UK Toy Sales Decline in 2017 and Industry Worries About Counterfeit Products

Toy Fair 2018 Olympia Kensington London

Sales of toys declined by 2.8% to £3.4 billion in the UK during 2017, bringing an end to three consecutive years of growth.

Trade body the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) cited a number of factors in this year’s dip in the market, including the lacklustre performance of television and film licenses, the impact of Brexit on the value of sterling and counterfeit toys.

The UK toy market still remains the largest in Europe, according to market research company NPD Group, other European territories suffered a drop in sales.

The figures were announced at 65th Toy Fair which is taking place in Olympia Kensington, London.

Some types of toys faired better than others, collectible toys such as Fingerlings and L.O.L. Suprise, enjoyed 17% growth. While PJ Masks, Disney Cars 3 and LEGO Batman were the best performing licensed brands.

A survey of 1500 parents undertaken on behalf of the BTHA revealed that 37% of children were spending less time playing with traditional toys.

“Finding a balance between screen time and play is vital to the cognitive development of a child to develop creative and social skills vital for later life,” commented Dr. Aric Sigman, child health education lecturer.

“Parenting is no easy task and giving a screen to a bored child is generally the easiest way to placate them, and it creates a lot less mess than some other forms of play. However, many parents recognise the risks of too much screen time, with nearly 84 per cent of the parents surveyed said they limit their child’s screen time. But it’s not enough to just limit the time. I would recommend that parents actively replace that screen time with traditional play, ideally with occasional participation, in order to develop the artists, teachers, doctors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

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