Spielwarenmesse: European toy favourites

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European toy favourites


The kids’ landscape is more fragmented than ever, with technological advances meaning they are now more connected and invested in more ecosystems than any generation before them. This means they have more options than ever when deciding how to spend their day, so the fight for kids’ time and attention has never been more competitive.

Spielwaren und Spiele bilden einen wesentlichen Bestandteil des kindlichen Ökosystems. Durchschnittlich spielen 90% der 3- bis 12-Jährigen an einem normalen Werktag, mit Spitzenwerten bei der Gruppe der Vorschulkinder (3-5 Jahre) mit 95%.

Durch den digitalen Wandel verändern sich die kindlichen Präferenzen jedoch laufend. Anhand unserer neuesten Daten, die wir in den vergangenen acht Monaten erhoben haben, konnten wir bestimmte Produkte ausfindig machen, die länderübergreifend/europaweit bei Kindern besonders populär sind.

favorite toys across Europe

Construction toys

Firstly, construction toys are the most popular toy type across every territory for 3-12s. As we all know, LEGO is a unanimous favourite in the UK, Italy, Germany, and Spain. The release of The LEGO Movie 2 in Q1 helped them sustained popularity over a year.

In France, the Playmobil brand takes top (4.9%) spot that reflects an impact of Playmobil: The Movie, released in August 2019. Playmobil also all saw its popularity increase in 3-6 year old boys in UK - from 1.6% in July to 3.1% in September.

It shows how media kids consume has an impact on the toys they seek out to purchase and play with. Across all media types, toys are the most popular form of licensed merchandise for kids under-12.


Last quarter (July – Sep) in much of Europe, Barbie’s popularity increased across all ages but mostly in Germany. Here is a great success of great campaign… For Barbie's 60th anniversary, Mattel released a line of new dolls and lit up famous landmarks around the world in Barbie’s famous pink.

Boarding Game

At the same time, Spanish kids show difference preferences and giving top spots to board games. Invented in the USA in 1934, Monopoly now takes the second place in Spain and, also is the number one board game of teenage girls in the UK.

To keep up with Gen Z and Gen Alpha digital natives, some traditional board games are getting digital upgrades. Pictionary Air, which has been listed as a top 10 Christmas toy by Hamleys, allows players to ‘draw’ illustrations in the air with a digital pen that then appear on a tablet or TV. Being ahead of the curve in terms of technology as well, Monopoly Voice Banking is a cashless, voice-activated version of the game, which could appeal to Generation Speak. Blurring the lines between digital and offline play gives a new dimension to play and refreshes classic games. This addition to the iconic board game is perhaps a sign of the direction the board game industry is headed.

In 2018, we identified the ‘generation speak’ trend and have since tracked the impact of voice technology on the kids' ecosystem. With 22% of children aged 3-12 have access to a smart speaker in the UK - 104% increase since Q1 2018. This compares to 30% access in the US and 13% in Germany.

This generation of kids are like no other, they are digi-centric, super-informed and have distinct attitudes, behaviour and values from their predecessors. This means how they are influenced and what they ultimately purchase is different, as their ecosystems become more fragmented and inherently more complex.

Understanding what is going on in the kids’ ecosystem has never been more important, and we specialise in helping clients identify new product before the masses do, understand the true performance of a product and how to maximise their investment from a marketing and promotional perspective.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.

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Author of this article:

, Kids Insights

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