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LIMA Survey Reports 4.2% Gain in Global Retail Sales

Second annual Global Licensing Industry Survey reports that Character & Entertainment licensing remains the top category, accounting for $113.2 billion in retail sales in 2015.

NEW YORK -- The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association’s Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey is now available. Commissioned by LIMA, the leading trade organization for the worldwide licensing business, and conducted by Brandar Consulting, the second annual survey provides in-depth analysis and detailed breakdowns of the $251.7 billion global licensing industry. The full report quantifies worldwide royalty revenue and corresponding retail sales by product category, property type and geographic region. It also covers the latest trends and offers forward-looking analysis and other features that capture the scale of licensing around the world. Topline results from the survey were released in June during the 2016 Licensing Expo.

“After expanding our survey program last year, we’re excited to provide our industry with the latest edition of our comprehensive report, whose results and analysis can help guide licensing professionals in all markets in making the best strategic decisions for their business,” said LIMA President Charles Riotto. “I’m pleased to see this year’s report show an overall increase in retail sales and royalty revenue for the worldwide industry, with new growth and innovation to look forward to.”

As noted in the 2015 survey, this year’s results reveal Character & Entertainment to be the top property type, accounting for $113.2 billion in retail sales, a 44.8% share of market, up slightly from the previous year. Corporate Trademarks follow in second place with $52.8 billion in retail sales for a 21.0% share of the total.

In addition, the survey shows that the U.S. and Canada remain the largest global markets for licensed merchandise, with retail sales of $145.5 billion last year, up 3.9% for a 57.7% share of the market. Retail sales of licensed goods outside the U.S. and Canada totaled $106.35 billion, up 4.8% from the previous year. The next largest global region was Western Europe, with especially strong results in the U.K., Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where revenues totaled $51.8 billion, a 20.1% share, up from 19.8% a year ago. North Asia followed with revenues of $23.5 billion, a 9.3% share, vs. 9.1% last year. The report notes that the Asia Pacific regions of North Asia and Southeast Asia/PAC together charted revenue growth of 9.0% due to the growing middle classes and expanding retail infrastructure in China and India.

Apparel led all product categories with $37.9 billion in revenue, which is 15.1% of total global licensed retail sales, followed by Toys at $33.7 billion (13.4% share), and Fashion Accessories at $28.5 billion (11.3% share).

Omni-channel shopping is impacting retail in a big way, facilitating sales on numerous mobile devices convenient for shoppers. Qualitative responses clearly underscored the importance of online retail channels to future growth and driving greater efficiencies in traditional stores. They also indicate an enhanced understanding between “bricks & clicks” in enabling consumer purchases.

The full LIMA Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey is available free to LIMA members at and priced at $750 for non-members. Click here for more information and to order a copy of the report.

Source: International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.