Toy Reviews

The Fight Against Counterfeit Toys In The UK

UK toy sales decreased in 2017 by 2.8% falling to £3.4bn. This is a rather shocking fact considering how the UK population has grown, the digital age feeds toy advertising and toys no longer can just be bought in shops but now online too. So why has this decrease in sales happened? There are a few factors that have contributed to the dip in the sales market, including underperforming licenses, the impact of Brexit and the ever growing concern of counterfeit toys. This shocking information has come from the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) and the NPD Group.

The announcement was made at the 65th Toy Fair in London on Tuesday 23rd of January 2018. Despite the small decline in sales, the UK still has the largest toy market in Europe. It is estimated that 10-12% of toys sold were counterfeit, meaning a £400m loss to the industry.

Don’t purchase counterfeit toys!

There are huge safety concerns. The plastics used to make the toys can contain harmful chemicals, they could be brittle and break easily causing harm to your child, and dyes used can be toxic. This dangerous cocktail can cause injury, cancers and even death to your children. Please don’t take the risk. Why save a few pounds when your child can be in serious danger?

Some of the top toys that were faked in 2017 included the popular Fingerlings, L.O.L Surprise and Hatchimals. Many of the fakes available online and even in stores, look exactly like the real things. Do your research and buy from reputable suppliers. If you’re unsure of the stockist AVOID. Once upon a time, parents would find counterfeit toys on UK market stalls and carboot sales, but now fraudsters can easily sell online from around the world and even use popular sites such as Amazon and Ebay.

Are you about to purchase a fake?

  • Is your toy suspiciously cheap? If the price is too good to be true, you’re probably about to buy a fake.
  • Look to see where your toy is being shipped from. If the toys are being shipped from overseas (China being a popular place for fakes to be created) check that the supplier is legit.
  • Is the seller a reputable company? Try to only purchase toys from well know suppliers such as Toys R Us, Smyths or other well known highstreet shops and websites.
  • Does the toy and packaging look good quality? Many fakes may look just like the real deal, but compare images of the genuine product to what you are about to buy. Counterfeits are often smaller or larger than the original, colours are off and even the packaging can look cheap and flimsy.
  • Don’t trust positive feedback. Many online buying sites have feedback pages. These reviews can be faked and some fraudsters even hire people to leave fake positive feedback!

Natasha Crooks, Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the BTHA said “We are disappointed but not surprised by the contradiction of the market from 2016’s exceptional performance. The increasing breadth and depth of counterfeit toys is a real concern, with over £400m worth of sales being lost to the industry, as well as theft to companies from the theft of innovative design.” Counterfeits were seized in their tens of thousands in 2017, but the issue is still a huge concern.

If you suspect counterfeit toys are being sold by someone you know, or there is a stockist that you are aware of, the easiest and most efficient thing that you can do is call your local trading standards, or by calling ActionFraud on 0300 123 2040.

*** Please do share this post, to help fight the war against dangerous counterfeit toys manufacturers ***



Hazel Newhouse

Hazel is a mum to 3 daughters and a son, she lives in Bedfordshire with her husband, kids and pets. Hazel has written for various publications, and regularly works alongside popular parenting and gardening brands.

You may also like...


  1. This is so sad that it risks children’s safety too. Better to pay more and have the toy working for longer and children safe

  2. I’m so happy to have read your post. I worked as a scientist until we emigrated last year and part of my job was testing all manner of things including toys, dummies and teets (for bottles). The majority came from China and 9 times out if 10 were produced with chemicals which are not only harmful to humans but with chemicals banned in the EU. As a result I NEVER buy anything for my son that doesn’t come from a reputable brand or you shop. It’s just not worth it! You think you’re saving a few pounds but in reality you are putting your children’s lives at risk with these cheaper fakes! I’ll be sharing your post as it’s such an important message to get across to parents!

  3. How awful. I would never buy a fake , no matter how cheap or if the originals are sold out , tough luck kids ! X

  4. I would never knowingly buy a fake toy for my kids and I have to admit that I hate it when they receive what I perceive to be cheap tat. I must admit, I tend to pay for days out and experiences rather than toys

  5. I always thought we only had to worry about counterfeit drugs but toys as well, now that is just wrong.

  6. £400m loss to the industry! This is insane. I can not accept that the counterfeit toy market exists. Those people are not only stealing others ideas but also risk the health and life of thousands of kids.

  7. Anyone I know who got a fake bought it by mistake online, usually via sellers on Amazon. Easy mistake to make.

  8. It’s so important the rules are stuck to. I remember having to jump through hoops when making my dolls years ago.

  9. This is so important, just not worth the risk with fake ones

  10. Carly Smith says:

    Just hearing about the fake LOLS now and I hope they seize more of them and start cracking down on the ones selling them on eBay and I also wish they’d list all the ones that were seized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *