Saying that licensing is a dominant marketing and retail force might be an understatement. In 2014, licensing accounted for $241.5 billion in the global marketplace.
The LIMA Annual Global Study (which was released for the first time ever this year), showed that entertainment/character licensing comprised the biggest piece of pie, totaling 44.4% (over $107 billion). That is not difficult to imagine considering the inundation of licensed merchandise each year associated with feature films, television shows and other forms of entertainment. (A great example is the licensing program developed as a part of the “Despicable Me” feature film franchise, as featured in Variety).
In contrast, corporate brands took up 22% of the pie, with fashion (12%), sports (10.8%) and publishing (5.3%) rounding out the categories above 2%.
Categories below 2% include celebrities and music.
Although entertainment/character licensing dominates the overall licensing marketplace, one of the areas that will likely continue to grow is corporate brand licensing. Historical success in corporate brand licensing is not hard to find, but there are also numerous corporate entities that have not yet tapped into the true value of their brand.
Moreover, we would expect the celebrity brand category to also grow, although perhaps not rapidly, as celebrities continue to identify the untapped value in their personal brands and follow the path forged by Jessica Simpson (whose annual retail sales are reported to be around $1 billion).
The bottom line is that licensing continues to be a dominant force in marketing and retail — and we expect that dominance to continue.