According to the August 2019 Issue of License! Global Top 150 Global Licensors, The Pokémon Company International is now the 23rd most profitable retail licensor worldwide selling over $2.8 billion USD in licensed products worldwide in 2018. This is down from $3.3 billion USD in 2017.
The Pokémon Company International - $2.98 Billion - 2018
The Pokémon Company International, a subsidiary of the The Pokémon Company in Japan, manages the property outside of Asia and is responsible for brand management, licensing and marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card Game, the animated TV series, home entertainment and the official Pokémon website. Pokémon was launched in Japan in 1996 and today is one of the most popular children's entertainment properties in the world.
With robust licensing programs spanning gaming, toys, apparel and accessories, designer collaborations, tech gear, home décor, and more, The Pokémon Company International continued to reach broad global audiences last year, giving fans more ways to engage with the beloved Pokémon brand.
Key licensees in 2018 included Wicked Cool Toys (master toy licensee for TPCi), Mattel's Mega Construx, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Ravensburger, which added figures, plush, roleplay items, puzzels and more to their growing lineup of official Pokémon merchandise. In addition, TPCi and Punko announced their first agreement to bring Funko Pop! Pokémon figure to retail, featuring the iconic Pokémon, Pikachu. The popularity of the product led to an expanded deal, resulting in the companies' launching a new "A Day with Pikachu" collection starting in February 2019, featuring a series of themed Pikachu figures available exclusively on PokemonCenter.com - the official destination for Pokémon merchandise in the U.S. - and more Funko Pop! Pokémon figures.
Major programs were based on a license of the globally popular TV animation, which boasts more than 1,000 episodes spanning 22 seasons. Recent seasons, including "Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon - Ultra Adventures" and "Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon Ultra Legends," aired via worldwide broadcast partners in 2018 and 2019, respectively. TCPi and Fathom Events also collaborated to debut the 21st animated Pokémon film, Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us, at select theaters across multiple territories. TPCi also rolled out new offerings for the Pokémon TCG, which contines to be one of the best-selling card games in the world with more than 25.7 billion cards shipped to 74 countries in 11 languages. In tandem, TPCi's ongoing partnerships with mass retailers like Amazon, Carrfour, GameStop, Sainsbury's, Target, Tesco, and Walmart, plus many international independent retailers remain as additional awareness drivers for official merchandise like the Pokémon TCG.
Furthermore, the "Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu!" and "Pokémon Let's Go, Eevee!" video games launched in November 2018, and since March 2019, have sold more than 10.63 million units worldwide, making them the fifth best-selling Nintendo Switch titles to date. These titles also offer cross-platform connectivity with the incredibly popular "Pokémon GO" mobile game, which continued to build significant awareness for the brand as it reached more than 850 million downloads as of August 2018.
The strength of the Pokémon brand and its ability to bring customers into retail aisles led to several industry accolades in 2018, including a nomination for Action Figure of the Year by The Toy Association and a No. 6 ranking in NPD's Top 10 Toy Properties for January to June 2018.
TCPi's licensing and retail programs experienced further growth in 2019 and beyond with the premiere of the first-ever live-action Pokémon film, Pokémon Detective Pikachu, the upcoming release of the "Pokémon Sword" and "Pokémon Shield" video games, and a slow of new partnerships and merchandise to delight customers.
In May 2019, Pokémon Detective Pikachu premiered in theaters worldwide, released in partnership with Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment. As the No. 1 movie in worldwide gross for three consecutive weeks, the film's success in garnering global mainstream buzz yielded a variety of merchandise and licensing opportunities, including the launch of a special Detective Pikachu expansion for the Pokémon TCG, movie-themed toy lines by Wicked Cool Toys and Mattel's Mega Construx, and a collaboration with global fashion retailer H&M to release a range of apparel and accessories for adults and children.
Retailers such as Hamleys, Harrods and Joue Club also joined in the celebrating the Pokémon Detective Pikachu premiere in stores. GameStop and Walmart held unique promotions to celebrate the movie release, and Target hosted in-store events with the recently launched "Pokémon Pass" app. Expanding its retail marketing initiatives, TPCi created "Pokémon Pass" to further develop digital reward programs to provide deeper engagement with the brand for retail customers.
Lastly, 2019 welcomed numerous fashion collaborations with designers like Jeremy Scott, GCDS and Bobby Abley for their respective spring/summer 2019 collections that have appeared on runways in London, Milan, and New York.
In addition, TPCi partnered with several global fashion retailers, including Primark for an exclusive range of women;s apparel, now on sale in Europe, as well as adidas for a special adidas NEO collection of apparel, footwear and accessories, which is available in China with plans to introduce more items to fans around the world in the future.