Insights in the European toy market

Despite market challenges including the rise of video games and declining birth rates, the toy industry experienced a comeback in 2020 - 2021. The pandemic resulted in an increased demand for home entertainment, as well as high-quality and eco-friendly toys.

What constitutes the toys market?

Toys are intended mainly, but not exclusively for the entertainment of children. In general, the toys market can be divided into the following segments:
  • Games and puzzles
  • Outdoor and sports toys
  • Infant, toddler and preschool toys
  • Dolls
  • Building sets
  • Action figures and accessories
  • Youth electronics
  • Vehicles
  • Explorative & other toys
  • Plush

The European toy market size

The European toy market is the third-biggest market in terms of toy sales after North America and Asia. In 2020, the European market size was estimated to be $24.6 billion. The annual spend on toys per child was estimated to be $212 in Europe that year.
Source: The NPD Group – The NPD Group’s Global Toy Market Report Annual 2020
Toys Infographic

The biggest toy markets in the Europe

In 2020, the five European markets with the highest revenue from toys were:
  • The United Kingdom with around €3.8 billion worth of revenue
  • Germany with around €3.6 billion worth of revenue
  • France with around €3.3 billion worth of revenue
  • Italy with around €1.2 billion worth of revenue 
  • Spain with around €0.9 billion worth of revenue 
 *Source: NPD/Global Toy News – The European Toy Market 2020 and digital Trends 2021

Up-and-coming markets within Europe

According to experts from Global Toy News and a study from NPD, all European markets recorded a growth in online toy sales in 2020 - 2021. Partly due to the pandemic, consumers increasingly started buying toys online instead of offline. 

The further North you go in Europe (UK, Germany, Netherlands, Nordic countries), the bigger the e-commerce market is for toys. The Northern European countries have also seen the strongest increase in online sales. In southern Europe (France, Spain, Italy, Portugal), the online toys market is smaller, but still growing.

* Source: NPD/Global Toy News – The European Toy Market 2020 and digital Trends 2021

How to get ahead in the European toy market

The following trends are expected to drive the toys market forward in the coming years. If you play by these rules, you are bound to come out as a winner in the online toys market.
  • Eco-friendly toys are becoming more popular. The manufacturing of traditional toys, the development of sustainable products from natural materials, and the avoidance of harmful substances like glue, screws or tapes due to associated health and safety risks all form part of this trend. Furthermore, locally produced toys, recyclable plastic toys, rented and reused toys are on the rise.
  • Quality over quantity means consumers value more expensive products and spend more money on fewer items. The European volume of sales is declining slightly, but the average price is climbing.
  • Technology is revolutionising the toy market: children have become increasingly familiar with digital content and technology. Toys with digital components now have the greatest appeal, and toy sellers would be wise to keep this in mind when creating their portfolio. 
  • Marketing investment is more important than ever. If you want to win this game, you must create an outstanding customer experience across all channels. Younger shoppers are especially attracted to social media and video content. Therefore, the world’s winning toy brands should invest in virtual experiences, augmented reality, community-building, digital showrooms and hyper-personalisation.

Inspired to boost sales in Europe?

Are you ready to tap into the European toys market and boost your e-commerce sales? Spring GDS offers a cost-effective shipping solution that serves consumers throughout Europe and beyond. Get in touch with our team to see how we can handle cross-border shipping, customs clearance, customer returns and more, all in one single portal.

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