Global retail sales of licensed goods and services rose by 3.2 percent in 2018. Licenses are more than ever a rewarding business for brand owners.

The international association Licensing International (formerly Lima) collected the data as part of its Annual Global Licensing Survey. According to the survey, 280.3 billion dollars in licensed goods and services were sold worldwide last year. This is almost nine billion dollars more than in 2017. The five-year comparison in particular impressively shows the importance of licenses. During this period, the industry recorded a 16 percent jump in sales. Licensing products in North America are the biggest contributors. The USA and Canada accounted for 58 percent of the products and services sold. Particularly strong growth markets are Latin America, North Asia and South Asia/Pacific. Here sales increased by more than five percent. “The Global Licensing Study 2019 shows that licensing remains an important part of the consumer market and a versatile tool for brand owners and licensees to creatively build their businesses,” said Maura Regan, President of Licensing International.

In what areas have licenses generated the most revenue?

For brand owners, trading licenses is a rewarding business. Licensing International estimates the revenues for rights owners at $15 billion in 2018, an increase of nearly four percent. Disney, Warner Bros. and Hasbro are among the largest licensors of merchandising products. It is interesting to take a look at the distribution of sales with products related to licenses. The entertainment sector generates by far the most revenues, namely around 122.7 billion dollars. This is understandable, as well-known characters play a major role and are very popular, especially in the TV and series sector. This is followed by corporate brands with 58.8 billion dollars. In third place are licenses and their products in the fashion sector (32.2 billion dollars), followed by sports with 27.8 billion dollars.

Stationary trade clearly ahead of online trade

By contrast, the toy sector suffered a decline of 2.1 percent in the license business. Licensing International attributes this, among other things, to the market disruptions caused by the insolvency of Toys R Us in the USA and other markets. Most of the business is still done with products and services related to licences in the stationary trade. Local shopping accounts for 79 percent of the proceeds. E-commerce accounts for 21 percent – a figure that has remained unchanged for three years. This is remarkable. After all, worldwide online trade is growing steadily. While international e-commerce sales in 2018 amounted to EUR 1.6 trillion, just under EUR 1.8 trillion is expected for this year. This figure represents an increase in turnover of over eleven percent. These figures show impressively that the buyer apparently wants to see, touch, compare or try on licences.


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Link: The international association of the licensing industry Licensing International has surveyed the worldwide sales of licensed products and services.

Image: Hasbro