Dear Everything Binary,
According to various market research reports, Christmas is the
high-season of toy-shopping, some boy as much as 70% of their annual
spending on toys during Christmas (Source: Andrea Neighbours Toy
Story Business Report,
Several trends could be identified in the past several years. First,
there is a rising popularity of console games (PS2, etc.), which
doesn't seem to be fading this year. Second, some classics never die,
and the fact that new features are always added, adds to their
attractiveness, even to children who already own a specific toy from
that series: Barbie Dolls, Lego, and babies'/toddlers' Fisher Price
products are among them.
Most popular toys in 2001, according to searches in the Lycos search
3) Playstation 2
6) Gameboy Advance
7) Leap Frog/Leap Pad
9) Model trains
10) Hello Kitty
11) Fisher Price
(Source: The Lycos 50, Daily Report, "Top Toys 2001"
In 2002, the list did not change significantly:
1) Playstation 2
3) Yu-Gi-Oh! cards
5) Nintendo Gamecube
10) Hot Wheels
11) Hello Kitty
12) Gameboy Advance
(Source: The Lycos 50, Daily Report, "Top Toys 2002"
Console games still have top sales. Classics - Barbie, Legos, Hello
Kitty and Transformers - still appear. So what's changed? The Yu-Gi-Oh
cards, collectors cards from Japan (and currently a non-ending fade
among the relevant aged boys).
Other Japanese cartoons that drove sales (and actually, according to
Lycos, searches for them are more toys-related than cartoon related)
are the Beyblades and the Zoids. I expect the Beyblades to do well
this year as well. In general, in the last several years, Licensed
Products ruled the fad market. It is natural, after all, because after
the fad is gone, most licensed products find their way into eBay
Film Merchandise (Licensed Products)
The following children's/teen films, that might yield lots of toys and
other merchandise, are due to be released towards Christmas:
- Lord of the Rings (mid December) - The Return of the King: There
several toys and games related, mostly for the older audience
(speaking of older people's toys, the third part of the Matrix is also
due in November).
- Christmas films: Elf (on a child taken by Santa to the North Pole)
and (similarly enough) the animated Tom Hanks' "Polar Express", both
are big-studio, merchandise films.
- Cartoons: the Looney Toons film is due to be released mid-November.
- Even better: Unlike the Toons, who have merchandise all year long,
Cat in a Hat, a Universal Production (due: end-November) would
probably yield many toys.
- Television should also be considered: whether or not "SpongeBob
SquarePants" is going to be released as a film, merchandise is a sure
thing. Harry Potter and his line of merchandise seems also a sure
thing, being at the first search results of fictional characters
images this August (Google's Zeitgeist,
<://www.google.com/press/zeitgeist.html>), without much ado.
Similarly, it seems to me, that Hello Kitty toys will sell - from
search results. Top TV shows that are here to stay and could sell
something to children: The Simpsons, South Park (personally, I think
all of them are nothing but for children).
Research on upcoming films:
and searching for [Upcoming Films]
and for [upcoming films Christmas 2003]
Classics that will always sell
As mentioned before, some classics are on the top of the list each
year. Barbie dolls, to which new accessories and fashions are produced
all-year-long, are always popular. So are Lego products, and Fisher
Price ones. Another classic that would always sell well, so it seems
to me, are stuffed animals. Other dolls that gained popularity in the
past few years are dolls that could be fit to fashion, such as the
Diva Stars and the Bartz. (see also DVer City, "Shopping Trends for
Christmas" , http://www.dvercity.com/magazine_toy_review.html).
As for boys' dolls, or action figures, Power Rangers and the
Transformers continue to be popular (See: Toys Collectibles,
In addition, Japanese action figures (i.e. from Dragon Ball) would
probably sell good. Besides, "NECA will be making action figures based
on the classic holiday film A Christmas Story. The regular action
figures will be made on a six-inch scale: Ralphie, "The Old Man" (with
a leg lamp), Mom & Randy, and Flick with a magnetic tongue so he can
get stuck to the pole. A 10-inch Ralphie figure and a 12-inch "The Old
Man" figure will have sound chips." (About.com "Top 10 Action Figure
Surprises from Toy Fair 2003"
Computer and Video Games
As mentioned before, this is the lion's share of any holiday toys'
sale. It should be mentioned, however, that game sales dropped
considerably in the last year (See: Joseph Moran, "To Cut or Not to
Cut" Game Market watch, July 2003
http://www.gamemarketwatch.com/news/item.asp?nid=2736) . Speculations
on the success of various upcoming games could be found at various
gamers' forums and sites.
In VideoGameReview, a customer particularly mentioned the upcoming
November 2003 games for XBox (as well as some for PS2):
"Grognard", "X-Box = best upcoming games"
Cube News - http://cube.pcvsconsole.com/index.php?page=9
Search strategy: similar to films.
According to a Nielsen survey, electronic toys (as well as video
games) have the best growth potential (Source: "Results of Exhibitors
& Buyers Survey" http://www.tdctrade.com/prodmag/toys/toy200302pmt.htm).
That certainly includes the abovementioned Beyblades, which are
battery operated, as well as similar battery operated action figures
Scooters also went good this year, especially the electric ones. In
some countries, they may be subjected to special age limitations. The
award wining "Scream Machine" (www.razor.com), which is almost a
motorcycle, could have good prospects.
In this aspect, a good place to identify new trends in the toy
industry is the American International Toy Fair held each year in
February. Naturally, this is long time from Christmas, and the fad
toys that are not gadgets (but based on TV and films) are not likely
to appear. See reports:
Toys Collectibles - http://toyscollectibles.allinfo-about.com/features/2003toyfair.htm
About.com - http://boardgames.about.com/library/news/bl-toyfair-2003.htm
And a list (with description) of exhibitors
Your primary source should be PlayDate "PlayDate 2003 is an exclusive
media showcase highlighting the best selling toys and games for the
coming holiday season as predicted by the nation's top retailers. The
event, organized by PlayDate Inc., will be held on October 14 at the
Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. PlayDate 2003 will offer
journalists an opportunity to gather all the information they need for
their "What's Hot for the Holidays" stories and provide early
predictions on what toys will be best sellers. More than 30
manufacturers and retailers are expected to be on hand to unveil
exciting toy and game demonstrations and brand new product launches.
This is the fifth year PlayDate will be held in the U.S."
Holiday Sales Research - National Retail Federation
Berate, - http://www.bizrate.com/buy/browse__cat_id--14000000.html -
what are the most popular toys at sale now.
The Birmingham Fair -
http://www.springfair.com/2003/uk/exhibitor/news_toys.htm - British
toys for the 2003/4 holiday season.
Teach More Love More -
on holiday season forecast, and why it goes wrong (insurance for
EBay Forum - "Hot Christmas Toy?? "
- several good speculations:
FurReal animals, especially a dog.
New Bratz or Barbie dolls
General search terms:
I hope that answered your question. Please contact me if you need any
clarifications on this answer before you rate/tip it. Id be pleased
to clarify the question.