Yo-kai Watch, Frozen Helped Raise 2014 Toy Sales in Japan by 7%

posted on by Egan Loo
Plush toys, strong Christmas season also credited

GfK Marketing Services Japan reported that toy sales in Japan rose 7% in 2014, compared to the previous year. GfK noted that Christmas season sales were particularly active in 2014 compared to 2013.

Strong market segments include boys' toys, which rose 23%, and plush toys, which rose 13%. By contrast, girls' toys dipped 6%, and games dipped 9%. Yo-kai Watch helped boost the sales of both boys' toys and plush toys, and Disney's Frozen film helped sales of plush toys as well as children's dresses.

Thanks to increased Christmas season sales in Japan, sales in the third and fourth weeks of November rose 11% and 25%, respectively, compared to the same weeks in 2013. Sales also increased 31% in the fourth week of December, which included Christmas Day itself. Sales were particularly strong between December 23 and 25.

Bandai Namco projected in November that it will garner 40 billion yen (about US$350 million) in toy and hobby sales from Yo-kai Watch in the fiscal year ending in March 2015 — higher than Gundam in second place with 22 billion yen (US$190 million), and Kamen Rider with 20 billion yen (US$170 million).

Nikkei Trendy magazine named Frozen as the best hit product of 2014 in Japan, followed by Yo-kai Watch in second place. Frozen's 43 tie-in books moved a total of 2.131 million copies in Japan in 2014, while the Yo-kai Watch 2 Ganso/Honke Official Kōryaku Guide (Yo-kai Watch 2 Founder/Head Official Strategy Guide) sold an estimated 941,412 copies to be the top-selling book overall in Japan in 2014.

Game developer Level-5 announced the Yokai Watch franchise in 2011 with a game, manga, and anime already planned. The franchise's first game for the Nintendo 3DS debuted in Japan in July 2013, and two versions of the Yo-kai Watch 2 3DS game shipped in July. A third version titled Yo-kai Watch 2: Shinuchi (Yo-kai Watch 2: Headliner) shipped on December 13, and ties into the anime film now playing. The anime premiered last January. The manga has four volumes that have sold 1.5 million copies.


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