UK toy industry enjoys sales boost and predicts top sellers of 2017
The average UK child received £350 worth of toys last year, figures suggest, as toys by Lego, Playmobil and Spin Master were predicted to be the top sellers of 2017.
Two police command centres, one by Lego and the other by Playmobil, are among the best new toys named at The Toy Fair, an annual trade event at London's Olympia.
Spin Master - which was behind last year's hit Hatchimals - made the list of potential best sellers for 2017 with the Paw Patrol Terrain Vehicle Rescue set, a Build a Terrible T-Rex Head, a Sensory Discovery Robot and a Mobile Vet with Hanoverian Foal.
The UK toy market saw a 6.3% rise in sales last year, taking the market's value to more than £3.5 billion for the first time, according to figures released on Tuesday by market researchers the NPD Group and the British Toy and Hobby Association.
On average, £350 was spent on each child aged up to nine, with an average toy price of £8.35.
NPD said the growth in the market was largely driven by the popularity of collectables, which has seen a year-on-year increase of 44% and accounts for almost one out of four toys sold.
It said the UK trend of year-round toy buying was "relatively unique" in comparison to the continent, with just 22% of sales taking place in December.
Frederique Tutt, global industry analyst for the NPD Group, said: "It has been a good year for the UK toy market. £3.5 billion makes the UK the fourth largest market in the world and 2016's growth has surpassed the US at 4.7% and France at 1%.
"As well as collectables, the games and puzzles sector has driven growth with a year-on-year increase of 21%."
British Toy and Hobby Association chairman Jon Diver said: "Naturally we are delighted to see the UK toy industry returning significant growth despite the political uncertainty last year.
"We were pleased to hear Prime Minister May confirm last week that the Government is set to provide clarity to the Brexit process which was concerning many of our members.
"Our industry is innovative and creative and to sustain growth we look forward to more clarity on the process of Brexit, particularly the relationship with Europe on free trade agreements, customs union access and favourable tariffs with WTO members."