Duel between Harry Potter and the ‘jedi’ for control of toy stores | Culture

A boy dressed as R2D2 looks at some Lego figures from 'Star Wars'.
A boy dressed as R2D2 looks at some Lego figures from ‘Star Wars’.KONTROLAB (LightRocket via Getty Images)

Sound clash of magic wand and lightsaber in full view of the world. The characters of Harry Potter Y Star Wars They are fighting for a share of proven solvency in the toy market. Action figures, collectibles, stuffed animals and costumes that expand the millionaire sagas of JK Rowling or George Lucas. Although these authors, and many others, have long sold their rights to large corporations such as Warner or Disney. These firms are in charge of licensing entertainment objects, manufactured by third parties in exchange for a royalty, and that dye their income statements in blue Klein in the time of the empty rooms. In the absence of computing the last few weeks, last year the toy industry generated global sales worth 80,000 million euros according to Euromonitor International, a company specializing in market analysis. Around 23% of this volume corresponded to products that operated under license. And that, on this night of kings, they will invade many houses throughout Spain.

In fact, that percentage rises three points in Spain. In this country, the licensed article grew 12% in December compared to 2020, double that of the conventional toy. It did so fueled by recent screen premieres, rare in the pandemic year and which constitute the latest season of insatiable commercial strategies with a global impact. The products of Harry Potter (Warner) are at the top of sales, followed by those of Star Wars (Disney), Jurassic Park (Universal Studios), Frozen (Disney) and The Avengers (Marvel). A classification in line with the rest of Europe, as Fernando Pérez, a consultant for the NPD Group and a specialist in the sector, points out: “These are trends that operate fairly homogeneously throughout the world. You have to take into account that behind this data there are large business groups that spread their networks ”.

A customer observes a stuffed animal of Hedwig, Harry Potter's owl.
A customer observes a stuffed animal of Hedwig, Harry Potter’s owl.SOPA Images (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett)

Another thing is manufacturing, where aspects of the local economy are involved. Licenses related to cinema or television represent 34% of the toy business in Eastern countries, as was the case in Spain until 2010. “At that time there were fewer national brands with their own product. Before platforms, which have fragmented the audience, a license guaranteed business success. Children are no longer waiting for two series, but about twenty. And not all of them work equally well as a toy. Choosing which one to put on the market is therefore more important than diversifying ”, analyzes Pérez. The problem is that the exploitation rights are left to the discretion of the intellectual owner, who can stop renewing a contract. That is what happened with Famosa, the main Spanish licensee of Spider-Man until Sony terminated the permits to grant them to the American company Hasbro.

As a counterpart to the fickle nature of the licenses, the manufacturer enjoys certain media attention for the support of the audiovisual industry. “This ensures visibility in the market”, concedes Pérez. Distributors and platforms usually warm up their engines before a premiere with the presentation of the main characters in society. So the toy has already carved out its own niche even before the show or movie in question is ever shown. Something like that happened with The book of Boba Fett, penultimate installment of the infinite universe of Star Wars, which recovers a bounty hunter who appeared decades ago in the original trilogy of Star Wars. His return was proclaimed in the series The Mandalorian, where Disney squeezes the fiction of Lucasfim that he bought for 3,125 million euros in 2012.

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Detail of a figure of Goku in 'super saiyan' mode, from 'Dragon Ball Z'.
Detail of a figure of Goku in ‘super saiyan’ mode, from ‘Dragon Ball Z’.Pacific Press (LightRocket via Getty Images)

The ship of The Mandalorian produced by Lego has smashed sales records and has 15,400 ratings on Amazon US with an average rating of 4.9 out of five stars. The stories of JK Rowling are also bought by cubic pieces, which two decades after their premiere on the big screen are returning to the counters – physical and digital – of many toy stores. In this case, thanks to HBO, which launched on January 1 Return to hogwarts, special about how it was made Harry Potter which comes accompanied by the Trivial of the saga, a pack of five stamps or the iconic magic wand with an LED light tip. Special mention should be made of the Funko: big-headed vinyl dolls that, in addition to collecting the image of Yoda (Star Wars) o Dobby (Harry Potter), are inspired by the Iceman (Marvel) and the Pikachu creature from Pokémon.

“Funko is a perfect example of how culture kidult [anglicismo que fusiona las palabras niño y adulto] It has become more powerful in recent years. They are products that lack a game pattern and are bought with a collectible intention, placing them on a shelf or on the office desk ”, says Pérez. These and other toys more geared towards children are mostly purchased offline (67%), in stores and supermarkets, according to a Deloitte X-ray. Lidl, Aldi and Alcampo supermarkets lead a robust discount sector that impacts buyer perceptions and sensitizes them to the slightest price variation. A recent presence will shape the future of the industry: online entertainment – from video games to a subscription to Spotify or audiovisual platforms – is the fifth Christmas gift most in demand by children and young people according to the aforementioned Deloitte study and is gaining ground to the toy as a traditional object.

A girl looks closely at some toys from the 'Frozen' saga.
A girl looks closely at some toys from the ‘Frozen’ saga.Valery Sharifulin (Valery Sharifulin/TASS)

Each Spanish household estimates an expenditure on these dates of 631 euros, well above that of English and German families, who will spend 511 and 356, as indicated by a barometer from the PwC audit. All of Europe, yes, will invest more this Christmas thanks to the accumulated savings during the pandemic. A circumstance that does not prevent dark predictions in the cultural toy sector. John Baulch, editor of the British magazine Toy WorldHe wrote in his headline: “While retailers and manufacturers have learned to deal with the blows in these tough times, many licensors stick to the practices and fees they enjoyed in more prosperous times.” And he added next line: “The window of opportunity for a purchase closes quickly when the premieres crowd together.” To the duel between Harry Potter and the jedi other celebrities will soon join the control of toy stores.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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