"The Avengers," "The Dark Knight Rises," "SpongeBob SquarePants" and other films and TV shows geared at children and teenagers helped sales of character-related merchandise in the entertainment space grow by 2.8 percent last year to $49.3 billion, according to a new study by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Assn. (LIMA).
The annual survey also found that royalty revenue from television, video game and movie merchandising and licensing accounted for $49.3 billion in retail sales last year.
It's a sign that merchandising is recovering along with the overall economy, LIMA senior vice president Martin Brochstein said.
"This was a good year for the business," he said. "It's the second year in a row where things are moving northward again. People are feeling like they can spend money again."
Indeed, the numbers are a marked improvement from a low of $45.9 billion in 2010 when the world was still mired in recession. However, it did not match the peak of $52.4 billion that entertainment-related merchandising contributed in 2007 when financial markets were still booming.
LIMA has been conducting its study since 2002.