Toy imports for October suggest holiday shoppers are not buying regular toys. Total imports fell 1.4% on a year earlier, but this includes a 1.3% growth in high price-point videogames – the remainder fell 1.8% and are down 3% for the July to October period. The growth in imports of drones, which increase 87% on a year earlier in October, likely drew sales away from Star Wars products which dropped 57%. The latter dropped from first to sixth place among major brands / categories. Ben 10 jumped to second place from fifth, while Barbie moved to first from second a year earlier.
Toy imports to the U.S. normally peak in October ahead of the holiday shopping season, Panjiva data shows. The data for the month continues to suggest retailers are not expecting significant increases in purchasing by consumers – imports were 1.4% lower than a year earlier.
One area of growth has been video games, which increased 1.3% as a result of increased Xbox imports as discussed in Panjiva research of November 14. The higher price point of these vs. other toys may explain why other toy imports fell by 1.8%. That said, that is the slowest rate of decline for non-videogame toy imports since July, bringing the July through October imports to a 3.0% decline on the same period a year earlier.
Among the major brands, Star Wars related products have seen the biggest decline. Imports dropped 56.9% on a year earlier in October, falling to sixth from first place in the rankings of major brands and bringing the four month total decline to 45.7%. While the next film in the franchise is not due until December 14, this is a few days earlier than the previous film’s release last year. This suggests retailers do not expect an rise in purchases, or have surplus inventories from earlier in the year.
While not entirely toys in the HS categorization, imports of drones have increased 87.3% on a year earlier, driven in part by substitution from digital cameras. As discussed in Panjiva research of November 10, Toys’R’Us are aggressively buying in the category and accounted for 59% of imports in October. If counted as a toy brand they would be in fourth place behind Fisher Price.
Imports of Lego products fell 27.8% in October, suggesting it is still not passed its supply chain issues, with the result it dropped one place in the rankings. Nerf has also struggled, with a 21.4% decline and also falling by one place. Success stories have included Ben 10, which jumped 64.6% in October and reached second place behind Barbie. The latter experienced an 18.9% drop in volumes – possibly due to the growth in American Girl imports – but moved to first place due to Star Wars’ problems.