Merchandise Sales Pick Up Globally

By Robert Marich
   Jan. 28 2013—Revenue of licensed merchandise rose 5.2% globally in 2011, growing after painful contraction in recession that included a 10.9% decline in 2009, according to New York researcher EPM Communications. Merchandise licensed from brands ranging from movies to sports teams to celebrities amounted to $150.8 billion in sales at retail in 2011, according to EPM’s International Licensing: Status Report-Seventh Edition.
   A free copy of the executive summary of the Seventh Edition is available (see link at bottom).
   Though growing, licensing increasingly coalesces around well known properties, creating a Haves and Have-Nots schism. “It is more difficult than ever for properties outside the Disney/Marvels, Hello Kitties, and Star Wars of the world—along with a number of niche and homegrown properties in each territory—to secure retail shelf space,” says the EPM report.
   Reflecting the power of Hollywood and American popular culture, 64.6% of retail sales of licensed merchandise are based on properties from the United States and Canada. Local properties do achieve success in home countries, and Europe and Asia do have some international champions.
   The BRIC emerging economics (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are achieving healthy growth, although from small bases. Licensed merchandise revenue in Russia skyrocketed 34.7% in 2011, but still only amounted to just $270 million. Meanwhile, economically stagnant Western Europe—which is a large market—shrank 1.9% in 2011.
   Celebrity licensing—sports heroes, reality TV personalities and movie stars—continues to gain momentum, after igniting in the United States 10 years ago. The acceptance varies by region as, for example, in Western Europe celebrity properties are strong sellers in the north, but less so in the south.
   Notes the EPM report, “Brazil has a diverse celebrity-licensing sector comprised of TV presenters, telenovela stars, and others; India has Bollywood superstars and cricketers launching licensed signature merchandise; Korea has its popular K-Pop musicians; and so on. On the other hand, some territories, such as Australia/New Zealand, have seen very little celebrity licensed merchandise, despite the interest in celebrity news and gossip. Much celebrity-based licensing activity is localized.”
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in $ billion-2009 VERSUS 2011-or % change        
TERRITORY  Retail sales 2011   Retail sales 2009  % share 2011 % change 2009-11  
U.S./Canada  $97.01 $97.63 64.6% -0.6%    
Europe  $24.44 $23.81 16.3% 2.6%    
Asia  $17.37 $17.09 11.6% 1.6%    
Latin America  $5.68 $5.62 3.8% 1.1%    
Australia/NZ $3.82 $3.76 2.5% 1.6%    
Mid East/Africa/Other  $1.86 $1.86 1.2% 0.1%    
TOTAL:  $150.80 $149.77 100.0% 0.7%    
NOTE: Numbers may not add up exactly due to rounding      
Source: The Licensing Letter