Toy sales expected to decrease two per cent in 2019, says industry analyst

TORONTO — On the eve of the start of the U.S. holiday shopping season, the prospect for 2019 toy sales has worsened following a slow start to the fourth quarter, an industry analyst said Wednesday.

BMO analyst Gerrick Johnson says full-year U.S. toy retail sales are expected to decrease by two per cent from 2018, compared with his prior forecast of them being flat.

The industry is down 5.5 per cent through the first nine months of the year, a bigger decline than BMO anticipated.

Sales compared to a year ago when retailers offered aggressive promotions in their fight for the 15 per cent of the market that was up for grabs with the closure of Toys R Us stores in the United States.

With more inventory at stores and in warehouses, as well as a shift to online shopping, store sales need to increase sharply to avoid liquidations at the end of the quarter that would reduce margins, he said.

Meanwhile, Pop Pops Snotz from Yulu, L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Dolls from MGA Entertainment, and Blume dolls from Skyrocket headed Johnson’s top 10 toy list for the holiday season.

Juno My Baby Elephant from Canada’s Spin Master ranked fourth.

The rest of the list includes X-Power Dozer from Jakks Pacific, Pinkfong Baby Shark Official Song Puppet from WowWee, Hot Wheels Mario Kart die-cast vehicles and track sets from Mattel, The Heroes of Goo Jit Zu from Moose Toys, Buttheads figures from WowWee and Princess dolls inspired by Disney’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet” from Hasbro.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2019.

The Canadian Press