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The German Licensing Market appears to presently be a land of opportunities

a bunch of decorations

Updated: May 4

By Philippe Guinaudeau, CEO

BrandTrends shares the Most favorite Entertainment brands in the autumn of 2022

[Article published in the Total Licensing Magazine / January 2023 Edition]

BrandTrends Group unveils some major findings from its most recent research, and some key facts can be extracted when compared to the previous three years.

Germans are renowned for their love of beer, sausages, and a variety of breads. They are also renowned for their rich culture, which ranges from classical music (Beethoven and Bach were Germans after all) to thinkers, writers, and contemporary entertainment like rock concerts, movies, and animation.

Germany and other western European nations share numerous similarities in the area of entertainment brands. Major players continue to exert significant impact on the global brand stage. On account of its rich cultural past, there is significant domestic brand representation. So overall, there are several intricacies to the brand’s overall cosmopolitan orientation.

A consolidated market

The top 40 Entertainment brands in Germany are concentrating awareness and likeability, resulting in a condensed competitive environment (average awareness level in the top 40 = 81%). The truth is that, up to the age of 25, children and young adults in Germany are able to collectively name 253 different brands. Thus, there is fierce competition. Since 2019, it has been steady, with minor ups and downs over the years.

When broken down to a thinner demographic level, each age group & gender is familiar with around 137 different brands of those 253. However, what’s interesting is how extensively cross-gendered the market is: about half (45%) of the brands each German knows would be jointly mentioned by both males and females. That leaves a short 55% for brands that target a specific gender; therefore, gender-specific brands account for around 27% of each gender.

Where comic book superheroes rise

Marvel is currently the brand with the highest favorite rating for both sexes throughout the whole age spectrum, as seen in the chart below. This is hardly surprising given how Marvel has developed over the past several years as the franchise’s umbrella brand (+6 points in 4 years, to 16.5%), at the expense of its lower-level sub-brands like Thor or the Avengers.

A similar phenomenon also happened to DC Comics, with a strong push of the top franchise: +3 points in 4 years.

In fact, Marvel superheroes are currently being featured in both movies and television shows. And they have continued to live in the same interwoven film and television universe as additional characters become popular with audiences. The umbrella brands, Marvel and DC Comics, are unquestionably strengthened as a result, at the expense of the individual character pieces.

In second position is LEGO. It is the dominant brand force across Europe, and more specifically in Germany. The property sits comfortably above other brands in most measured metrics. LEGO is popular amongst boys and girls, but it is more strongly favored by boys where it sits in the top 5 in every age group aside from kids aged 0 – 2 (who favor Duplo, the first age brand of the toy company).

And young children’s stories are becoming more popular

In general, we also observe a sizable long-term push of children’s animation brands like Paw Patrol (#4 overall while only focused on the young children!) or Peppa Pig (#5, similar to Paw Patrol). Additionally, there has generally been an upsurge in children’s educational activities in the recent quarters, driving to the appearance of brands like Tonies (the innovative and award-winning audio system for children) or Cocomelon to a lesser extent.

We observe that Tonies is maintaining a very strong top position in Germany while having a medium degree of awareness: the brand is recognized by 60% of the younger children, both boys and girls; however, once they do, they are merely ardent fans, with 75% of these simply adoring the brand, both boys and girls! Hence the great popularity.

Ownership and Licensing Opportunities

Popularity increases consumer intent to buy. BrandTrends Entertainment is consistently demonstrating that a licensed product’s level of purchase intent is a direct result of the license’s level of popularity. That’s the exact objective of the Brand Popularity Matrix, as shown below for Girls 3 to 6 years old.

Basically, the chart can read such as:

  1. The likelihood of consumers purchasing a licensed item associated with a popular entertainment property is strongly correlated with that property’s popularity,
  2. Prime candidates for successful commercialization are on the right of the chart.
  3. Less likely to appeal to consumers compared to the top players are on the left side of the chart.
  4. Brands above the line have less merchandise potential than its popularity would indicate. These are typically the brands with limited products in the shelve-space,
  5. Brands below the line have greater merchandise potential than its popularity would indicate. These are typically those long existing brands, part of the regular shelve-space.

The most well-known and preferred brands in Germany are also the most popular and in-demand; these include Tonies, Bibi Blocksberg, Idefix, The Jungle Book, Maya the Bee, and Jurassic Park, among other brands with a middle level of awareness. This fact is surprising considering that we have listed 79 distinct brands that have a significant customer demand gap and are predicted to increase in the upcoming year!

The German licensing market appears to presently be a land of opportunities

The licensing market in Germany remains extremely competitive and well-organized. Few brands consistently occupy the top spots. However, far from being locked, the German market appears to presently be a land of opportunities.

Indeed, there are many prospects emerging for mid-level brands, enabling the construction of a “place under the sun” for those who are able to take advantage of the opportunity. Not only are certain new segments expanding, like young children’s books (and notable audio formats), but new content can also rise and take over some consumption as consumers appear to be on the lookout for new offerings and willing to give newcomers on the block a chance.

Let’s get together again in a year to assess the changes that took place.


The current report provides a detailed analysis of brand awareness, popularity, and purchase intent of the most important Entertainment brands within a country. The most crucial aspect is that it predicts product category purchasing intentions. The service reports on 11,500+ different Entertainment, Fashion, or Sports brands four times a year, and interviews 200,000+ people ranging in age from infants to seniors in 42 countries, including Germany.


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