Schleich USA (pronounced Sh-like), the world’s leading manufacturer of animal characters and playsets, has announced that 2021 was its strongest year of growth to date. With 20% YOY growth globally and 39% in the North American market, growth in the US and Canada outpaced the brand’s core German market. Brand growth also outpaced the US toy industry, which grew 13% in 2021. Schleich USA attributes this growth in part to an emphasis on engaging consumer marketing backed by deep retail support.
“Our success in 2021 is the tale of the two groups that matter most to us—the consumer and our retailers,” said David Albert, Managing Director, Schleich USA. “Our marketing last year began to tell an entirely new story about why the Schleich brand is so important to the consumer and gave them entirely new ways to interact with us and a desire to seek out our products at retail. With strong consumer demand and support from our retailers, we feel we are now poised to double our business over the next three years.”
Success in the Canadian market also contributed to the company’s growth. Schleich saw a huge surge in Canada, a precursor to the launch of the brand’s Canadian online shop, expected to go live in March, and new Canadian flagship store partnerships, planned throughout 2022.
The brand also launched a series of successful, multi-pronged consumer engagement programs. Campaigns included a nationwide job search for the company’s first ever child Chief Storytelling Officer. The marketing campaign, which illustrates the brand’s commitment to storytelling, consumer engagement, and content production, spanned the fall of 2021 and included a live audition session at FAO Schwarz in NYC, a series of nine videos starring the new CSO, Marcello, a marquee interview for the new CSO on The Kelly Clarkson Show, and numerous TV news segments across the country. The program was an extension of 2020’s Power of Imagination Campaign, which was awarded two 2021 Silver Anvil Awards by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the preeminent award of the PR and integrated marketing industries.
“We are achieving tremendous growth and we’re doing so by embodying traits exhibited by the children for whom we make our products,” said Albert. “We’re telling stories kids love, we’re sharing them in ways kids appreciate, and in the case of our new CSO, we’re asking real kids to expand our grown-up thinking.”
Everything Schleich has done in 2021 from a brand perspective has been in service of setting the cornerstone of a brand revitalization that will be fully unveiled throughout 2022. Beginning with a strong understanding of why the Schleich brand matters most to parents and children, the new brand will include a complete refresh of all the brand’s visual elements. The new brand will be kicked off later in 2022, supported by a global brand campaign.
Moving forward, Schleich USA plans to continue this growth trend with a commitment to consumer engagement, meaningful partnerships, deep retail support, and a continued investment in the success of all partners. This investment includes continued work to alleviate the supply chain issues that prevented even higher growth numbers last year despite extensive supplier efforts and expensive special transports.
“In an effort to support our customers in the best way possible, we are further investing in the supply chain, which will help us stay on top of the global supply chain environment,” said Albert.