Disney Consumer Products Hits $54.7B in Retail Sales as Top Global Licensor of 2018

The Lion King (1994) - Still 1 - Walt Disney Pictures Photofest - H 2019
Walt Disney Pictures/Photofest

The company topped License Global magazine's annual survey boosted by the strong performance of content from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm.

The Walt Disney Co.'s Disney Consumer Products unit has repeated as the top licensor in the world in 2018 with $54.7 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide, according to an annual ranking by License Global magazine. That is up 3.2 percent from $53 billion in 2017.

WarnerMedia's consumer products unit came in fourth with $11 billion in sales, followed by toy maker Hasbro with $7.1 billion in sales, and Viacom's Nickelodeon Consumer Products with $5.5 billion in the ninth spot.

Hollywood brand licensing was impacted last year by entertainment industry consolidation as AT&T acquired Time Warner, Disney nabbed 21st Century Fox assets and all eyes were on a possible Viacom-CBS recombination.

The 2018 merchandise, licensing and publishing sales for Walt Disney did not include Fox's consumer products business because those retail sale figures weren't available to License Global in time for the latest survey. So Disney's ranking instead reflects its own merchandise sales in 2018 for Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War from the Marvel universe, the Star Wars franchise and Pixar's Coco.

WarnerMedia, formerly Warner Bros. Consumer Products, in the 2018 ranking moved to fourth place from a year-earlier seventh place and $7 billion in retail sales after the merchandise-heavy Cartoon Network and other animated properties were moved into its orbit.

Likewise, Viacom Nickelodeon Consumer Products is the former Nickelodeon business that now includes TV properties like MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures. And Hasbro last year included a contribution from Power Rangers, My Pet Monster and other entertainment brands acquired just before long-time licensor Saban Brands shut down in July 2018.

Other top licensed merchandise players include The Pokemon Company International in 23rd place with $2.98 billion in sales, Entertainment One and its Peppa Pig kids property coming in 27th place with $2.5 billion in retail sales, and Mattel making it to 30th place with $2 billion in sales.

And first-time licensors to make the License Global rankings include BuzzFeed in 132nd with $135 million in merchandise business from its brand licensing division, and Crunchyroll, the anime brand, in 138th place with $100 million in sales.