The Licensing Blog

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The NPD Group Launches U.S. Kids License Tracker

TheNPDGroupThe NPD Group launched its U.S. Kids License Tracker, a service that spans 17 industries to provide a view of licensed purchases in the U.S. for kids ages 14 and under.

U.S. Kids License Tracker explores how license spending and purchase behavior varies across the following industries: apps and in-app purchases; arts and crafts; baby gear; books; clothing; consumer electronics and accessories; DVD, Blu-ray, and digital (movies, television shows); fashion accessories; footwear; heath and beauty products; home products (excluding furniture); party supplies and costumes; school supplies; sporting goods; toys and puzzles; and video game hardware, software, and accessories. Read the rest of this entry »

The NPD Group Announces Winners of U.S. Toy Industry Awards

TheNPDGroupThe NPD Group announced the winners of this year’s U.S. Toy Industry Awards, which were shared with the recipients at Toy Fair 2018 in New York City. The awards were given to the manufacturers of the top-selling property and toy of 2017 in the U.S., as well as the top-selling toys by supercategory, according to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service. Read the rest of this entry »

NPD Study Shows Toys and Technology Drive Licensed Sales for Kids in the U.S.

NPD_Stats According to the U.S. Kids License Report from The NPD Group, video games, electronics, and apps make up a combined 22 percent of kids’ licensed product dollar sales in the U.S.

This is on par with the volume represented by toys, which is the number one licensed industry at most retailers.

Toys capture the largest share of licensed sales among younger kids, representing over one-quarter of dollar sales for kids ages 2 to 5. This percentage shifts as video games, electronics, and apps gain more prominence as kids get older. Video games earn 27 percent of sales among boys ages 10 to 14, and share also increases substantially among girls as they get older. Toys and video games capture the largest share for eight out of the top 10 licenses, illustrating the weight carried by each of these industries. Read the rest of this entry »

MGAE’s L.O.L. Surprise! Secures Top Ranks in the U.S., Tops Retail Sales in International Markets

LOLSurpriseAccording to the NPD Group, MGA Entertainment Inc. (MGAE)’s L.O.L. Surprise! is the No. 1 doll in the U.S. YTD April and topping retail sales in international markets. The new toy line brings the unboxing phenomenon to kids by revealing multiple layers of unexpected fun and surprises.

The retail tracking information, compiled by The NPD Group, confirms that L.O.L. Surprise! ranks among the top toy brands and was the No. 2 toy in retail sales in the U.S. YTD April.In Belgium, L.O.L. Surprise! was ranked as the No. 1 doll YTD April. In France, L.O.L. Surprise! held firmly to the No. 1 ranked position for April and became the country’s second most popular play set dolls and collectibles in YTD April in retail sales. In the U.K., L.O.L. Surprise! ranked fourth among all toys sold in April, and was the second most popular product in the dolls category. Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Holiday Shopping Trends Decreased in Seventh Week Compared to Last Year

npdholidayshoppingbagreportDollar sales in the seventh week of the 2016 holiday shopping season were 11 percent lower than that of the same week in 2015, according to the NPD Group’s weekly point-of-sale results for key general merchandise categories across in-store and online channels,. Cumulatively, dollar sales in the first seven weeks of the 2016 holiday shopping season were 4 percent behind the first seven weeks of the 2015 holiday season.

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Disney is the Most Desirable Toy Brand in China

The NPD Group’s Asia Pacific team released its China Toy Usage and Attitude Study, which reports China as the most desirable toy brand in China.

The study also states that most toy buyers in China own Disney products, the top three retailers in the Chinese toy market are e-commerce retailers, and most Chinese parents buy toys on Chinese New Year, Children’s Day, and on kids’ birthdays.

The study offers data and insight into the Chinese toy industry, helping manufacturers and retailers develop strategies for success.

Toy Licenses: Different Perspectives

By Lutz Muller

The licensed toy segment is large and continues to grow. According to The NPD Group, the overall toy market in the U.S. declined by 1.8 percent last year, while licensed toy sales grew by 1.8 percent and now represent about 31 percent of the U.S. toy market in value.



There are two parties to any licensing deal: the licensor that owns the property to be licensed, and the licensee that will take it to the marketplace. Not surprisingly, the perceived value of a license differs sharply depending on which of the two parties you ask, but the perspective can be boiled down to a very simple statement: The licensor sees the upside of a product or a brand through rose-tinted glasses, while the licensee sees the downside given by competition and retailer limitations.

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Mattel to Acquire Mega Brands


Mattel Inc. and Mega Brands Inc. have signed a definitive agreement for Mattel’s acquisition, through a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel Inc., of Mega Brands for $460 million.

The acquisition advances Mattel’s global growth strategy of building upon its world-class portfolio of brands by expanding into two of the fastest-growing toy categories. Mega Brands is the No. 2 player in the $4 billion construction building sets category with its Mega Bloks brand, as well as a competitor in the $2 billion arts and crafts category.

Mattel’s portfolio of brands will complement Mega Brands’ flagship Mega Bloks brand and existing licensed brands, including Halo, Skylanders, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, Power Rangers, Hello Kitty, and SpongeBob SquarePants. The acquisition will give Mattel the opportunity to broaden its relationship with its entertainment partners.

Mega Brands ranks among the top 15 toy companies globally in terms of sales, according to statistics published by The NPD Group last year. Additionally, the company achieved record sales of preschool construction toys. Read the rest of this entry »

Justin Bieber Tops Survey of Kids’ Interests

Last month, The NPD Group asked, “What would the kids you know say is the hottest new thing these days? It might be a celebrity, movie, TV show, toy, game, hobby, sport, website, brand, or retail store.” The group fielded answers for three weeks, compiling 7,116 mentions of things kids are into at the moment. The results are in, and they all point to big brands, which is a good sign for licensing.

9% Justin Bieber
4% Cars (franchise)
3% Xbox 360
2% Disney
2% iPad
2% iCarly
2% Dora the Explorer
2% Nintendo Wii
2% Transformers
2% iPod

Justin Bieber remained top of the list in this follow-up to The NPD Group’s May 2011 survey, in which Bieber captured 10 percent of total mentions, followed by Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Dora The Explorer, Cars (franchise), iPad, SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney, and video games, all at 2 percent of total mentions. Thor rounded out the Top 10 in May with 1 percent of mentions.

(The NPD Kids Industry Data Service (KIDS) provides monthly insight into purchases made on behalf of kids up to 14 years of age across product categories with an emphasis on licenses and brands. In addition, each month The NPD Group asks an open-ended, unaided question designed to provide insight into what is top-of-mind with kids today.)

Melissa Tinklepaugh

Star Wars Maintains Top Spot as No. 1 Licensed Toy and No. 1 Boys Toy Property in the U.S.

Last summer, I was at a pleasant, pretty mellow barbecue with friends when suddenly, someone found the toy lightsabers and a father-son Star Wars battle broke out in the middle of the backyard. It was great entertainment for all. Come to think of it, everyone I know seems to have a lightsaber or two floating around their house (whether they have kids or not), and I can remember similar impromptu Star Wars battles breaking out at other barbecues, birthday parties, holiday parties, and the like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and five years ago, and ten years ago, and….well, you get the idea. Boy or girl, young or old, everyone’s got a little Jedi in them. So it’s really no surprise that The NPD Group has reported that Star Wars maintained its hold as No. 1 licensed toy and No. 1 boys toy property in 2009, demonstrating its staying power after 33 years.

With 2009 year-end figures placing Star Wars 40 percent ahead of any other toy license, the Power of the Force continues to thrive, according to The NPD Group. U.S. retail toy sales for the license in 2009 exceeded $480M, supported by all-new episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and a robust collector market. Success in the toy arena continues to translate to many other licensed product categories, including publishing, apparel, consumer electronics and housewares.
In addition, 2010 marks the 30th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. The milestone will be commemorated with a year’s worth of intergalactic activities—including massive fan events, charity screenings, and exclusive product promotions.

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