You’ll be lucky to get a word in edgeways this Christmas, if the year’s numerous retailer Top Ten toy lists are anything to go by.
My Friend Cayla, the WiFi connected chatterbox of a doll, has topped lists across the UK and now looks set to be among the most popular choices of toys for kids this year.
But with so many top toy lists being released by some of the biggest retailers online and on the High Street, how on Earth are you meant to decipher just what will be the best bet when the Christmas shoppers come a-knocking?
Well, to try and make things a little simpler, we have combined the results from the top toys for Christmas lists from Toys R Us, Hamleys, Argos, Smyths, The Entertainer and Dream Toys, as well as the results of this year’s Slow Toy Awards and Scottish retailer ToyHub’s own listing, to find the ultimate top toys for this season.
My Friend Cayla from Vivid tops the bill with a total of five appearances in separate retailer lists, equal to VTech’s Kidizoom Smart Watch, Character Options’ Little Live Pets Bird Cage and Hasbro’s Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock.
Five products secure joint second position in this year’s amalgamation, in a line-up that perhaps unsurprisingly includes the Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa doll from Jakks Pacific, the Nerf Demolisher 2-in-1, Spin Master’s Zoomer Dino, Boomer, the LEGO Arctic Base Camp and of course, the culprit behind this year’s biggest arts and craft craze, Loom Band kits.
Flair makes an appearance in the list following the launch of its interactive monster, Xeno and joins a mixed list of tech and traditional to complete this year’s pick of high flyers. Character Options’ Minecraft Figures secure three listings, while Hasbro’s My Monopoly is the only board game to make our ultimate top toys list.
Finally, it’s certainly been a strong year so far for Character Options, as the firm secures its third placing as Teksta T-Rex completes this year’s line-up.
“Youth electronics is one of the top three fastest growing categories this year in Britain, so we can expect to see more tech toys in the top selling charts,” NPD’s Frederique Tutt tells ToyNews. “That said, youth electronics still only represents three per cent of total toy sales, three times smaller than building sets.
“That should put things in perspective, the traditional toy categories can grow alongside more tech toys.”
A glance at this year’s ultimate top toys will certainly reaffirm Tutt’s sentiments with traditional toys outnumbering tech by seven to six. Last year, the story was very different with tablet launches from VTech and LeapFrog, helping tech secure its 2013 win.
But despite the result for traditional play, wooden toys appear to have once again fallen short of the list.
However, the building set sector is still covered with LEGO’s entry, Arctic Base Camp, a surprising deviation perhaps, considering the numerous retailers’ reports of The LEGO Movie sets being big sellers over the year.
Licensed toys are also covered this year by Character Options’ Minecraft Figures and Jakks Pacific’s Frozen Snow Glow Elsa dolls, a key brand for girls this Christmas.
“Licences have been driving market growth since the beginning of the year,” continues Tutt. “Frozen is likely to be the key licence for girls this Christmas, it has just reached the number one position year-to-date with the release of October data.”
Eight out of our top 13 toys this year featured in the top 12 toys as listed by Dream Toys, but with more and more top toy lists being released earlier and earlier each year, just how relevant are these lists?
“All of these lists are important tools to get products in consumers’ minds early in the year, when thoughts of Christmas are still far away,” explains Mary Wood, marketing director at Vivid.
“A lot can and does change between what is expected to be a potential winner launched at Toy Fair in January, and what finally appears in the Dream Toys list. On one hand, Disney’s Frozen came out of the blue to be a top seller and a key feature of Dream Toys, but products like Cayla have had sustained coverage and sales at retail.”
Christmas trading is now expected to drive a four per cent growth for full year 2014 compared to 2013, according to NPD figures.
However, this doesn’t mean it is destined to get easier at the sharp end.
“Every year we see an increase in the amount of spend on promotion, and we expect this to continue over November and December,” adds Tutt. “It’s great news for the consumer, at least.”