Yann Fresnel, Our French Connection

The United States is 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 Industry, has agreed to write about his home toy market “France” with a complete overview of the 2022 year. Mr. Fresnel bases his comments upon data from NPD, the French Toy Federation, and his observations and opinions.

Yann has 29 years of experience selling Toy products to retailers and e-retailers in Europe. He has worked for companies like Berchet (Smoby), Newell brands, BERG Toys, and SmarTrike.

Yann started his toy sales consultancy, in May 2021. Hed named it Toy Influence It represents foreign Toy firms in Europe and France.

He conducts direct sales & marketing with retailers / e-retailers.

If you are looking to invest in France and enter direct to retail, you can learn more about Yann on LinkedIn or by calling him at +33 6 48 94 02 05 or emailing him at yann@toyinfluence.com

The French toy market delivered disappointing results in 2022 with a -2,6% sales decrease. It is still a good number compared to 2019 (before COVID) +2,1% sales increase.

French consumers bought very late this year (not like 2021 when they anticipated shortages). Causes included bad news with the war in Ukraine, economic stress, and strong inflation (+6,2% global but less in Toys). In addition, people spent time watching TV in November/December with the Football world cup (France was in the Final), and even the weather was too hot for this season. October was -16%, and November – was 12%. The market was down -6% at the end of November.

December was good (+4,4%) with one more weekend and especially a big rush last week before Christmas (+18%). December was 28,6% of total sales in 2022 (26,8% in 2021).

Total revenue was 4.4 billion Euros, making FRANCE the top 3 market in EUROPE with Germany and UK and the top 5 worldwide.

Unit volume decreased by 11%, but the average spend per toy increased by 10% to 18.2 Euros (inflation). Toys over 30 Euros retail increased by +3%, and Toys below 20 Euros retail decreased by 9%

Novelties were 21% of total sales (+2%).

Of 11 super categories tracked by NPD, three only were up (8 last year). Electronic Junior was +14% (smaller category with 3% of global sales), action figurines were up +9% (6% of global sales), and building +3% (13% of global sales). Games & Puzzles are still category N°1 with -3% (19% of global sales)


Physical shops represented 73% of toy sales while online was 27%

Hypermarkets have been doing less in recent years, and non-food sections are being operated by specialists (CASINO with LA GRANDE RECRE as an example). They decreased sales by 5%

Toy Specialists / Multicultural gained market share (sales increased by 2%)

French online sales decreased by 7% after solid growth during COVID time (+24%) (shops were closed for some months due to lockdowns). E-commerce represents approximately 27% of total sales.


The Lego Group (+2%), Mattel (up), and HASBRO (down) are two of the top 3 players. The top 10 are doing more than 50% of global sales.


It has been a good year again with strong activity with movies. The top licenses are POKEMON (+ 2 digits), VTech baby, Paw Patrol, Barbie, and Harry Potter.


Made in France” accounts for 14% of total sales (stable). They have more and more visibility with their Fairs, media coverage, and space in Christmas catalogs.

Kid-adult games are really growing, representing more than 20% of total sales. (+4% age twelve+). They have a special space in Christmas catalogs (Games, Figurines, building with licenses).

Second-hand toys are really booming with new companies (online) and offline, like King Jouet Ocaz ( 7 units). Toy specialists are mixing classic new toys and second-hand ones in their shops.

People are reusing toys for carbon footprint and price level. 10% of the volume is second-hand toys.

A new law in France has gone into effect with eco participation for suppliers/distributors to collect toys (6000 points). They want to avoid 100 000 Tonnes of toys going to the rubbish and create jobs for reusing them. This is a strong trend for the future.

As a result of COVID, price increases, and the ecological impact of climate change, the trend is to work on carbon footprint and reduce costs that result from the long-production process in China.

Toy suppliers are producing more and more in Europe (even private label will go more and more in Europe).

An important new European Toy Show, “ Direct Sourcing Toys & Games,” will be held in Amsterdam (easy access) from 10th to 12th October 2023. 

It will be organized like in Deauville (France), with booked meetings in a private room. 50 Toy suppliers will meet 150 European retail Buyers for private label & FOB.

For 2023, there is a trend of producing “Micro” Toys.

Disney will have strong activity with the 100th anniversary. Some movies like “Astérix & Obélix,” Spiderman, Transformers, Barbie, Ninja Turtles, Paw Patrol, and Star Wars should push Toy sales.

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