Spielwarenmesse: Global Licensing Trends 2020: France, USA

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Die Minions und die französische und amerikanische Flagge


Global Licensing Trends 2020: France, USA

from Spielwarenmesse eG

Which licences work in which country? This is the big question for manufacturers and distributors. With a little background information, licensees and purchasers can evaluate the different licensing markets better. Spielwarenmesse® joins forces with editors in chief and publishers from the specialist licensing press to present the trends for 2020.

Licensing trends in France

in cooperation with Virginie Lopez, Editorial Director

Kazachok, France

After the past three tricky years, licensing professionals are wondering about existing schemes. They create ever more field experience to have closer contact with their clients and reconsider their business models and banking on new partnerships. 

Buying patterns change

Nowadays properties must work twice as hard to exist and stand out. In a world where buyers, and children in particular, are turning away from traditional media buying patterns, the Francocentric licensing market is shrinking.  To the contrary, the entertainment business at large is thriving. Indeed content purchasing is developing vastly. Digital platforms (music and movies) and multi-device are sprouting up all over, clearly changing the way kids and teens use TV.

Movie scene showing three minions
Minions: The Rise of Gru by Illumination/ Universal

What are the influences on kids?

The T.A.K.S.I. survey (Truth About Kids’ Social Influencers) conducted by Junior City in October 2018 in France showed that 59% of 7-18 year olds daily visit YouTube. 9 out of 10 go on YouTube at least once a week - that means almost all of them! They're in the habit of watching between 7 and 10 different channels, whether they've subscribed to them or not. Furthermore, ultra powerful communities are developing  (Gaming, K Pop, sports fans, etc.). The BrandTrends survey, unveiled by Kidz Global in May 2019, showed how the best brands' growth in 2019 vs. 2018 are properties coming from sports and video games that attract large fan communities: Kylian Mbappé +19 points, Fortnite +11 points, FIFA World Cup +9 points or Paris Saint Germain +7 points.

Storytelling generates content

Today, viewers want experience and content in their digital lives. They hate to wait, are demanding, want to get what they want when they want it and expect ever more fun. Brands are led to tell stories they need their clients to experience. To answer that expectation, advertisers are constantly seeking content, and the most powerful ones are at the core of influential subjects, as well as entertainment and social media.

Reinventing consumer experience of licensing

At a time when the world is changing incredibly fast, when all the old models need to be reconsidered, and the licensing market is shifting.  The essential key is the message brands wish to convey. It must be sincere and authentic. Brands need a long-term strategy for partnerships in order not to lose their clients. Partnerships between brands and content, with no other legitimacy than communication, are everywhere. Thus, it's crucial to reinvent the consumer experience of licensing in a way that offers more content, as well as... being surprising!

Licensing trends in the US

in cooperation with Steven Ekstract, Group Publisher

LOGO License Global, USA

One of the key trends in the US points to a clear push to reach a new category: the Millennial parent. As companies begin to leverage new technology and lean into franchise nostalgia, the age of the Millennial parent, born 1981 to 1997, is just beginning. Brands and properties will need to reach this market segment to see their fullest potential. Nothing speaks more to that cultural zeitgeist than toys parents buy for their children. While we often think toy trends are set by children, they are set by parents with spending power.

Properties’ revival target the Millenial parent

Screenshot Youtube channel Ryan’s World
Ryan’s World Youtube channel

Examples of trends for the Millennial parent include Tru Kids announcing it would revive the Toys ‘R’ Us brand as well as a slate of new nostalgic toys getting a second life on the retail shelf with the help of technology. Tickle Me Elmo was creating a buzz across the U.S. in 1996. Now Hasbro hopes to find similar success with the launch of Hug Me Elmo. It is one of the first dolls to hug back when it' held. Speaking of classic brands finding new life after 25 years, “The Lion King” roared once again this summer with a liveaction remake of the classic Disney tale. One of the more notable toys from the lineup included Build-A-Bear’s plush inspired by Simba and the lion crew.

Instant commerce

However, a new decade starts that will see even greater changes for licensing and how consumers shop. Technology will be the driving force of the 2020’s, so rather than focus on specific licensed properties, let’s look at how technology is going to enable licensors, licensees and retailers to sell more licensed merchandise.

To me, the most impactful trend in the 2020’s for our business of brand licensing is the concept of “See Now-Buy Now” which is going to revolutionize how consumers shop online. While still in its nascent stage, the idea behind the “See now, Buy Now” feature is that it will become embedded in Social Commerce, Video on Demand and Gaming on Demand (Cloud Gaming).

This shopping trend has begun to take hold of ecommerce in China as a result of several key factors: 1) Significant demographic of Millennial’s and Gen Z who are digital natives. 2) Faster adoption and comfort level of mobile ecommerce. 3) The close collaboration between the Chinese entertainment and media business (Video, Gaming and Social Media) working with brands and ecommerce. 

China’s advanced ecommerce technology combining Entertainment and Social media as its gateway is working its way West.

Why “See Now, Buy Now” is a natural for licensing

Traditional advertising as we know it, ads in newspapers, magazines and linear TV is giving way to new forms of integrated content marketing, in other words, products and services become integrated into the media we consume, blurring what used to be a fine line between commercial and editorial/ entertainment. On social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and BuzzFeed, the concept of social commerce is growing quickly. This can take a myriad of forms, from a Social Influencer promoting a product they love, or a Social site like BuzzFeed highlighting their Tasty Videos with Tasty products imbedded in the videos. The end goal is always to sell product. Further revolutionizing commerce beyond social media, will be integrated brands and products in our mainstream entertainment.

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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