Mattel Buzzing, Hasbro Makes Most of Marvel as Toy Import Season Starts — Panjiva

Supply Chain Research

Mattel Buzzing, Hasbro Makes Most of Marvel as Toy Import Season Starts

Cons. Discr. - Durables 509 Cons. Discr. - Retailing 463 U.S. 5310

The competition among retailers to secure toy sales this year is heating up, with Target having launched in-store Disney franchises while Walmart has launched a new online experience and the Toys’R’Us brand is being relaunched online, CNBC reports.

Panjiva data shows that the toy importers to the U.S. by sea have boosted imports by 13.1% year over year in September, reaching a level normally associated with nearer peak levels in previous years.

As well as reflecting competition there may also have been a desire to complete imports before the imposition of additional tariffs on Chinese exports. That may not have been necessary given the recent improvements in U.S.-China relations, outlined in Panjiva research Oct. 15, may have cut the likelihood of those tariffs from mid-December.


Chart shows U.S. seaborne imports of toys on a seasonal basis.  Source: Panjiva

That raises the challenge that importers may have started imports too soon and either brought in the wrong items or conversely under-importing higher potential products. As was the case for Halloween costumes, the winning brand in terms of growth has been in toys related to Toy Story where September imports of 2,500 TEUs were highest since at least 2007 with result that 3Q imports overall were 3.5x the level of a year earlier. 

Marvel franchises also did well – in part due to the completion of the Avengers series as well as Captain Marvel and Spiderman movies – with a 48.3% surge in shipments in 3Q despite a slow start to the quarter.

Star Wars-related toys have had a better year in terms of imports with a 34.3% rise in 3Q, potentially linked to the final main-sequence movie “The Rise of Skywalker“. Imports are still well below 2017 levels however.

By contrast some traditional brands have done less well with Lego-related imports down by 12.5% year over year while those linked to Disney more broadly also fell by 12.5%.

Most of the major brands are associated with Hasbro or Mattel. Shipments linked to Hasbro improved by 9.1% as gains from Marvel were offset by lower Disney shipments as well as and older brands including Nerf.

Imports linked to Mattel meanwhile saw a surge of 27.8% year over year in 3Q, likely due to the jump in Toy Story-related shipments as well as a meanwhile has Toy Story and resurgent Fisher Price where there was a 17.6% rise in imports.


Chart compares U.S. seaborne imports of toys associated with Hasbro and Mattel as well as selected brands on a monthly and three-month average basis.  Source: Panjiva

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