PLASTIC building bricks company Lego said its share of the UK toy market was at an all-time high after consumers turned to the tried and trusted brand in the downturn.
The Danish group reported a 51% rise in UK sales in 2008 – its fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth – and said its “timeless appeal” held strong in recessions.
The growth took Lego’s share of the UK toy market from 2.2% to 3.3% – its highest ever, the company said.
Lego UK managing director Marko Ilincic said: “When there are recessions in the UK market, consumers tend to gravitate towards trusted brands. It’s almost as if they can’t afford to get it wrong.
“I think that’s partly the reason why last year, we had a very successful year, as people went back to brands that they trust.”
Lego’s Star Wars line – now in its 10th year – was the best-selling range, followed by the long-running Lego City system of buildings and cars.
The new Indiana Jones line enjoyed an “extremely successful” launch, helping global pre-tax profits reach £197m against £139m in 2007.
Lego said nearly all of its markets achieved two-digit growth rates over the year, with the UK delivering the best sales increase in English-speaking markets.
In the UK, Lego will increase marketing spend in 2009 by almost 30% compared to the previous year in a bid to distance itself from competitors.
Lego UK is based in Slough, Berkshire and has a theme park at Windsor.