Spielwarenmesse: Global Licensing Trends 2020: Spain, Great Britain

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Global Licensing Trends 2020: Spain, Great Britain

from Spielwarenmesse eG

Which licenses work in which country? That is the big question for manufacturers and retailers. Licensees and buyers can assess the licensing market much better when they have the right background information. Together with chief editors and publishers of licensing journals, the Spielwarenmesse® presents to you the trends for 2020.


Licensing trends in Spain

in cooperation with Emili Alsina, Publisher

Licencias Actualidad

After years in which licensing has suffered a recess in its sales, in 2019 the market improved its results and the forecast points to maintain this stability in 2020. The industry is marked by an intense competitiveness, where no license stands out in a dominant way, and that’s why each property, with its specific target, drives the market to its diversity. Furthermore, the cycle of life of individual properties has been reduced in a market that has a vast offer of brands and content.

New media formats are fertile ground for new properties

Star Wars plush toy

In a society that changes constantly and rapidly, the industry faces a more informed and demanding consumer with a tight budget, making the consumer more rational, only buying what is necessary and considering the quality-price ratio and the service. In addition, the new generation of consumers can embrace a variety of content and brands at the same time, and they do so abruptly, which requires quick responses from companies and has generated new spaces in which new properties can be created. Traditionally, cinema and TV series have been the most common sources of properties, but now we can add to the list new scenarios like streaming platforms, YouTube channels or e-games, among others. Therefore, even though preschool licenses are still the main properties in the business, in the last few years the market is experiencing a huge growth of properties for teenagers and adults.

Regarding the toy industry, the most important industry for the Spanish licensing market, according to NPD Group data after the business has been falling the last few years, in mid-2019 the trend changed substantially with a slight growth, which is expected to be reinforced in 2020 thanks to cinema releases such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or Frozen 2, that presumably will boost the sales in toy categories like Action Figures and Dolls. 


Licensing trends in Great Britain

in cooperation with John Baulch, Publisher & Managing Editor, UK 

Toy World

It is no great secret that the past few years have been challenging for some companies within the licensing community. However, there are strong grounds for optimism as we enter 2020. Despite data suggesting that the market for licensed toys has been in decline for four years, if you remove the largest licensor from the figures, it transpires that sales actually increased each year, with an overall growth of 12% from 2016-2019.

Impact of movies on licensed toys

Trolls world tour

The largest licensor - Disney - also has a strong chance to regain lost market share this year, following the launch of Frozen II. The movie arrived in cinemas just before Christmas, but sales of toys associated with the film are expected to be at their strongest this year, once kids have actually seen the movie. The original Frozen was a genuine phenomenon, but with a six year gap between that and the latest instalment, there appears to be no sign of the ‘sequel fatigue’ which has affected some other movie franchises in recent years.

Another sequel movie expected to generate strong sales this year is Trolls World Tour from Dreamworks Universal. The original film introduced the Trolls to a whole new generation, and with a new movie arriving in March, retailers and licensees are gearing up for another successful year for the brand.

Evergreens among licensed toys

Of course, successful toy licences come from many areas, not just movies, and every property seeks to become an ‘evergreen’ – the kind of brand which spans generations and maintains its appeal to kids by constantly reinventing itself to stay relevant. This year is the 75th anniversary of the iconic British property Thomas & Friends, and Mattel has a raft of activity planned to ensure that Thomas continues to be a pre-school staple for years to come.


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

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