Survey: Worldwide Sales of Licensed Material Surpasses US$280 Billion in 2018

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The entertainment and character sector, in which book publishing operates, held the largest position in global licensing, according to a new survey from Licensing International.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Licensin’s Wide Reach’
A new report indicates that in 2018, global retail sales of licensed merchandise and services grew to US$280.3 billion. That’s a 3.2-percent increase over the $271.6 billion generated in 2017, according to key results of the  fifth annual global licensing survey made available by Licensing International—the trade organization for licensing formerly known as the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association or LIMA.

The study was commissioned from Brandar Consulting and reflects steady growth year-over-year, with a 16-percent expansion of licensing revenue over the five years the survey has been conducted.

Royalty revenue for brand owners rose to US$15 billion, an almost 4-percent increase year over year.

In terms of geographical concentrations, the United States and Canada accounted for 58 percent of worldwide consumption of licensed goods and services, the report says, with $162.6 billion, up 3.1 percent from the prior year.

Latin American, northern Asian and southern Asian-Pacific markets logged in the strongest year-over-year increases in licensing business, each showing growth of more than 5 percent for the year.

Image – Licensing International

 ‘A Vital Part of the Consumer Marketplace’

Survey respondents reported that an average of 79 percent of their business came from brick-and-mortar stores in 2018, compared to 21 percent from online sales. Those are the same average percentages reported in the prior two years.

In terms of content categories, sector results looked like this:

  • The entertainment/character sector accounted for $122.7 billion, or 43.8 percent of the total global licensing market
  • Corporate brands showed the most sector growth, 5.5  percent year over year) of the top four sectors with $58.8 billion or 21 percent of the overall business,
  • Fashion was the next largest sector at $32.2 billion, 11.5 percent
  • And sports were fourth, at $27.8 billion and 9.9 percent

In product categories:

  • Apparel accounted for 15 percent of the total
  • Toys for 12.6 percent
  • Fashion accessories for 11.5 percent

The global toy sector experienced the largest decline in 2018, down 2.1 percent from 2017, in part because of market disruption from the bankruptcy and liquidation of the Toys R Us chain of stores in the States and several other markets.

In a prepared statement for the report, Licensing International president Maura Regan is quoted, saying, “The 2019 Global Licensing Survey drives home the fact that licensing continues to be a vital part of the consumer marketplace, and a versatile tool for brand owners and licensees to creatively build their businesses

“This year’s results highlight licensing’s wide reach, value and potential in both developed and growth markets.”

In coming weeks, Regan and the organization are to make the full report free to members and at a sale price of US$975 to non-members.


More from Publishing Perspectives on licensing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.

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