Most of the UK’s top retailers of toys believe that rival kids’ learning tablets LeapPad 2 and InnoTab2 will be among their strong sellers come December 25th.
Out of the predicted top Christmas toys lists we compiled from 11 retailers, most favoured the iPad-style kids devices.
Not far behind with eight listings was Hasbro’s returning interactive pet Furby – previously a must-have Christmas toy in 1998.
Focal Nerf blaster, N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire, got seven votes of confidence from retailers.
In terms of stand-out brands, 12 LEGO products were named, followed by ten from Moshi Monsters.
The results mirror those from last year when most retailers predicted the LeapPad, Nerf and interactive pet offerings from Mattel and Hasbro to be top sellers (ToyNews November 2011).
So does the lack of one clear, stand out retail favourite indicate that the days of the one must-have hot product – like the original Furby or Robosapien or Buzz Lightyear for example - are numbered?
Not necessarily. Toy market analysts NPD says that the toys are still hot – but the market as a whole is stronger, providing attractive products in each target market.
“We see that there are hot toys in each category,” said Frederique Tutt, NPD’s toy market analyst for Europe.
“Furby is a very hot toy - right now it is the second best selling toy and it corresponds to the girls market.
“The LeapPad2 is also a very hot toy and it is currently number one, and that corresponds to a different target market, while InnoTab2 is at number three.
“Moshi Monsters is also a very hot fourth quarter range - it has been the number one property in the UK since the beginning of the year and one of its items is currently the number four best seller.”
“So, there are a number of hot toys.”
That these products are already selling well would seem to indicate that retailers’ lists are accurate in predicting what the public will buy.
Indeed, NPD confirmed that in 2011 the definitive top toy prediction list, the TRA’s Dream Dozen, proved “very accurate”.
Ten out of the 12 went on to become top five best sellers in their respective categories. It seems that the increasing number of retailer Christmas toy lists, and the subsequent media coverage, could be influencing consumer’s buying decisions away from the one single ‘hot toy’ mania that we witnessed with the likes of Robosapien, Buzz Lightyear, Teletubbies and the original Furby, to name just four.
Back in December 2003, for example, the top 15 items represented 5.5 per cent of toy sales. Last year, December sales were worth 6.6 per cent.
“This might sound like a small difference, but it is quite huge on a month worth close to £300 million,” Tutt continued.
“This is probably helped by the fact that every retailer is advertising its top ten - or let’s call it 15, because it varies slightly depending on the retailer.
“So this group of 15 is getting stronger,” she concluded.
retailers' christmas lists combined
Lists compiled from Dream Baker’s Dozen, The Entertainer, Smyths, Toys R Us, Hamleys, Argos, Amazon, Tesco, John Lewis, Play.com and Sainsbury’s.
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