The French Toy Market; A 2020 Review

We in the United States can be well served if we have inside information on other toy markets. I am therefore very pleased to report that Yann Fresnel, a top French executive in the Toy & Baby industry, has agreed to write about his home toy market “France” with a complete overview of the 2020 year. Mr. Fresnel’s comments are based upon data from NPD, the French Toy Federation and his own observations and opinions.

Yann has 26 years of experience selling Toy & Baby products to retailers and e-retailers in all of Europe. He has worked for companies like Berchet (Smoby), Newell brands, BERG Toys, and Smartrike. He is available for the General Manager or Country Manager France/Europe (strong sales background) positions for those who wish to further develop the European market. You can learn more about Yann on LinkedIn or by calling him at +33 6 48 94 02 05, or emailling him


The French toy market is delivering stable 2020 results. Despite a very difficult year, according to the NPD group, the French toy market was only down 1.5%.

The market is clearly moving to e-Commerce (strong sales due to 2 lock downs in Mid-March / Mid-May and all of November) and more and more omnichannel selling. The French consumer want to buy whenever they want, all time and in the way they want. (ship from store, Click & collect, Dropship are trends).

Although unit volume decreased by 8%, the average price grew by 7% to nearly 18 Euros on average. People have clearly moved to more expensive items and away from inexpensive impulse buying.

During the first lock down (Mid-March to Mid May), toy shops were closed. Only Hypermarkets and Supermarkets were allowed to open. The market therefore was down 12% in the first quarter, driven mainly by online sales. The weather was very good all spring, and people were outside playing. Some categories were really booming. Big outdoor games (houses, slides, trampolines, outdoor gardening games), puzzles and games (family moment) did particularly well.

Since mid-May (with the reopening of toy stores) to the end of October, the market has been coming back every month (an increase of about 15% in five months) and returned to stable figures at the end of October. Some other categories showed growth: Construction (+6%), Electronic Junior (+5%), and Preschool (+1%).

Due to lock down, the market was down 9% in November, but December was very strong all channels), and we ended the year down 1.5%. Due to two lock downs, toy stores were down13% for the year (down 9% online) while Hypermarkets finished down 8%.

French online sales have increased by 27% and gained 6 points (26 to 32% of total French sales).

In super categories, we have three big winners:

  1. Puzzle and Games, growing by 10% and having now 18% of global sales. First super-category in France and with a strong sales forecast for next year. Hasbro and Mattel have three classic games in the top 10 sales (La bonne Paye, Uno, and Monopoly).

2. Junior electronics is growing +6%, with Vtech having three products in Top 10 sales. (Kidicom Advance N°2 and KIdizoom Duo DX N°3). New comer Lunii is top N°1 sales with ” Fabrique a Histoires”

3. Construction games are growing 5% (Lego is N°4 with Super Mario Pack)

Licenses were only 22% of French sales (theatre closed, movies canceled or postponed)

French Toys “made in France” are still growing fast and are nearly 15% of total sales.

Two new young Digital Native Vertical Brands companies are disrupting this toy market: and They produce in France with local suppliers and respect their environment with recyclable plastic. They give back a % of their sales to children in need or caritative associations This is a trend for the future, and people expect suppliers to be eco-responsible.

In 2020, some new consumers were discovering or re-discovering games and the fun to share them with the family. 2021 should be better, and we are eagerly waiting for a baby boom in T2.

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