Toronto, ON, January 27, 2020 – The NPD Group today announced Canadian retail sales of toys increased by 10% or $223 million to $2.4 billion. Unit sales for the year declined by -3% and the average selling price increased by 14%*. The increase in average price was a key driver of the growth in dollar sales and was driven by a shift in product mix to higher-priced categories as consumers moved from in store to online shopping.
Akin to the U.S. and other regions worldwide, much of the growth in 2020 was directly correlated to the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing consumer behavior associated with widespread lockdowns and school closures, the disposable income diverted from other types of entertainment to toys.
The combination of consumers being cautioned to shop early to avoid online order shipping delays, December closures of non-essential retail and potential product out of stocks resulted in sales being pulled forward, ahead of the critical December month. September, October and November combined accounted for 4 share points more of total toy sales than those months did in 2019 (31% versus 27%,) while December lost 4 share points of total year versus 2019 (21% vs 25% in 2019.)
Change in Monthly Share in 2020 vs 2019
“The growth we saw in the Canadian toy industry over the last year once again demonstrates how resilient toy sales are, especially during difficult times,” says Joan Ramsay, Industry Analyst for Canada Entertainment for The NPD Group. “While the total sales increase of 10% is certainly impressive given the circumstances, the U.S. toy industry managed to grow by 16% in the same time period. One of the major reasons for the incremental growth south of the border was the distribution of federal stimulus checks which led to a direct increase in sales starting in April.”
The top dollar growth super categories in 2020 were outdoor & sports toys, (+28%), games and puzzles (+27%), building sets (+14%), and arts and crafts (+11%). The top properties of 2020 included L.O.L. Surprise!, Barbie, Star Wars, Pokémon, and Marvel Universe. The top five properties combined accounted for 13% of all toy sales on the year.
*Source: The NPD Group/ Canadian Retail Tracking Service, January-December 2020 vs. 2019