August 3, 2021

An Analysis of the Kidz Global Study 2021

What’s Cool with the Kids These Days?

Kids’ consumer interests can change and evolve rapidly as new trends and IP emerge onto the licensing scene. From breakfast cereals to cartoon characters, what IP is resonating with 2021’s key youth age groups?

Licensing International commissions a bi-yearly study with research by Kidz Global / BrandTrends in order to gain insights and important takeaways within the children’s market share. 

Check out what we learned from the Kidz Global Study (April 2021) to understand more about why the children’s licensing market matters, what brands and IP are resonating most, and emerging trends on the rise.

Children Love Licensed Products

According to Statista, 29% of children’s merchandised products in the United States are licensed!  

Furthermore, children ages 3-5 represented the largest age group for licensed sales at 30% of the children’s licensing market, with children 6-8 as the second largest group with 23% of the share (Source: License Global).

In particular, the leading licensed products for children are clothing, followed by toys, games, and puzzles; party supplies; and books. 

Amazingly, around the world, Kids & Digital found that 49% of kids’ free time involves something digital. This may contribute to the popularity of IP in video games, TV, and other visual and digital media!


Kidz Global Study 2021: Fast Insights


Takeaway #1: A few distinct licenses lead the children’s market, and competition to break into the top quartile is tough.

When children in the US ages 0-14 were surveyed, 12 licenses made up the top 25% of responses mentioned. That’s less than 1% of the total licenses that exist on the market! 

According to BrandTrends Entertainment, this means that there’s a high level of concentration around a small number of licensees in an otherwise busy and complex market. 


Takeaway #2: Children prefer IP from TV Shows more than IP from any other category. 

In the age of Saturday morning cartoons, dedicated children’s TV networks, and the rise of children’s entertainment in digital streaming, it’s clear that children recognize characters and IP from TV more than any other category of entertainment!

This again indicates a concentration around a very small number of highly successful licenses.

In second place after the TV shows category stands books, and third place belongs to celebrities.

Another interesting point to note, according to Kidz Global, is that the books category records the largest growth in numbers of licenses (+183) since the previous reporting period in Oct. 2020.


Takeaway #3: The classics hold up: The top 10 most mentioned licenses were probably around when you were a kid, too. 

Tom & Jerry rules in the United States for children 0-14. Likewise, Nike and Spongebob Squarepants complete the top 3.


Takeaway #4: Tom & Jerry is the most popular IP among children in the U.S. ages 0-9, and Nike is the most popular between ages 10-14.

The top 10 most mentioned licenses were mentioned more frequently than they were in Oct 2020, in the previous study, indicating more fragmentation in the U.S. market since six months ago.

Top Licenses by children’s age groups (U.S.):

Ages 0-2: Tom & Jerry, Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer

Ages 3-6: Tom & Jerry, Spongebob Squarepants, Nike

Ages 7-9: Tom & Jerry, Nike, Spongebob Squarepants

Ages 10-14: Nike, Tom & Jerry, Spongebob Squarepants


The top 10 amount to 21.5% of all mentions vs. 20.9% in October 2020.


Takeaway #5: LEGO is the most popular brand with children globally.

Around the world, Lego is the world’s favorite entertainment brand. Lego is now worth $7.57 billion and is the most valuable toy brand in the world too! They’ve had a 45% increase in mentions from children surveyed in North America since Oct 2020.

Graphic Source: Linkedin

Where You Can Learn More

Information in this post, as well as the images and data visualization, are via BrandTrends Entertainment and Licensing International using data from the Kidz Global Study 2021. You can learn more about accessing the full information here.

Children’s interests hold a large part of our market share with distinct highly concentrated trends. At roughly 30% of the licensed product market, understanding their preferences, and the consumer behavior of those purchasing on their behalf (hi, mom, dad, and grandparents!) is key to any licensor aiming to tap into the children’s market. 

Related Articles