Sixth Consecutive Year of Growth in 2019 Set a Solid Foundation for Licensing Industry Ahead of Global Pandemic, according to Annual Survey from Licensing International
Global sales revenue of licensed merchandise and services grew to $292.8 billion in 2019, a 4.5 percent increase over the $280.3 billion generated in 2018, according to topline results of the 6th Annual Global Licensing Survey, released today by Licensing International. The 4.5 percent growth is the largest percentage increase for the industry during that period. (The complete report, including regional and country-by-country breakdowns for major markets, will be made available free to all Licensing International members this summer.)
While there’s no doubt that the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic that began in China in late 2019 is currently impacting global business of all sorts, this report shows that the licensing industry entered 2020 with a strong, productive, and profitable business model that bodes well for continued success as the world economy works its way out of the shockwave that interrupted commerce for all but essential goods.
Even as people around the world were living under the effect of shelter-in-place and other directives that decimated retail sales, the power of trusted brands and well-known licenses have been all around. For example, families have busied themselves with licensed puzzles and games, and consumers around the world have emerged with cloth face coverings sporting children’s and adult characters, sports logos, trademarked sayings, fashion brands, artwork and any number of other designs and motifs that showcase their individuality.
Licensing International commissioned Brandar Consulting, LLC to conduct the survey for the sixth straight year. The survey results have shown steady growth year-over-year, with a 19 percent leap in sales and related revenue over the course of the six years the survey has been conducted.
The entertainment/character sector remained the leading market share category by far, accounting for $128.3 billion, or 43.8 percent of the total global licensing market. The second-largest sector was corporate brands with $60.1 billion (20.5 percent), slightly down from 2018 (21 percent) due to below market growth. Fashion followed with $33.8 billion (11.5 percent) and sports ($28.9 billion, 10 percent) rounded out the top four.
Apparel (15.1 percent), toys (12.2 percent) and fashion accessories (11.9 percent) continued to lead in the breakdown by product category, with both accessories (+8.0%) and apparel (+5.1%) showing strong above market growth and share gain. Retail sales of Licensed Toys & Games showed slight growth of 1.2% — well below the overall industry rate. As the nature of childhood play continued to change with the migration to online play and entertainment, the impact on the traditional Toy & Games category persisted this past year.
The fastest growing sectors in 2019 were Art (+10.0%) and Non-Profit (18.0%). Strong growth in Art came in part from rapidly growing print-on-demand companies & online “maker markets” licensees, such as Etsy. Much of the growth in the Non-Profit space came from not-for-profits seizing licensing as a way to generate much-needed funds at a time when contributions are under pressure.
The U.S. and Canada held strong at 58 percent of worldwide consumption of licensed goods and services with $169.7 billion (up 4.5% from 2018), while the Northern Asia and Southern Asia/Pacific markets experienced the strongest year-over-year increases in licensing business, each showing growth of more than 5% for the year.
“The 2020 Global Licensing Survey underlines the continued growth of licensing in both developed and growth markets, as well as in both historically big and small categories,” said Licensing International President Maura Regan. “The numbers also illustrate the solid foundation that the licensing business model offers to businesses of all sorts as they work through the impacts of Coronavirus this year and eagerly await the ‘next normal’ we all will face.”
As noted, the complete report will be made available free to all Licensing International members this summer. Non-members will be able to purchase the survey for $975 at www.LicensingInternational.org.