25 January 2022:

Market down three per cent on 2020 but up two per cent on 2019; Toy Fair to play a key role in kickstarting 2022 in toys


The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) (organisers of the Toy Fair) and The NPD Group announced today at Toy Fair in London that UK toy sales declined by three per cent in 2021 to £3.2bn. In what has been a turbulent year for the industry, the UK toy market has shown remarkable resilience in comparison to pre-pandemic figures, and although there was a fall in 2021, overall, the market is up two per cent on 2019.

Despite the drop at a market level in 2021, some toy categories grew last year including Plush, up 9%, and Vehicles, up 7% YoY. Top properties for toys in 2021 included classics like Barbie, Star Wars and Paw Patrol as well as fast-growing properties such as Pokémon, Bluey and Minecraft. The last week of trading prior to Christmas also registered 35 per cent growth YoY, with December up two per cent, indicating UK consumers do tend to buy toys at the end of the year.

“The toy industry faced huge challenges in 2021 including, but not limited to, supply chain concerns and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” commented Roland Earl, Director General at the BTHA. “Despite these hurdles, the UK toy market has held relatively firm compared to pre-pandemic figures and there are signs to be optimistic about the year ahead with some categories showing growth and a strong line up of new releases for 2022.”

Melissa Symonds, Executive Director, UK Toys, from The NPD Group added, “Last year the UK toy market managed to retain 35% of the value it gained in 2020, with seven out of eleven categories up compared to 2019 figures. Even more impressive is that licensed toys grew for the third consecutive year, reaching 28% of the market – the highest ever share. With a raft of toyetic film releases due this year, as well as the continued strong performance of streaming, YouTube, and video game licenses, 2022 looks set to be a good year for toys.”

Toy Fair, the UK’s largest dedicated toy, game and hobby exhibition, is home to more than 260 exhibiting companies, thousands of new toy launches, and is one of very few trade exhibitions taking place in January in the UK in any sector.

“After cancelling Toy Fair in 2021 due to the pandemic, it is great that we are able to facilitate businesses coming together at Toy Fair this year,” added Roland Earl. “For small and medium-sized businesses, events like Toy Fair are essential to do business as it creates an opportunity for companies to network and reach new customers which can’t be replicated online. We look forward to seeing these meetings resume over the next three days.”

To ensure the health and safety of attendees, the government’s guidelines for indoor events are being strictly enforced. The Toy Fair organisers have taken every precaution for a safe and comfortable visit – including the mandatory wearing of face coverings, demonstration by all participants of their COVID-19 status before entry, multiple hand sanitising stations and enhanced cleaning schedule throughout the show. Roland Earl added, “Olympia London is a large, well-spaced and well-ventilated venue. In conjunction with the venue, it is fantastic to be welcoming our participants to attend an event they’ve so dearly missed.”

Toy Fair takes place at Olympia London from 25-27 January.


Follow the latest Toy Fair news on Twitter at @toyfairuk. Toy Fair is the UK’s largest trade exhibition dedicated to the toy, game and hobby market. The event opened at the Olympia in London on 25th January and remains open until Thursday 27th.



Notes to editors:
For more information please contact
[email protected]
Toy Fair Press Office (Tuesday 25th – Thursday 27th January): 020 7598 6514
Bastion Office: 020 3927 6430

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 2022 takes place from Tuesday 25th – Thursday 27th January. Press day is Tuesday 25th January. To register for a press pass, visit www.toyfair.co.uk.

Please note the opening times are 09:00-18:00 Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th, and 09:00-17:30 Thursday 27th 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