June 14, 2024

TDmonthly Magazine

October 2013 | Vol. XII - No. 10

Happy Birds: May the Force be With You!

Double tie-in and digital intellectual property gives toy licensing a boost

By TDmonthly Staff
October 2013

London, October 15, 2013: Latest data from The NPD Group, a global information company, reveals Angry Birds Star Wars as the best new toy license in the big five* European toy markets in 2013 so far (year to date July 2013).
Sales of Angry Birds Star Wars during this period were £5.3m, ahead of second place Skylanders at £4m and third place Monsters University at £2.9m. Angry Birds Star Wars has even taken pole position as the number one license in the board games category.
According to NPD Group data, over the first seven months of 2013, Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars combined ranked as the 14th biggest license overall in the big five European markets and 12th biggest overall in the UK.  In comparison, just one year ago Angry Birds alone was ranked a much lower 39th place in the big five markets in Europe.
The original Angry Birds sold £4.2m worth of toys in the first seven months of 2012 across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The figure for the same seven month period in 2013 had almost doubled to £8.1m. With the Angry Birds Star Wars sales performance of £5.3m added in, in total the Angry Birds license had achieved combined sales of £13.4m in the seven months to July 2103.
Brand extension’s impressive performance

Frederique Tutt, Global Toy Industry Analyst with The NPD Group, says: “When the Angry Birds Star Wars deal was announced, it created a huge buzz. Angry Birds, one of the biggest global digital sensations to date, was joining forces with Star Wars, possibly the biggest license of all time but in any case the number one toy license of 2012 in Europe. The results are already impressive. Meanwhile, Angry Birds itself continues to do well with sales up 95%.  It is rare in the licensing world to see a brand extension adding so much to the sales of the core brand.”
Digital-to-physical (and vice-versa) trend all set to boost the toy license market
NPD Group says that new developments such as the Angry Birds Star Wars tie-up, and the licensing of digital intellectual property into the toy market, are providing a welcome boost to the toy industry. While some digital licenses are successful, few extend beyond the world of apps, and even fewer become top-selling toys. As of July this year, the total licensed toy market in Europe year to date was worth £845 million, down 7% on the same period a year earlier. However, the total toy market for the same period was £3.5 billion, up 1%.  “To boost sales, the toy industry is continually looking for successful licenses on screen or from the world of sports or music. Increasingly digital is providing those growth opportunities,” added Tutt.
As part of this trend, Hasbro s launching the Telepods action game based on Angry Birds Star Wars.  Like Activision’s Skylanders and Disney’s Infinity, Telepods action figures integrate physical characters into the mobile gaming experience. The difference is that the game is played on a tablet rather than a video game platform.
Tutt concludes: “While the toy market is holding its ground, digital gaming is challenging traditional play patterns. At the same time, breaking through with licensing is more difficult than ever due in part to more caution by retailers and a narrower range of retail outlets. So the Angry Birds Star Wars tie-up and digital intellectual property transferred onto physical formats is an exciting new opportunity for the toy industry.”

Notes to Editors:
All data from NPD retail tracking service.
*UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain

About The NPD Group, Inc.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions.  By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth.  Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food / foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games.  For more information visit and  Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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