Canadian Toy Sales Surge Prior to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Launch
On Friday December 18 an entire galaxy of crazed fans will finally get what they’ve been waiting for – a chance to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the first time. The film – which is being dubbed as the most anticipated movie launch of all time – has already had a remarkable impact on the Canadian retail sector. And nowhere is this more evident than in the toy industry.
After the Force Friday launch event in September, a new wave of Star Wars toys flooded the market causing an unprecedented spike in toy sales. According to NPD’s Toy Retail Tracking Service, dollar sales for the week of Force Friday were up an astonishing 271 per cent. Furthermore, dollar sales for the week following Force Friday were also up 230 per cent.
Not surprisingly, that momentum has carried through October and November into what is now the peak holiday shopping season. Star Wars is now the top grossing property in the Canadian Toy Industry year to date, up a whopping 66 per cent versus last year. Sales volume has tripled compared to last year, thanks in large part to the three most popular Star Wars toy categories: Building Sets, Action Figures, and Vehicles.
“After the initial success of Force Friday, there was some uncertainty as to whether or not the record breaking sales figures were sustainable,” said Michelle Liem, Director of the Canadian Toys Division at The NPD Group. “However, with only a few weeks left until Christmas, and under a week until the movie launch, Star Wars Toys are continuing to fly off the shelf.”
And while Force Friday provided an initial surge in sales, 30 per cent of overall Star Wars sales this year have occurred since the beginning of November when the holiday shopping season officially kicked into high gear. On Black Friday, total Star Wars toy sales doubled from 2014, making it the number one selling property in the toy industry.
The top selling Star Wars items for Black Friday were:
- Sphero BB-8 Droid
- LEGO Star Wars Millennium Falcon
- Star Wars Black Series
- Air Hogs Star Wars Millennium Falcon remove squad
Even Disney’s Frozen, which was last year’s most popular toy property, has not been able to keep pace with Star Wars. In fact, Star Wars sales this year are 60 per cent higher than what Disney’s Frozen sales were at this same time last year, although Disney’s Frozen is still the second most popular property in the toy industry this year with sales up 24 per cent versus last year.
“There is really no other toy property that can compete with Star Wars at this point,” said Liem. “And while the novelty will likely wear off once the film has been released, we expect consumer demand will remain stable throughout the first quarter of 2016.”
As the movie launch quickly approaches, it’s safe to say that the Canadian toy industry may be in for its most successful year ever. If consumer demand for Star Wars toys continues throughout the end of the year it is anticipated that total sales for 2015 could reach a whopping $1.8 Billion, which would represent a 7 percent growth rate for the industry in Canada, outpacing the US growth rate that is anticipated to be approximately 6 per cent.