The French Toy Market – An Insider’s Look

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 first eight months of 2023. Mr. Fresnel bases his comments upon data from NPD, La Revue du Jouet, the French Toy Federation, and his observations and opinions.

Yann has 30 years of experience selling Toy products to European retailers and e-retailers. He has worked for companies like Berchet (Smoby), Newell Brands, BERG Toys, and SmarTrike.

Yann started his toy sales consultancy in May 2021. He named it Toy Influence . The company represents foreign Toy firms in Europe and France. He conducts direct sales and marketing with retailers / e-retailers, as well.

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

The French toy market has so far this year delivered disappointing results. As of the end of July sales were -4%. The main driver, the “Outdoor Toy” category, was strongly impacted by terrible weather in spring and, again, lousy weather in the West/North area in July.

Inflation is still a handicap (+5% price increase in toys but 12% in food). In addition, French consumers spent more money on energy, gasoil, and food than last year.

Births are still decreasing (623 000 in 2022, -100 000 in 10 years). 2023 looks not good, with 24,000 less births in the first 6 months.

Of 11 super categories tracked by NPD, only four categories were up.

Electronic Junior +6,6%

Games & Puzzles +4,4%

Plush +2,3%

Construction +0,4%.

Growing segments are linked to Kid adults who like collectibles, trading cards (Pokemon, too), and adult puzzles. 60% of the sales will be done in the next four months.


Only two outdoor products made the top 10, play houses from Smoby came in 8th and 10th.

Pokemon card has three products: Numbers 2, 3, and 5.

Skyjo from Blackrock games (card game) was number 1


Smyths Toys has rebranded all their 41 shops early 23 (old PicwicToys)

Joue Club (300 shops) bought La Grande Récré (137 shops), keeping two brands (Joue Club is more in the suburbs/family, and La Grande Récré is more in the center of town/children. They keep too all contracts with Total and Club Med (corners).


It has been quite a good year again with vigorous activity with movies. The top licenses are POKEMON, Paw Patrol, Marvel, Barbie, and Star Wars. Barbie was a hit in August.


Advertising on TV was down. Companies are advertising less because children watch on streaming platforms like Netflix or Disney+.

The Christmas catalog is an institution, and 93% of families with children receive it. For footprint carbon reasons, it could change in the future. Reading digitally or using an actual catalog is different as children write, draw, or cut images of products they want for Christmas with their parents.


Made in France” accounts for 14-15% of total sales (stable). Buyers are giving these products T more visibility with their Fairs, media coverage, and space in Christmas catalogs.

Kid-adult games are growing, representing nearly 28% of total toy sales. The adults are buying regularly, and the average price is high. They have a unique space in Christmas catalogs (Games and puzzles, collectibles, and building with licenses).

For Christmas 2023, licenses, like Paw Patrol, will be a crucial driver in theatres, and some novelties could make numbers (Bitzee from Spin Master or Furby from Hasbro).

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