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"Licensed merchandise is big business, valued at $111.4 billion, and character merchandise represents the lion’s share (12.1%) of it. Blockbuster movies, TV shows, and other forms of media content all drive enormous demand for character merchandise, but the industry needs to look for new avenues for growth to sustain sales during slower, off-peak periods."
- Diana Smith, Associate Director - Retail & Apparel

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Decelerated growth patterns
  • Toys and games in transition
  • Staying top-of-mind

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • The issues
            • Decelerated growth patterns
              • Toys and games in transition
                • Staying top-of-mind
                  • The opportunities
                    • Unleash the “little kid” in the big kids
                      • Embrace online and other emerging media outlets
                        • Explore themes of nostalgia, familiarity, and education
                          • What it Means for the Future of Character Merchandising
                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                            • Character merchandising outperforms broader licensed merchandise category
                              • Toys and games sit alone at the top
                                • Mass merchandisers and eCommerce seeing gains
                                  • More content and ways to view means more characters to love
                                    • Big buzz surrounding upcoming blockbusters
                                    • Market Size

                                      • Sector continues to post gains but sees slowdown in growth
                                        • Figure 1: Total US and Canada retail sales of licensed merchandise, at current prices, 2013-18
                                        • Figure 2: US and Canada retail sales of licensed merchandise, by product type, 2016 -17
                                    • Market Breakdown

                                      • Three product categories represent nearly half of sales
                                        • Figure 3: US and Canada retail sales and percent share of licensed entertainment/character-based merchandise, 2016-17
                                      • Discounters/mass merchandisers remain dominant channel, while eCommerce comes on strong
                                        • Figure 4: Share of US and Canada retail sales of licensed entertainment/character-based merchandise, by distribution channel, 2016-17
                                        • Figure 5: Retailers shopped, by select demographics, September 2018
                                        • Figure 6: Method of shopping, by retailer, September 2018
                                    • Market Factors

                                      • No notable growth expected for children’s population
                                        • Economic stability could lead to spikes during holidays and beyond
                                          • Traditional gender roles being challenged
                                            • More viewing options means more characters
                                              • Figure 7: Use of subscription online video content, August 2017
                                              • Figure 8: Influence of streaming services, by gender and age and parental status, August 2017
                                            • Blockbuster hits create demand
                                            • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                              • Long live the classics
                                                • Comic books face challenges
                                                  • Is it time for a resurgence of toys and games?
                                                    • What’s old is also what’s new and next
                                                    • What’s Working?

                                                      • Everyone loves a classic
                                                        • Figure 9: Estimated US/Canada retail sales and share of licensed merchandise based on entertainment/character properties, 2017
                                                        • Figure 10: Popular characters, September 2018
                                                      • Men and their superheroes
                                                        • Figure 11: Popular characters, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                      • Parents likely to pass down their favorites to their kids
                                                        • Figure 12: Popular characters, by parental status by gender, September 2018
                                                      • Mickey for young kids, Darth Varder for older kids
                                                        • Figure 13: Popular characters, by age of children, September 2018
                                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                                      • Comic books losing audiences
                                                      • What’s Next?

                                                        • The “big three” look to capture sales of toys and games
                                                            • Figure 14: Amazon Toy Catalog, October 2018
                                                            • Figure 15: Amazon’s Movie and TV Hub for character merchandise, October 2018
                                                          • Driving sales through events
                                                            • Mickey turning 90
                                                              • Figure 16: Target, Mickey and Minnie Mouse Collection, Email, May 2018
                                                            • Snoopy going to space
                                                              • Disney comes to the dinner table
                                                                • Properties to watch
                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                  • Not just for kids
                                                                    • Consumers say they prefer items with longevity, but their purchasing patterns don’t always reflect this
                                                                      • Young men will treat themselves
                                                                        • Tapping into nostalgia
                                                                          • Gravitating toward the familiar
                                                                            • Characters as children’s (and parents’) role models
                                                                            • Who’s Buying and Items Purchased

                                                                              • Young adults and parents are primary buyers
                                                                                • Figure 17: Items purchased – Any (net), by gender and age and parental status by gender, September 2018
                                                                                • Figure 18: Nonbuyers, by presence of children in household and household income, September 2018
                                                                              • Toys and games fall down on the list
                                                                                • Figure 19: Items purchased, September 2018
                                                                              • Except for toys, kids are not the primary recipient
                                                                                • Figure 20: Recipient of items purchased, September 2018
                                                                            • Reasons for Buying

                                                                              • Appealing more to kids and dads could help drive planned purchases
                                                                                • Figure 21: Reasons for buying, September 2018
                                                                              • Men love to gift themselves
                                                                                • Figure 22: Buys made for self-gifting or collectible reasons, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                              • Hispanics and non-Hispanic Black consumers respond to affordable prices
                                                                                • Figure 23: Buys made for self-gifting, rewards, or price reasons, by race and Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                                                            • Shopping Preferences

                                                                              • Consumers seek longevity and nostalgia
                                                                                • Figure 24: Shopping preferences, September 2018
                                                                              • One third of men 18-34 are collectors
                                                                                • Figure 25: Shopping preferences, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                              • Longevity of branded merchandise is important to parents
                                                                                  • Figure 26: Shopping preferences, by parental status by gender and children in household, September 2018
                                                                              • Attitudes toward Character Merchandising

                                                                                • Familiarity is important to drive purchase
                                                                                  • Figure 27: Attitudes toward character merchandising, by gender and age, September 2018
                                                                                • Hispanics generally positive about character merchandising
                                                                                  • Figure 28: Attitudes toward character merchandising, by Hispanic origin, September 2018
                                                                                • Characters can be good role models for children
                                                                                  • Figure 29: Attitudes toward character merchandising’s ability to encourage good behavior from children, by parental status by gender and presence of children, September 2018
                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                  • Sales data
                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                      • Purchase Intelligence
                                                                                        • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                              • Terms
                                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Total US and Canada retail sales of licensed merchandise, at current prices, 2013-18
                                                                                                  • Figure 31: US and Canada retail sales of licensed merchandise, by product category, 2016-17
                                                                                                  • Figure 32: Population by age, 2013-23
                                                                                                  • Figure 33: Population of children under 18, by race and Hispanic origin, 2018-23
                                                                                                  • Figure 34: Median household income, by age of householder, 2016
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-September 2018
                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Disposable personal income change from previous period, January 2007-August 2018
                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Median household income, by race and Hispanic origin of householder, 2016

                                                                                              This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.

                                                                                              • Market

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                                                                                              • Consumer

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                                                                                              • Brand/Company

                                                                                                Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.

                                                                                              • Data

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                                                                                              Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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