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Toys Market Research & Business Solutions

If you have kids, there’s likely a closet in your home full of discarded toys. Children change rapidly. As do their playthings. So too does the market that feeds that change. Once upon a time, toys were something a child held. Then they were something a child played on a screen. Then they were things as likely to be collected by adults as loved by a child. Now they are often all these things all at once.

To monitor what’s happening in this dynamic market, we collect point-of-sale information from all major toy retailers. This information, combined with our analysts’ industry perspectives, delivers a comprehensive view of what’s selling and where. We also field more than 12 million consumer surveys a year to help industry leaders understand why consumers shop, where they shop and why they buy what they buy.

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Toys
Solutions


Retail Tracking

NPD's Retail Tracking delivers weekly point-of-sale (POS) tracking information. It’s the only source for competitive, item-level product detail and insight on toy sales trends. This industry resource can help you understand market dynamics, identify opportunities for growth, and partner more closely with retailers. Our POS footprint covers all the major toy retailers to ensure you are working with information that gives a complete view of the marketplace.


Consumer Tracking

Our Consumer Tracking provides in-depth detail straight from consumers, so you can analyze retailer share, measure category and channel performance, explore consumer demographics, and understand purchase dynamics. Over 12 million surveys annually tell us where consumers shop, what they buy, and how much they pay. The service delivers a comprehensive picture of consumer activity across all retail channels. Its information is aligned with our Retail Tracking hierarchy, allowing for high-level market alignment of our toys consumer data. Toy industry leaders use this robust information to uncover opportunities and create products, messaging, and promotions that appeal to their target consumers.


Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking

Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking complements our national Retail Tracking Service– it can help you determine whether sales are distribution-driven or whether certain parts of the country are contributing more to national share or driving growth. The velocity measure that is part of Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking takes into consideration sales volume (Annualized Industry Volume or AIV) rather than considering store count alone, for a more meaningful read on where products are selling and how they are performing.


Analytic Solutions

NPD’s Analytic Solutions group includes senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that help clients predict areas of risk and growth to improve marketing and product development. By combining NPD’s unique data assets and industry expertise with state-of-the-discipline research techniques and proprietary solutions, our Analytic Solutions team is able to answer clients’ most pressing business questions.



Toys
Reports


Multi-Country Reporting Capability Now Available in DecisionKey®

Toys is excited to be the first practice to combine multiple countries in a single DecisionKey database to allow for multi-country reporting. The additional frequency will allow for single-source multi-country data to maximize the value of our data for our toy clients who mostly operate in a global capacity. Clients can now have a view into 10 countries, ranging from Canada to Australia to France to U.S, in a single database with common currency view for all countries converted into U.S. Dollars and/or Euros. This capability strengthens the NPD position of being the Toy industry currency, allows global investor/public statements to be sourced from a single dataset, allows consistency of views between local countries and global departments, and offers immediate time savings thereby allowing more time to be spent on value-add global analyses.



Toys
Press Releases


August 7, 2017

The NPD Group Expands Toys Retail Tracking Service in the Netherlands

Global information company The NPD Group, today announced the expansion of its Toys Retail Tracking Service in the Netherlands. The new service monitors in-store and online sales of toy products from a diverse range of Netherlands-based retailers. Combined with NPD’s existing coverage of Belgium’s toy market, it is a single source for complete market information in the Benelux region.


August 2, 2017

Global Toy Sales Grew by 3 Percent in the First Half of 2017, Reports The NPD Group

Toy industry sales are up 3 percent from January through June 2017 across the global markets tracked by The NPD Group, a leading global information company. NPD estimates that the industry will grow approximately 4 percent for the full year.


July 26, 2017

U.S. Toy Industry Grows its Sales by 3 Percent Mid-Way Through 2017, Reports The NPD Group

The U.S. toy industry grew its dollar sales by 3 percent in the first half of 2017*, according to global information company The NPD Group. With about one-third of total annual sales typically occurring in the first half, NPD estimates that the industry will grow approximately 4.5 percent for the full year.


June 20, 2017

Toys and Technology Drive Licensed Sales for Kids in the U.S., NPD Finds

Video games, electronics, and apps make up a combined 22 percent of kids’ licensed product dollar sales in the U.S.* – on par with the volume represented by toys, which is the number one licensed industry at most retailers, according to the U.S. Kids License Report from global information company The NPD Group.


February 16, 2017

U.S. Juvenile Products Industry Grows 2 Percent in 2016, Reports The NPD Group

Dollar sales for the U.S. durable juvenile products industry reached $6.4 billion and grew 2 percent in 2016, according to global information company The NPD Group. Units grew by 2 percent and the average retail price of $17.98 increased by 1 percent over the prior year. Gains in the Travel, Safety, and Feeding categories drove the industry.


January 25, 2017

U.S. Toy Industry Grows 5 Percent in 2016, Exceeding $20 Billion, The NPD Group Reports

U.S. toy sales grew by 5 percent in 2016, reaching $20.4 billion, according to retail sales data* from global information company The NPD Group. The industry was 16 percent larger in 2016 than 2013, which calculates to a compounded annual growth rate of 5 percent.


November 1, 2016

Toys Tied to Experiences, Family Time, and Healthy Living Propel Industry Growth through the Holiday Season

U.S. toy sales grew by 6 percent from January through September 2016, according to retail sales data from global information company The NPD Group. NPD expects several trends to drive the toy industry to continued growth through the remainder of 2016, including consumer movement towards experiential purchasing, the popularity of collectibles, the drive toward healthier living, and higher price-points during this holiday season. For the year, NPD estimates toy sales to be up approximately 6.5 percent.


July 25, 2016

U.S. Toy Industry Mid-Year Sales Grow Over 7 Percent, Tracking Ahead of 2015 Growth Rates, The NPD Group Reports

The U.S. toy industry grew 7.5 percent in the first half of 2016, outpacing last year’s mid-year and annual growth rates*, according to global information company The NPD Group. NPD estimates that the industry will grow approximately 7 percent, or $1.4 billion, for full-year 2016.


May 5, 2016

Disney is the Most Desirable Toy Brand in China, Reports The NPD Group

NPD’s Asia Pacific team recently completed its China Toy Usage & Attitude Study. This report, which provides a comprehensive overview of the China toy market, is available for purchase now.


May 2, 2016

U.S. Toy Industry Grows 6 Percent During the First Quarter of 2016

The U.S. toy industry grew by 6 percent, or $206 million, in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2015*, according to global information company The NPD Group. Out of the 11 supercategories within toys, eight of them posted gains, with Action Figures and Dolls experiencing the highest dollar growth.


Toys
Insights


May 25, 2017

Understand Kids' Licensed Products Purchasing Behavior

Now you can explore U.S. consumers’ purchases of licensed products – going beyond toys – and find out how buying varies by industry. Take the guesswork out of product development and marketing decisions related to licensed products for children up to age 14.


August 15, 2016

Case Study: How to Tell a Brand’s True Story with Distribution and Velocity

How to Tell a Brand’s True Story with Distribution and Velocity


December 3, 2015

Kids at Play: How Do They Spend Their Time and Money

Understanding the under-14 consumer can be a tricky business for toy marketers. Technology and other interests compete with toys for time and money. Getting to know these important consumers – and knowing more about them than your competitors do – is critical. See how kids spend their play time, and what parents buy for their kids.


August 19, 2015

Toying With Gender-Neutral Labels

In mid-August Target made headlines after announcing a phase-out of gender-based signage in certain children’s sections of its store.



Toys
Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts


July 18, 2017

You’ve Heard of KGOY, But What About AGYO?

I’m sure many of you have felt this same feeling as I have… I might look older on the outside, but I feel like I’m still 25 on the inside. I’m a grown woman with teenagers, but sometimes I want to act more like them than the Baby Boomer I am!

And, I think many Baby Boomers like me feel the same way.

Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964) represent 74 million or 23 percent of the U.S. population today. When the last of us reaches retirement in 2029, let’s call it age 65, there will be 21.6 million more Americans who are 65+years old than there are today. That’s growth of 42 percent for the population of ages 65+ from 2017 to 2029. That’s a heck of a lot more people needing products and services suitable for a senior citizen’s lifestyle.

What does this have to do with KGOY or AGYO? Kids Getting Older Younger (KGOY) has been a topic in the toy industry for at least a decade. The idea is that kids are aging out of toys at younger and younger ages—that’s a topic I could debate, but we’ll save that for a later time.

AGYO is my made-up acronym for a new revolution—Adults Getting Younger Older. I think there are many of us who are going to do whatever we have to in order to delay getting old. We’re taking better care of ourselves and want to continue being active, enjoy life and, more importantly, have lots of fun in retirement.

I think the opportunity is tremendous for many industries to start thinking about products specifically for the aging Boomer population. Not only will this amazing group of people have a lot of time on their hands, but they will want to have fun, keep their brains active, and they have money to spend. What better way to spend your time as you get older than with play. Play doesn’t have to be for the young; let’s get people thinking about play for everyone, including seniors.

Here’s my call-out to the toy manufacturing community: can you start thinking about the future now? Can you think about how to better serve the Boomers with toys and games just for us? We are going to want you to think about us when you design new products, and we will want to feel special. We will not want the same toys and games that you make for an eight-year old. I’m hoping that by the time I retire, there will be a whole bunch of new toys, games, and puzzles that will interest me and my 74 million “young at heart” friends that allow us to have the fun we deserve. Who knows, you might just be able to carve a new niche for yourself. Better get crackin’.


July 11, 2017

Back-to-School: Friend or Foe to the Toy Industry?

It’s hard to think about the topic of back-to-school when my kids just wrapped up school only two weeks ago here in New York. But, alas, we at NPD have already started to talk about it as retailers are preparing for the next big shopping season for many industries, from apparel to school supplies.

But, what about toys?

For the toy industry, August in particular is a bit of drag. Though this is a period when many new toys are being introduced to the market, sales reach a low point. In terms of absolute dollar sales for the toy industry, August tends to be among the bottom two or three performing months of the year, right there with January. While the product changeover on store shelves may factor into this, I think the primary reason is quite obvious: back-to-school expenses. For many families, back-to-school can suck up every ounce of a family’s disposable income, and then some. For that moment in time, a pair of shoes, a new outfit, and school supplies become the more important decisions.

Does this mean the toy industry should walk away? Absolutely not. There is a place for the toy industry during this period, and it can support the back-to-school initiative.

Educational toys—particularly flashcards—sell more than usual during the back-to-school season. Digging a little deeper, these educational toys are slightly overdeveloped for preschool children and lower income households (<$50K/year) on a bi-annualized basis. My theory is that lower income families of preschoolers are looking for ways to educate their children through inexpensive toys, perhaps because their communities don’t offer free preschool as an option.

Can the toy industry do more, particularly during back-to-school, by creating more fun and educational preschool toys? Can retailers, particularly those in lower income neighborhoods, carry more inexpensive, high quality preschool education toys? There are back-to-school related opportunities for the toy industry that just might benefit everyone.


May 15, 2017

Fidgets, games, LEGO tape: Social media puts emerging trends on fast forward

In early April, I searched for fidget toys online. They were in the news thanks to Autism Day, and I was curious to see what was available on my local site in France. There were very few, and they were relatively expensive, at €20 each.

Three weeks later, my son discovered fidget toys via viral Instagram posts and asked me to buy one for him. I went online again. Suddenly there were more than 20 to choose from, and the price had dropped from €20 to €10, or even less if I could wait for them to ship from China.

What happened?

In a nutshell, social media happened.

In the past, it would have taken weeks for a hot trend to filter into my remote part of France and into the consciousness of my son and his friends. It would have taken many more weeks for that toy to become available in my area. The manager of my local toy store once told me, “We are a bit slow with hot trends here. We need to wait 6 months after it takes off in Paris.”

Not anymore.

Today, my kids absorb trends via social media at the same moment as a child in Tokyo, New York City, or Buenos Aires. And that is upending the business. The product cycle has been shaken up by the internet; social media has put it on fast forward.

Today, the toy industry must be more reactive, more adaptable, and, above all, faster. Design, production, selection, marketing, and performance tracking are on a tighter schedule than ever before. Regional differences are being flattened as viral sensations cross borders indiscriminately.

We’ve already seen the impact with Pie Face and Speak Out. We’re now seeing it with fidget toys and the LEGO tape Nimuno Loops. Innovative products are picked up by big manufacturers, and then—in record time—pushed out globally to stunning success. We’ve seen it in a slightly different iteration with L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls, a toy inspired by unboxing videos and then pushed to market at break-neck speed. Again, to great success.

But I suspect that what will also happen is that fads will hit and burn out faster. Gone are the days when fads could rely on the slow percolation into remote regions. Just as product cycles have grown shorter, so will life cycles. Retail prices will fluctuate accordingly.

Unlike a decade ago, my son will tire of fidget toys at the same pace as his peers in New York City, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires.


April 26, 2017

Customization and User-Generated Content Impacts Canadian Toy Industry

Kids today are being raised in a technologically advanced digital world that provides the ability to personalize and customize their gaming and non-gaming online experiences.   87% of Canadian kids engage in Technology Play (on a computer or video game) and 77% in Mobile Play (on a smartphone or tablet) according to NPD Canada’s Kids Share of Time and Wallet Study.  Not only can kids create their own profiles for their favourite games and customize their characters, but in some instances they also have the ability to impact the gameplay experience themselves. 

A great example of this type of personalized gameplay is best illustrated by the online game, Roblox, which capitalizes on the increasing demand by gaming consumers for user-generated content, or UGC. Roblox has a whopping 48 million monthly visitors playing the over 22 million user-generated online games that have been created by the players themselves.  Given the growth Roblox has been seeing in both their user-generated community as well as the number of monthly players, they recently announced a licensing deal with toy manufacturer Jazwares, to launch a line of action figures and collectibles which are in stores now.

Action figure collectibles grew 60% in 2016 vs a year ago (NPD Canada Retail POS Toy Industry data), underscoring how important digital & online content is in fuelling merchandise sales, particularly in toys.  Many of the most popular selling collectibles in Canada are based on online games or digital apps such as Minecraft and Five Nights at Freddy’s.  Stikbot, a line of action figure collectibles by Zing Toys that allow kids to create their own stop motion videos to share online using the Stikbot Studios app, rose to be one of the top selling lines this past Holiday.

It is clear that kids are growing up with this technology, they know how to use it and it gives them the platform to not only be creative but share their inspirations with their friends and fellow gamers.  We expect to see more growth of these types of toys in the future as technology allows toy manufacturers and developers to integrate online and toy experiences in even more creative and possibly unexpected ways.



March 13, 2017

Toy Industry Predictions for Holiday 2017

Spring is in the air, but it’s also an opportune time for toy industry players to begin planning for the next holiday season. If 2016 is any indication, a fresh strategy will be even more essential for Holiday 2017.   

From January through November 2016, U.S toy sales grew a healthy 5.5 percent, positioning December for potentially high single-digit growth. But, December toy sales were less than expected, growing only 3 percent and actually bringing annual 2016 growth down to about 5 percent. What happened?

There were several factors contributing to the toy industry’s slowdown in December. However, the most significant area of concern was Week 51, the week before Christmas and Hanukkah, which had explosive growth of 28 percent. Why should the industry be alarmed by this?

With the week before Christmas offering two additional shopping days, one being a Saturday, consumers waited until the last minute to shop. As a result, week 51 was the largest sales-generating week of the year by ½ billion dollars over the previous top week and grew to represent 10 percent of all toy sales for the entire year. This happened in lieu of consumers spreading their shopping visits over several weeks. When there are fewer shopping visits, there is less cumulative spending.

The situation is even more critical this year, as Christmas falls on a Monday. Warm weather aside, to be in the best shape possible in 2017, toy retailers and manufacturers need to figure out how to create more excitement and generate additional shopping visits throughout the holiday season—not just the weekend before Christmas.

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service



January 17, 2017

Did you see what happened to the European toy market during Christmas week?

Did toy sales in the UK really increase 33% over Christmas week last year? Did France really jump 29%? And Germany, is it possible that toy sales spiked 47%?

Granted, I may have contributed to this days-before-Christmas madness myself because on December 23, I gave in and bought that radio-controlled car my youngest child coveted and which I had been resisting. Did everyone else in Europe have a similar experience?

In short, yes.

Let me set the scene: Weeks 48 and 49 were generally glum across Europe, as NPD’s weekly data make clear. Week 50, the year’s biggest week for toys in many countries, was decent.

And then came week 51.

It was frankly astounding. I know that I finished my shopping that week and bought my stocking fillers, taking advantage of being off-work for the holiday. Did everyone else do the same?

Of course, we knew that week 51 would be up over 2015 because Christmas Day fell on a Sunday this year, leaving a full week to shop before Christmas. In 2015, Christmas Day fell on a Friday, which means shoppers had two more days this year than last year. And two more days make a big difference when it comes to sales.

But two more days can’t entirely explain this. Here’s what also happened: There was no clear driver in the toys market this year and, importantly, on-line shopping may have skewed the shopping season.

Last year, we had Frozen and we had Star Wars driving the market. This year was more of an open playing field- with the exception of the global hunt for Hatchimals - so people didn’t decide quite as quickly. They waited. Apparently they waited until Christmas week.

And on-line shopping allowed them to wait with confidence. They trusted retailers in-time-for-Christmas deadlines and procrastinated until then. They trusted Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s click-and-collect deadlines; the pick-up slots on the final days were sold out. And of course, brick-and-mortar stores stayed open too, like Auchan, that closed at 11 pm on December 23.

So, what will happen in 2017? Will retailers open on Christmas Eve, which falls on a Sunday this year? Will on-line sites arrange for delivery on that Sunday? Personally I promise to be more organized…


December 13, 2016

Can Black Friday reshape the European toy market?

Black Friday is not a tradition in Europe.

In fact, it makes no cultural sense. We do not celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a working day. We do not rise at dawn to shop the Friday after Thanksgiving. It is a working day.

“What is Black Friday?” my mother asked me this year. “Explain it to me.”

Fair question.

But even though it makes no sense, Black Friday has become an event in Europe. It’s just a different event. Not only is it often called Black Friday in English, rather than, say, Vendredi Noir, but confusingly, it often doesn’t refer to a Friday at all. In the U.S., Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November, and Black Friday is specifically the day after. Here in Europe, we have Black Friday weekend sales or even Black Friday week sales.

Still, the concept seems to be catching on. More and more European retailers are participating, and some are reporting increased shopping. Argos, the largest retailer for toys in the U.K., reported that online sales were up 50% over Black Friday 2015.

And that raises some interesting questions for the European toy market. In the U.S., Black Friday is traditionally known as the day that retailers start to turn a profit (hence the name, as they move from red ink to black ink). It is the day that kicks off the holiday shopping season, with toys a huge part of that. Could Black Friday do the same in Europe?

If so, it could spread out toy sales over more weeks, which could be a particular boon in markets where consumers are known to shop at the last minute, such as Spain. This would not only help retailers resupply, which is impossible in a last-minute rush, but could it also increase the actual market size? With more weeks spent shopping, might people actually buy more?

Or could it delay consumers even further as they wait for the massive discounts before starting their holiday shopping and reduce market size as a result?

In the U.S., big-ticket items and electronics do particularly well on Black Friday. Might Black Friday change the mix of toys bought in Europe? Already, electronics retailers such as Currys PC World are reporting Black Friday sales in Europe up 40% over 2015.

And then there’s me. I shopped on Black Friday. I spent more than I planned on gifts for my children, but I also got more than I expected. I’m much poorer, but I’m a happy shopper. The data seems to indicate that I’m not alone.



December 8, 2016

Consumers are Paying the Price for Toys this Holiday

I had to do a double-take when I saw the data for U.S. toy sales during Thanksgiving week. While I predicted last month that higher-priced items would be a growth driver for the industry this holiday season, I don’t think any of us expected that 85 percent of the industry’s growth during this week would come from price-points over $20. Digging deeper into this price phenomenon, the story – believe it or not – only gets more interesting.

To put these figures into perspective, comparing Thanksgiving week this year to last, we see the gap that existed in higher price-points is now starting to be filled. The $30-39.99 range was underserved last holiday season, while this year it grew at the highest rate over this important week. The strongest dollar growth came from toys priced over $70.

 

NPD Group Chart | US Toy Sales

 

The top two categories driving growth in these higher price-points during Thanksgiving week both fall under the Outdoor & Sports Toys supercategory: Blasters/Foam Shooters & Accessories filled in the hole we saw in the $30-39.99 range last year, and Skates, Skateboards & Scooters drove most of the growth for the over $70 pricing. Looking back to last year, we may recall that the “hoverboard” types of skateboards were very popular until they were banned due to fire issues. With the issue now resolved, we’re seeing explosive growth once again with these items.

What’s driving this trend in higher-priced toys? It begins with the fact that the toy industry experienced growth over the last couple of years. With this growth, I believe both manufacturers and retailers are more open to investing in new ideas and taking risks. Success breeds innovation, which breeds more success and innovation, and the snowball effect continues to roll.

I also believe that retailers this holiday have become more bullish to higher price-points and accept that parents are willing to pay more for the climactic moment on Christmas morning, when their child opens that big gift under the tree.

There’s also a bigger picture trend at play that we’re seeing around the country and across industries. Consumers are building their personal brand on social media, whether through selfies on Instagram, videos on Facebook, and so on. They want to be part of a broader, social community in an individual way. We’re seeing that toys has a role in this development as well; parents and family members seek that big reaction on Christmas morning, to film and photograph and to share on social media for their family and friends to see. They seek that special reaction, and they are willing to pay a high price for it.    

Each week throughout the holiday season, NPD publishes its Holiday Shopping Bag 2016 Weekly Report, sharing weekly point-of-sale results for key general merchandise categories including toys, apparel, technology, athletic footwear, and prestige fragrances. Week after week, the story has been positive for the toy industry, and I expect this optimism will continue in the time to come.


July 5, 2016

The 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, the gaming industry’s largest conference, had a new flavor with the massive presence of VR (Virtual Reality) hardware.   There were many players demonstrating this exciting new way to experience gaming, with a big presence from Sony Playstation VR which will be available in October for $399.   Oculus also had a large presence with gamers lining up for more than an hour to experience the variety of games being demonstrated. The Oculus Rift although extremely fun, will not be affordable to everyone at the $599 price point.  Other VR options include the Razer HDKR at $399 and the Nyko VR Guardian at $99. After trying out several different VR experiences at the show, I can say I am a big fan and can’t wait to play more.

Speaking of hardware, Microsoft announced the Xbox One S, available in August, which is a slimmer version of the Xbox One but with double the hard drive at 2T, 4k support for Blu-ray/compatible media and can upscale games to a 4K output.  So if you have a 4K TV, want more space to store your games or DLC, or simply like the new look of the console and new gamepad, this is the console for you for $399.  Microsoft also announced their next gen Xbox console, Project Scorpio, set to launch for Holiday 2017, which will play VR games as well as play games in 4K resolution.  On the Microsoft games side, one of the standouts for me was Gears of War 4 and Forza Horizon 3, I myself a long-time fan of racing games.

Sony, who did not speak about their next gen console at E3, focused on Playstation VR and new 1st Party and 3rd Party games such a God of War, Days Gone and an exciting new Spiderman game from Insomniac Games.   My favourites for the Playstation VR included a spine-tingling demo of Resident Evil 7, survival game Far Point set in an alien world and Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing which is exclusive to VR and puts you right in an X-Wing cockpit.

Nintendo focused much of their entire E3 presence on one of their long standing key franchises, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is the first new Zelda game in two years.  The breath-taking open world game was brought to life at Nintendo’s booth with 140 demo stations where gamers waited sometimes up to two hours in line to try for themselves.  Like Sony, Nintendo did not talk about their new console, Nintendo NX which is said to be launching in March 2017, instead the focus was on new games and fan favourites on the Nintendo 3DS such as Pokemon for its 20th anniversary and Yokai Watch, which also has a tie-in with toy company Hasbro.

For the big game publishers, EA and Activision did not have their traditional large booth presence on the floor this year, so the West Hall felt a bit more lackluster than the usual hustle and bustle I have seen in year’s past.  However, the games that were on the show floor were impressive.  Ubisoft, for example, revealed a new game franchise called Steep.  For anyone who enjoys extreme winter sports such as base jumping and paraskiing, this is the game for you.  Ubisoft also showed off an impressive demo for Watch Dogs 2 and For Honor, the Viking 3rd person brawler and for VR, an exciting new game Star Trek Bridge Crew where you can play with friends and take command of the bridge.  One other noteable takeaway from Ubisoft was the announcement to take Assassin’s Creed to the big screen, coming to theatres this December featuring the popular Michael Fassbender.

Take 2 featured a beautifully created New Orleans style mansion including theatre to show off the intense new Mafia III as well as the new games from 2K Sports NBA 2K17 and WWE 2K17.  Let’s also not forget about Warner Bros who had an action packed showing featuring new Lego Dimensions expansion packs, Lego Worlds (think Minecraft meets Lego) and on the superhero side, the much anticipated Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the new Injustice 2 and for the VR experience Batman: Arkham VR.

And although Activision was not on the floor, they did hold a press conference to highlight the new Call of Duty Infinite Warfare (think Call of Duty in space) and Skylanders Imaginators where you can create and customize your own characters.  EA also hosted a separate conference to reveal new games for Star Wars, Titanfall 2 and FIFA 17 which features for the first time in the franchise a single person story mode.

Overall, even though this year’s E3 had a different feel to year’s past, it is clear that the industry is continuing to innovate and push forward into new frontiers.  The potential of the VR category is absolutely massive and only getting started, with a new round of next generation consoles approaching in 2017, and the sheer volume of triple A games being developed for this generation and the new generation to come, I continue to be amazed and predict nothing but positive growth for the category in 2016 and beyond.


June 13, 2016

The Story Behind The Numbers

Last month The NPD Group issued a press release focusing on the overall growth of the Canadian toy market in the first quarter of 2016. The release stated that the Canadian toy industry was relatively flat in Q1, posting an increase of just 1 per cent. However, the release also went out to suggest that the so-called “Target Effect” highly skewed growth metrics for Q1. For those of you who are not as familiar with the Canadian market, in 2015 Target announced that it would be closing all of its 133 Canadian stores and exiting the market. After the announcement the company swiftly implemented a number of markdown sales to reduce inventory and curb losses. The clearance sales led to a spike in toy sales, which thereby highly inflated growth in the Canadian toy industry. In fact, as a result of Target’s strategy, toy sales skyrocketed 23 per cent in Q1 of 2015 – hence the “Target Effect”.

Why does this matter?

Because when the inflated growth from Q1 of 2015 is removed the data suggests that the Canadian toy industry was in fact not flat, but actually grew by approximately 7 per cent in Q1 of 2016. This is quite the substantial difference. And while the “Target Effect” is a rare occurrence, it goes to show how easily data can be manipulated and misunderstood. For those of you who take great care in designing programs and strategies based on analytical data, it is also a good reminder to ensure you thoroughly understand the numbers that form the base of your decision making. At NPD, we work diligently to fully understand the story “behind” the numbers; to fully appreciate not only what ostensibly seems to be the case on the surface, but to understand the often overlooked nuances that can mean the difference between success and failure to your business.

The good news is that you are NOT alone. NPD has a number of industry experts who are able to guide you through the data the matters most to your business. So if you are unsure of how your data analysis is stacking up, simply reach out – we’re here to help!


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