures), attributed to a weak yuan and subsequent drop in mainland visitors. South Korea was hit with political instability, lowered consumer spending, and lowered consumer confidence—all of which resulted in fewer feet in stores. And Japan’s flat economy (boasting a 0.5% GPD) hasn’t improved over the last couple of years—placing the country at real risk of being bumped out of the top ranking by China in the next several years.

While countries in the Middle East generally had depressed GPD figures compared to 2015, consumers declined to reduce spending on luxury and “status” items (in contrast, spending on food went down). Egypt was the exception, with a strong GPD (3.8%) outpacing licensed sales (3.5%).

Top Countries, Ranked by Total Retail Sales of Licensed Merchandise, 2015–2016
Rank, 2016 Country Retail Sales, 2016 Retail Sales, 2015 Change, 2015–2016 Market Share, 2016
1 U.S. $97,031 $93,826 3.4% 58.7%
2 Japan $10,125 $10,155 -0.3% 6.1%
3 Canada $9,508 $9,449 0.6% 5.8%
4 U.K. $7,593 $7,329 3.6% 4.6%
5 China (mainland) $6,736 $6,295 7.0% 4.1%
6 France $6,521 $6,425 1.5% 3.9%
7 Germany $5,507 $5,368 2.6% 3.3%
8 Italy $4,390 $4,368 0.5% 2.7%
9 Brazil $2,067 $2,133 -3.1% 1.3%
10 Australia $2,035 $2,029 0.3% 1.2%
11 Spain $1,716 $1,679 2.2% 1.0%
12 Mexico $1,520 $1,462 4.0% 0.9%
13 Netherlands $1,340 $1,316 1.8% 0.8%
14 Belgium $861 $857 0.5% 0.5%
15 India $811 $741 9.5% 0.5%
16 Sweden $764 $753 1.5% 0.5%
17 Taiwan $542 $533 1.7% 0.3%
18 Turkey $523 $521 0.5% 0.3%
19 South Africa $522 $506 3.2% 0.3%
20 Austria $495 $495 0.0% 0.3%
21 Switzerland $450 $452 -0.5% 0.3%
22 Denmark $441 $436 1.0% 0.3%
23 South Korea $413 $422 -1.9% 0.3%
24 Finland $312 $316 -1.2% 0.2%
25 Hong Kong $287 $301 -4.5% 0.2%
26 Portugal $287 $284 0.9% 0.2%
27 New Zealand $285 $279 1.9% 0.2%
28 Norway $284 $286 -1.0% 0.2%
29 Greece $220 $232 -5.0% 0.1%
30 Russia $214 $226 -5.6% 0.1%
31 Saudi Arabia $208 $202 3.0% 0.1%
32 Chile $196 $193 1.1% 0.1%
33 Argentina $157 $158 -1.0% 0.1%
34 Ireland/Eire $151 $146 3.1% 0.1%
35 Poland $126 $123 2.1% 0.1%
36 Singapore $94 $93 0.5% 0.1%
37 Philippines $85 $82 4.3% 0.1%
38 Malaysia $64 $64 -0.4% 0.0%
39 Czech Republic $63 $62 3.0% 0.0%
40 Indonesia $63 $62 1.0% 0.0%
41 Macau $59 $64 -7.5% 0.0%
42 Hungary $58 $56 2.2% 0.0%
43 UAE $51 $50 2.5% 0.0%
44 Qatar $41 $40 3.0% 0.0%
45 Iceland $40 $39 2.5% 0.0%
46 Thailand $23 $22 3.2% 0.0%
47 Luxembourg $20 $20 1.0% 0.0%
48 Egypt $18 $17 3.5% 0.0%
49 Vietnam $12 $12 8.0% 0.0%
Others Asia $1,021 $1,001 2.0% 0.6%
Others Western Europe $419 $415 1.0% 0.3%
Others Latin America $135 $137 -1.5% 0.1%
Others Middle East and Africa $117 $114 2.6% 0.1%
Others Central and Eastern Europe $86 $85 1.0% 0.1%
Total $165,329 $162,734 1.6% 100.0%

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