NEW YORK, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- American International Toy Fair -- LEGO Systems, Inc., the North American division of the world's leading construction toy manufacturer, today announced unprecedented growth in the U.S. market in 2009. Brand momentum achieved in a challenging 2009 economy is attributed to the brand's heritage in delivering exceptional, long-lasting play value through a well-balanced product portfolio that drove growth in both the preschool and 4+ category segments.
2009 Year-end Highlights (source: The NPD Group / Consumer Tracking Service)
- +31% increase in consumer sales over 2008 marks fifth consecutive year of U.S. consumer sales growth
- Gained nearly one full share point in overall U.S. toy market, to a record high 3.9%, moving up in manufacturer ranking to #4
- #1 rank in U.S. construction toys further bolstered with category share increasing +5 points to 78%
- +90% increase in U.S. preschool construction and +33% increase in 4+ construction sales
- Strongest growth rate of any top 10 U.S. toy manufacturer
"Our success last year and its resulting momentum make us confident that there is room to further the development of the LEGO brand in the U.S.," said Soren Torp Laursen, president, LEGO Systems. "Last year's sales prove that consumers are buying more LEGO sets, but even more exciting is that our research reveals that it's being driven by parental understanding of the long-term value that LEGO play delivers at a time when they are shopping smarter and less impulsively for toys."
Sustaining the growth
In a related announcement, the company unveiled a dynamic line of construction toys for children of any age and all interests that has the company poised to maintain the momentum of its core business. Expanded distribution, marketing and product development in its LEGO DUPLO preschool brand will further tap the market potential in preschool construction, while continued development of the hottest licenses in the industry brings new audiences, heightened relevance and communications opportunities with children of all ages.
"For the first time in years, consumers are embracing the LEGO brand across all of our themes and offerings," Laursen continued. "There was a time when parents told us that strong licenses and video game extensions were their top reasons for choosing the LEGO brand; and while they are an incredibly important part of the LEGO business and its growth, we are thrilled to see that our classic offerings and homegrown themes are also now cited as business drivers in the minds of parents and children."
Playing in a new category
The company announced that it is taking its play pattern and values into a new U.S. toy category in 2010 with 10 premium constructible board games aimed to capture share of the children's games category. Each of the 10 LEGO Games leverages classic board game play of guessing, strategy, memory, logic and chance to offer a new way to play with the LEGO brand. The first five LEGO Games are due to release online on March 1, and all 10 will be available August 1 in the board game aisle at retail.
"With the core of our business stronger than ever, we have the good fortune to explore ways in which to translate the LEGO values into new ways to play with the brand," Laursen said. "We are confident that the LEGO brand will bring new energy to the board games category, and we're bullish about our ability to grow the brand beyond construction toys."
LEGO Systems Inc. (LSI) is the Americas division of the LEGO Group, a privately-held firm based in Billund, Denmark that is the world's leading manufacturer of construction toys. The company is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough." For more information, visit www.LEGO.com
LEGO, the LEGO logo and the minifigure are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2010 The LEGO Group.
LEGO Systems, Inc.
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