American companies like Hasbro aren’t the only toymakers hitching their wagons to Star Wars this year. Heightened US interest in Star Wars memorabilia is being felt around the world—particularly in Asia, the largest supplier of toys to the US.
In September, US imports of toys, games, and sporting goods rose 15% from a year earlier to $3.2 billion, according to US Census Bureau data analyzed by FactSet. New Star Wars merchandise released during the month, ahead of the upcoming film The Force Awakens, was a big part of the spike.
In the US, lightsabers, robotic droids, and other Star Wars toys are dominating retail shelves. Star Wars merchandise drove up Disney’s earnings last quarter, as well as sales at toymakers like Hasbro, which is already struggling to keep up with demand, and retailers like Walmart. And there are no signs of that letting up.
As Bloomberg reported, shipments of merchandise from the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise is projected to lift American toy imports by nearly 11% in 2015. China, America’s largest toy supplier, stands to benefit the most—already shipments of Chinese-made toys to the US are up 13% through September. Vietnamese toy shipments to the US have also increased—rising 28% during the same period, the news service said, citing containerized toy import data.