Star Wars, M&Ms, and The World Cup might seem like an eclectic mix but they share one commonality – product licensing. The licensed product industry, ranging from movies to fashion labels to global sporting events, was valued at US$263 billion globally in 2017. This is a marketplace that has no plans to slow down, with each passing year more prosperous than the last.
The entertainment and character category dominates licensed product retail sales. This segment, largely driven by box office hit movies, accounted for US$118.3 billion in 2016, making up 45 percent of the total value of the licensed product market2. We have witnessed its wild success through films like animated hit movie, Frozen, which accumulated $1.3 billion at the box office and pulled in approximately the same amount in merchandise sales.
The growth and popularity of the licensed product market come with its own set of challenges. Tight deadlines for product launches that sync with movie releases and the short life cycle of certain licensed products can prove to be a logistics challenge.
Adapting to consumer behavior worldwide is another challenge when marketing licensed products. The e-commerce and m-commerce boom is an important trend to consider. A secure e-commerce platform will give rise to consumer confidence, which will help bolster the sale of licensed products. Consumers want the ability to purchase online anywhere and at any time.
Further, entering different markets can be formidable. Geographic and customs requirements are examples of hurdles that licensees could face that would significantly hinder the distribution of licensed products. A common issue that arises is the requirements on the transport of lithium batteries, which proves to be a concern when distributing battery-operated toys. Transportation on a global scale is made easier when you have access to a logistics provider that can offer support from understanding customs policies to safe transportation solutions for lithium goods.
To overcome these pain points, here are some tips to succeed in the global licensed product market:
- Have an effective global distribution system. Collaborating with a reliable global logistics provider that offers the necessary logistics management of orders, deliveries, and returns. For instance, logistics providers can align product distribution with movie release dates by managing cart integration and fulfillment with marketplaces and websites.
- Integrate a reliable global payment platform and e-commerce system into your online shop. When it comes to online shopping, consumers want secure payments and reliability. Partnering with a well-known third-party provider that specialises in global payment platforms and e-commerce sites is key to operating a borderless, online business that strengthens customers’ confidence.
- Stay abreast of the regulatory environment. Keeping up with the global demand for licensed products requires a strong understanding of a market’s customs policies. Free online solutions are available to help with understanding customs requirements and proper documentation for international shipping, and streamlined offerings allow you to submit customs documentation electronically so they can be quickly processed.
A strong supply and distribution chain strengthens licensed product sales to ensure continued growth going forward. A reliable and efficient logistics provider plays a key role in supporting the global licensed merchandise market.
 LIMA annual global survey of licensing industry reveals 4.4% growth from 2016, Licensing.biz, August 8, 2017.
 LIMA Study: Global Retail Sales of Licensed Goods and Services Hit US$262.9 Billion in 2016, LIMA, May 22, 2017.
 Why Disney’s ‘Frozen’ is the hottest toy of the year, Fortune, December 23, 2014.