15 Licensing Super Trends

15 Licensing Super Trends for 2020 and Beyond

In the context of today’s challenging and ever-evolving licensing and consumer products landscape, trends of all kinds, from hot pop culture phenomena to evolving ways of conducting business, come and go in the blink of an eye. How do companies involved in licensing keep up? 15 Licensing Super Trends for 2020 and Beyond can help. It examines 15 overriding and interrelated “super trends” that will endure, even as everything else about the business continually transforms. Each has ramifications on all property types, product categories, territories, and retail channels. Together, they serve as a blueprint for decision-making.

15 Licensing Super Trends for 2020 and Beyond takes you through the super trends, one by one, illustrating each with three to five shorter-term trends—56 in total—that have been driven or otherwise impacted by the super trend. Forty-two exhibits (15 research tables and 27 sidebars highlighting additional examples) add more insight about the implications of the super trends.

Price is $49.95. Click here to purchase a PDF.

Table of Contents

    1. Diversity and Inclusivity
    Embracing Ethnicity
    Body Acceptance and Positivity
    Evolving Perceptions About Gender
    Girl Power: Fostering Strength and Confidence
    Striving for Economic Accessibility
    2. Sustainability Steps Forward
    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    Scrumptious Style: Exploring Alternative Materials
    Plant-Based Options for a Smaller Footprint
    3. Self-Expression
    Showing Your Emotions
    Personalization and Customization
    Be Yourself: Self-Expression Through Cosmetics
    The Multifaceted Maker Movement
    Taking a Stand
    4. Experiencing a Sense of Belonging
    Popping Up
    Welcoming Fans for a Visit
    Expanding the Universe
    Community in All Things
    5. Expect the Unexpected
    No Rules: The Rise of Cannabis and CBD
    Finding the White Space
    The Element of Surprise
    6. Driven by Design
    Artists and Museums as Collaborative Partners
    The Fan as Artist
    Building a Portfolio
    Partnerships Create Assets for All
    7. Balancing Innovation and Risk
    Safety in Numbers
    Calling on the Crowd
    Incubate and Accelerate
    8. Need for Speed
    Memes and Micro-Moments
    Accelerating the Product Development Process
    Fast Fashion Mentality
    9. Endless Fascination with Fame
    Smaller Slices of Celebrity
    Courting Controversy
    The World of Personal Branding
    Beyond the Core
    10. A World of Retail Opportunities—and Challenges
    The Ongoing Apocalypse
    Subscription Shopping
    Social Commerce and Shoppable Content
    Bricks and Clicks
    Departures from the Norm
    11. Evolution of Technology
    E-sports: Connectivity and Community
    Blockchain Behind the Scenes
    The Permutations of 3D Printing
    12. Power of Partnership
    Collaboration as Strategy
    Power of Three
    Changing Notions of Retail Exclusivity
    13. Beyond Traditional Models
    Creating a Lifestyle, Promoting a Brand
    Considering Curation
    Assuming Ownership
    The Changing Role of the Agent
    14. No More Middle
    The Big Get Bigger
    Luxury versus Low-End
    Cheering for the Home Team
    15. Adding Value
    Telling a More Sophisticated Story
    Adding Function: Commodity No More
    Making a Connection
    Multiple Layers of “Fit”
    About the Author and Raugust Communications

Datapoints (research exhibits)

    1.1 Celebrities, Sports Properties Drive Hispanic Licensing
    1.2 Plus-Size Licensing: Celebrities and Designers Take the Lead
    4.1 Pop-Ups and Other Experiential Initiatives
    6.1 Artist Collaborations: Room for Growth
    7.1 Lifestyle Collaborations: Part of a Broader Plan
    7.2 “Geek Culture” Relies on Crowdfunding
    9.1 The Multifaceted World of Celebrity Licensing
    9.2 Celebrity Scandal: Not Always the End
    9.3 Celebrities as Brands
    10.1 Distribution Strategies for Licensed Product Launches
    11.1 Streaming Properties Proliferate
    12.1 Rationales for Selecting Collaboration Partners
    13.1 A Look at Licensing and Other Deal Structures
    13.2 Beyond Licensing Representation
    15.1 Toy Company IP Strengthens Share

Spotlights (sidebars and case studies)

    1.1 Messages of Inclusivity
    1.2 Diversity in All of its Forms
    2.1 Teaching a Love of Nature
    2.2 A Different Kind of Commute
    3.1 Self Care: Promoting Social and Emotional Health
    4.1 Up-and-Coming Experiences
    5.1 Sports and Technology: Creating New Opportunities
    5.2 Happy Birthday with a Twist
    5.3 In-World: The Ultimate in Unique
    6.1 Immersed in Art
    7.1 Playing with Open Innovation
    7.2 Uncertain Times
    9.1 Branding in Bollywood
    10.1 Toy Industry Travails
    10.2 Private Property
    10.3 A Decade of Retail-to-Retail Licensing
    11.1 Flying High
    11.2 Tracking Fitness Trackers
    11.3 Digital Disruption
    12.1 Mighty Mash-Ups
    12.2 Shared History
    13.1 Tasty Tie-Ins
    13.2 Celebrities at the Forefront
    13.3 Decades-Long Licensing Partners
    14.1 The Far Reach of Fanatics
    14.2 Consolidation in the Clothing Department
    15.1 Tough Times for Toys-to-Life Titles


The licensing business seems to change daily. But there are overriding themes that remain steady, and are likely to continue to do so over the coming years. These “super trends” provide a blueprint that can help guide licensing executives as they look ahead. Each creates consequences across property types, product categories, territories, and retail channels, and each is likely to last for the foreseeable future, providing context for deal-making going forward.

15 Licensing Super Trends for 2020 and Beyond takes you through these overriding developments, highlighting three to five shorter-term trends—56 in total—that underline the implications of each. Fifteen research tables (labeled as Datapoints) and 27 sidebars highlighting additional examples (Spotlights) provide more insight. At the end of the report, we identify the factors that tie together all 15 of the overriding super trends.

Many things have changed in the five years since the publication of 15 Licensing Super Trends for 2015 and Beyond, the previous iteration of this book. Several of the individual trends included in the first go-round have waned or significantly evolved. But most of the “super trends” have remained consistent over the past half decade. Some have intensified or changed somewhat, but they continue to represent a valid barometer of the direction the licensing business is taking.

That makes sense given that the nature of licensing super trends, as they are defined here, is that they endure for the long term. The way they manifest themselves, as seen in shorter-term trends, may change, but the super trends live on.

It should be noted that many of the 56 trends discussed herein could comfortably fit into multiple super trends. That fact reflects the interrelationships among the super trends, as well as the fact that several of these overriding forces tend to simultaneously drive the emergence of individual trends.

15 Licensing Super Trends for 2020 and Beyond was compiled through:

  • One-on-one interviews with executives during the course of Raugust Communications’ ongoing reporting on licensing trends.
  • Literature reviews of trade publications covering industries touched by licensing, as well as local newspapers, business magazines, and other sources.
  • Company information such as financial releases, press releases, and marketing materials.
  • Original surveys and other research conducted by Raugust Communications, focusing on individual trends.
  • Analyses of product mixes at retail chains and e-commerce sites.
  • Information from Raugust Communications’ proprietary databases of research and trend insights culled over many years in licensing.

Examples highlighted in each chapter have been culled from throughout the five-year period leading up to the publication of this book, with a heavy emphasis on happenings in the 18 months prior.

Some of the information included here has been adapted and updated from recent Raugust Communications writings, which focus on identifying emerging and evolving licensing trends, while other details are brand-new.

The discussion of these 15 super trends, collectively, is designed to prompt ideas that will allow licensors, licensees, and others involved in licensing to build their properties, enhance their decision-making process, and do their jobs better.

Purchase the report here.