The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) and Circana, formerly known as The NPD Group, presented their annual industry insights at the 70th Toy Fair. Held at Olympia London from the 23rd to 25th January 2024, revealing positive trends in the UK toy market.

Despite the continued challenging economic conditions in the UK throughout 2023 reducing consumers discretionary spending power, the UK toy market demonstrated resilience, with a total value of £3.5Bn sales. Although the market experienced a decline of -5% in value, consumers’ demand for toys remains strong, with several toy categories achieving growth.


Interestingly, sales of toys priced £15 to £20 was the only price category gaining sales showing that consumers opt for more mid-point items in an economic downturn. However, over 63.5% of toy units sold are still priced under £10, contributing to a significant 28% of the market’s overall value. This signals that affordability and value for money are top priorities for consumers during these uncertain times.


Buoyed by top toy movie blockbusters, Licensed Toys continued to play a vital role in the market dynamics of 2023. The sector reported sustained growth for the fifth consecutive year, with market share increasing to 32% from 26% in 2020, surpassing last year’s highest-ever market share by 1%. Looking ahead, the market is expected to stabilise in 2024, with a greater emphasis on evergreen licenses and original toy brands. This shift presents an excellent opportunity for companies to showcase the strength of their own brands and foster innovation in the industry.


In 2023, Plush Toys, Games & Puzzles, and Building Sets experienced notable growth within the UK toy market. Plush Toys, which was a top three sales driver in the previous year, recorded an impressive 11% growth in 2023, making it the strongest performing category of 2023. The fastest gaining subclass within this category was Traditional Plush, further contributing to its success. Moreover, the Squishmallows Plush 8” Assortment emerged as the top-selling item in 2023, priced under £10 with an average selling price of £9.01. This highlights the enduring appeal of plush toys for UK consumers and emphasises the importance of accessible pricing in the toy market. Collectibles, another notable category, saw a positive increase of +3%, reaching a worth of £288 million. Collectibles accounted for 20.9% of the overall market, solidifying its significance among consumers.


Commenting on the key report findings and insights, Kerri Atherton, Head of Public Affairs at the BTHA, said: “With people facing difficult times financially, these figures are not surprising and are in common with many other similar consumer goods industries. The sustained growth in key categories, like Plush, Licensed toys, as well as growth in Games & Puzzles and Building Sets, illustrate continued strong demand for toys and illustrates the resilience of the UK toy market. 


“Looking ahead to 2024, this shows there are opportunities for toy companies launching new and exciting products, with a focus on value for money and affordability a key trend.” 



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