Toys are still at the top of young children’s Christmas lists, but older children have turned their attention towards electronic entertainment.
Dubit's research came from the input of 250 children aged between seven and 12 who were initially asked which type of presents they would like to find under the tree this year. These presents were broken down into 17 categories with toys ranking alongside the likes of video games, books and DVDs.
Overall – and somewhat optimistically – high value electronic items came high on most children’s lists, with 59 per cent asking for these within their top-five gifts – and that applies to both boys and girls. Video games came second on Santa’s list (53 per cent), with money at number three (44 per cent). By the way, relatives wondering whether to give either a gift voucher or money, should be aware that children place a much greater importance on cash, with vouchers making it onto only 17 per cent of lists.
At the bottom end of the list were sports goods/kit (14 per cent), beauty products (12 per cent), jewellery (11 per cent) and novelty items like branded stationery (eight per cent).
Clothes were more popular for girls across every age group, being the most popular present for 11 to 12 year-old girls.
As for toys, they came a decent fourth place overall, and 39 per cent of children had them on their top-five list. Surprisingly 61 per cent did not. However, this could be explained by toys being most popular with seven to eight year olds (63 per cent) before declining to 38 per cent for nine to ten year olds and 17 per cent with 11-12 year olds.
The most wanted gifts, split by gender and age - Click to expand.
Thankfully, in the seven to eight year-olds group, toys were the biggest winner by some distance, outperforming both electronic devices and money. With older kids, video games were most popular with nine to ten year-olds (56 per cent), and electronic devices a close second (60 per cent).
Dubit broke the category into nine different types of toy, and asked the children to rank them in order of preference. (In the analysis here, a toy is classed as popular if they ranked in the top three).
Board games proved to be the most popular toy of all, appearing in the top three 124 times (out of 250), followed by vehicles (105), animal toys (eg animated plush, figures, etc at 96), construction blocks (88) and puzzles (83).
How most wanted Christmas presents change with age - Click to expand.
Despite the prominence of video games in older childrens’ play time, board games were also popular for kids aged nine to ten and 11-12. The same is true for puzzles such as jigsaws and Rubik’s Cubes. Action figures and dolls – although they were the first choice on 37 Christmas lists – only made the top three of 78 lists, with just 14 boys putting them near the top, compared to 64 girls.
Finally, the children were asked to pick three items for their list from any sector and then three toys. The word ‘games’ is a clear winner (helped by being included in references to video games, board games, etc) with technology brands also having a prominence. The traditional toy brand with the biggest impact was Lego, helped by its move into video games and partnering with properties like Star Wars. Other brands that registered included Hello Kitty, Barbie and Harry Potter.
This open question also showed the importance of Nintendo to the younger children, with the Wii and DS brands both popular, while Xbox (and to a lesser extent PlayStation) came through from the older children, as did mobile phones.
The research shows that although there is still a market for traditional toys, board games and puzzles this Christmas, there is no escaping children’s interest in video games and electronic items, especially as they get older. Lego is a brand that should be commended as its move into video games has seen it keep children engaged outside of the traditional building blocks. How much of this success comes from the Lego brand vs the IPs it has partnered with, is another question.