We in the United States are well served when we have inside information on other toy markets. I am delighted 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 2022. Mr. Fresnel bases his comments upon data from NPD, the French Toy Federation, and his observations and opinions.
Yann has 28 years of experience selling toy & baby products to retailers and e-retailers across Europe. He has worked for companies like Berchet (Smoby), Newell brands, BERG Toys, and Smartrike.
Yann launched his toy sales consulting firm, “Toy Influence,” in May 2021. His company represents foreign toy companies in Europe and France, conducting direct sales & marketing with retailers / e-retailers.
The French toy market got off to a good start in 2022, with a +9% increase in April. Summer was weaker, with a -11% decline from June through August. Currently, the market is flat with last year but +5% compared to pre-covid 2019.
Unit volume has decreased 12% this year, but the average spend per toy increased from 13 to 14.70 Euros.
Strong inflation (+5,9% in France) with a substantial increase in energy and gasoline, food prices, and war in Ukraine are worrying French consumers. There could be a recession in a few months. As a result, people, except those in the 25 to 40 age group, are spending less on toys.
Of 11 super categories tracked by NPD, 5 of them have had positive results driven by movies. They are: (+18% action figures), (+10% electronic junior), (+8% vehicles), (+3% building), and (+2% plush).
Licenses are back to super levels, setting a record (23% of total sales). Popular movies and licenses are driving the increase. The top licenses are Pokemon, Paw Patrol, Barbie, Marvel, and Harry Potter.
Two trends to watch out for are “Made in France (14% of sales in 2021) and Kidult games. We will know how big the factor they played when we have the final end-of-year figures.
KING JOUET has transformed all of its Maxi Toys shops into King Jouet in France this summer. They now have more than 320 stores in FRANCE.
LA GRAND RECRE is opening 105 stores-within-a-store in Casino Hypermarket shops.
Retailers are in +6% in sales, and clearly, people are back to the shops (compared with last Spring’s lock downs.
French online sales decreased 14% after strong growth in 2020 when brick-and-mortar shops were closed for months due to lockdowns. E-commerce represents 27% of total French sales.
The last four months of 2022 will drive 50% of total toy sales for the year. The economic situation is challenging, and people will be open to promotions and good deals.
We should see those buying trends for this Christmas :
Jurassic Park/Dinos and all about Mangas are expected to be popular movies, and we anticipate good results for the year resulting from them.
Cooking Roll Play is very popular due to all the Cooking shows on TV and French expertise.
Trading cards, gaming, and vintage games will be very popular with Kidults (a strong trend in France, especially in December).