24 January 2023:

Traditional toys come out on top for the UK’s £3.6bn toy market


  • Plush toys (soft toys) was the best performing category, up a significant 29%, supporting the performance of the toy industry in challenging times
  • Products in traditional categories like Action Figures, Building Sets and Vehicles drove sales
  • Toy prices remain competitive with the average selling price at £10.54
  • Christmas shoppers left present buying until the last minute with week 51 up 15% on the previous year
  • Specialist toy and game retailers drove sales up in Q4
  • 2023 set to be a strong licencing year as Disney celebrates 100 years, Star Wars doubled figures in 2022, and movie releases from Barbie, Transformers, and Super Mario are predicted to drive sales


The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA), organisers of the Toy Fair, and The NPD Group announce their annual industry insights at Toy Fair 2023, held at Olympia London, from the 24th to 26th January.

Against a challenging economic backdrop in 2022 that saw UK toy sales decline three percent to £3.6bn, it was traditional toy categories – plush (soft toys), building sets, action figures, and vehicles – which drove toy sales, with all four categories seeing positive growth during the year. The best performing category of 2022, plush (soft toys), up a significant 29% YoY, delivered exceptional results for the toy industry due to its popularity with a wide audience, and its collectability appeal.

2022 saw the top toy properties going to the classics Star Wars, Marvel Universe, and Barbie, and the fastest growing went to Squishmallows and Jurassic World. Licensed toys grew for the fourth consecutive year, up by 5.5%, now accounting for 31% of the market – the highest ever share.

The average selling price of a toy now at £10.54, shows that toys remain accessible all-year round purchases. In 2022, consumers increasingly favoured toys that cost between £30 and £50 suggesting that people were making more considered purchases. Toys were and remain available to suit a wide range of budgets.

The UK toy industry has continued to deliver toys and games for consumers at affordable prices during 2022 amongst high levels of inflation, and a cost-of-living crisis” commented Kerri Atherton, Head of Public Affairs at the BTHA. “Last year, new product innovations were vital to driving sales in the UK toy industry which led to growth in the plush toy category. With a strong line up of new releases for 2023, the UK toy industry has signs to be optimistic about the year ahead.


Melissa Symonds, Executive Director, UK Toys, from The NPD Group added, “New licenced properties like Gabby’s Doll House and classics like Star Wars drove major sales throughout 2022. With Disney celebrating their 100th anniversary and movie releases such as Barbie, Transformers, and Super Mario, 2023 looks set to be another good year for licenced toys, an instrumental part of the UK toy industry.”

Christmas shoppers appeared to leave their shopping until the last minute this year with week 51 results up 15% on the previous year. This increase could be attributed to customer expectations of potential issues with home delivery which meant high street toy and game retailers enjoyed an uplift of in store sales during Q4. In store purchases increased throughout the year with offline sales accounting for 51% of the UK toy market, an increase of 6% from 2021. Online sales are still ahead of where they were before the pandemic, when online sales accounted for just 35% percent of the market.

Melissa Symonds, Executive Director, UK Toys, from The NPD Group commented, “In 2022, we saw consumers returning to make more purchases in store during the year. Consumers are increasingly choosing to shop with specialist toy stores, which saw an uplift of 16% in sales, with consumers seeking out large product ranges offering choice and value.”


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Visit the website: https://www.toyfair.co.uk/

Follow Toy Fair on Instagram & Twitter at: @toyfairuk

Notes to Editors

Source: The NPD Group / Retail Tracking Service / YTD Nov 2022 vs 21


About Toy Fair

Toy Fair is the UK’s largest dedicated toy, game and hobby trade exhibition taking place at Olympia London. The event takes place over three days at the end of January each year and plays host to hundreds of exhibitors, from startups to some of the biggest toy companies, launching thousands of new toy lines.

Toy Fair 2023 takes place from Tuesday 24th – Thursday 26th January. Press day is Tuesday 24th January. To register for a press pass, visit www.toyfair.co.uk.

Please note the opening times are 09:00-18:00 Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th, and 09:00-17:30 Thursday 26th January.


About the BTHA

The British Toy & Hobby Association was established in 1944 to represent the interests of British toy manufacturers and to raise standards of practice in the industry. Today it has around 150 members ranging from international toy giants to small family-run businesses that together account for more than 80% of the UK toy market. Membership of the British Toy & Hobby Association shows the member’s commitment to adhere to the BTHA Code of Practice under the umbrella of the Lion Mark which includes rules covering ethical and safe manufacture of toys, toy safety, a ban on counterfeit goods, an assurance to market responsibly, a commitment to improving sustainability and a desire to promote the value of all play through support of the Make Time 2 Play campaign. Our members are manufacturers committed to making good quality toys in a responsible way. The BTHA also administers the Toy Trust – the industry’s charity.


About The NPD Group, Inc.

NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 19 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, foodservice, footwear, home, home improvement, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup