UK leads Europe in licensing with $818 million in royalties

Research released by The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) to coincide with this week’s Brand Licensing Europe exhibition reveals that the UK leads the way in Europe as a market for retail sales of licensed merchandise and is the second largest licensing market after America.


Sales of licensed products in the UK achieved record levels of $14.04 billion last year, amounting to some $818 million in royalties for brand owners, up from $682 million over the past four years. Internationally successful film and TV exports like Harry Potter and Peppa Pig have contributed massively to this success, along with key sporting brands.

According to LIMA’s Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey released in July, the global licensing industry is worth $271.6 billion, an increase of 3.3% compared to the previous year and overall growth for the third year running.

Harry Potter licensed travel mug by Half Moon Bay

Character & Entertainment continues to be the top property type, accounting for $121.53 billion in global retail sales, (44.7% market share). Corporate Trademarks follow in second place with $55.77 billion in retail sales (20.5% market share).

Apparel led all product categories with $40.67 billion in revenue (15% of total global licensed retail sales), followed by Toys at $36.12 billion (13.3% share), and Fashion Accessories at $31.04 billion (11.4% share).

The U.S./Canada is the largest global region for licensed merchandise, with retail sales growing to $157.66 billion last year (58% market share). The strongest growth came from North Asia (up 6.2% to $26.05B) from China/HK and Japan, and Latin America (up 7.6% to $10.72B), led by Brazil. Business in the Middle East/Africa region grew at an above average rate of 4.0% with two countries from this region – Nigeria and Egypt – cracking the top 50 for the first time.

The UK market reaped around 5.6% of the total royalties taken from worldwide sales, ahead of Japan, Germany and China/Hong Kong.

LIMA president, Maura Regan, said: “It is right then to look at the role of the UK as a catalyst within the global licensing community, both as a highly valuable market for licensed retail sales and also as a provider of licenses which generate royalties in markets around the world. These figures show how well the UK is positioned as a global trading hub for licensed product, whether you are a buyer, a seller or a retailer.”

The licensing market has seen solid growth over the past couple of years, with global retail sales of licensed merchandise growting to $262.9 billion 2016, a 4.4% increase over the $251.9 billion reported for the prior
year. This increase outpaced the 2.9% growth rate observed for overall retail sales worldwide and the majority of it was driven by the entertainment/character category, along with Celebrity, Art and Music. This reflects the trajectory of the movie industry, with $38.6 billion in global ticket sales achieved in 2017.

a scene from the Peter Rabbit movie: Penguin and Sony are developing a licensing campaign for the UK, Ireland and beyond, while Peter Rabbit 2 is in CGI production.



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