The Toy Insider Hot List
Guitar Gadget, E-Reader for Kids May Prove Top Holiday Gifts
U.S. toy sales totaled $7.8 billion in the first half of this year, little changed from the same period a year ago, according to NPD Group Inc., a Port Washington-based researcher. Photographer: Tom Starkweather/Bloomberg
Paper Jamz Guitar, which lets children strum to pop music, and an interactive e-reader may be among the best-selling gifts this holiday season as toymakers offer budget-conscious parents lower-priced electronic toys.
WowWee Group Ltd.’s $24.99 guitar, which comes with pre- programmed music and allows users to create their own tunes, and VTech Electronics Ltd.’s V.Reader, an animated e-book priced at $59.99, are among the “Hot 20” chosen by the Toy Insider, a consumer-shopping guide coming out today.
“Three years ago, you’d see lots of $200 to $300 toys,” Jonathan Samet, the Toy Insider’s publisher, said in an interview. “Right now, there’s not one toy on our list that costs more than $60.”
Consumers have cut back on spending amid lingering U.S. unemployment and the economic slump, escalating competition between toymakers including Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc. Toymakers typically get at least a third of their annual revenue from the fourth quarter, making it the biggest shopping period of the year.
The fifth annual Toy Insider, featuring 96 toys broken down by age group, will be published in the Nov. 17 issue of Woman’s Day. Further items will be listed on the group’s website. Value- for-money, technology-based items, toys based on popular culture and games that bring the family together will be among the top sellers, Toy Insider said.
Toy sales may climb as much as 3 percent in the fourth quarter, said Gerrick Johnson, a toy industry analyst at BMO Capital Markets in New York.
“There are more opportunities to buy toys,” Johnson said, citing efforts by Sears Holding Corp. and Toys ‘R’ Us to increase shelf space.
U.S. toy sales totaled $7.8 billion in the first half of this year, little changed from the same period a year ago, according to NPD Group Inc., a Port Washington-based researcher. In 2009, toy sales fell by less than one percent to $21.5 billion, NPD said.
Moody’s Investors Service lowered its outlook on the U.S. retail industry to stable on Sept. 22. It expects holiday sales and margins to be marginally better than last year.
The Toy Insider’s “Hot 20” Toys for the 2010 Holiday Season 0-2 Years: Explore ‘N Grow Musical Gear Center - Playskool Fly With Elmo Ride-On - Tek Nek Toys Hide-And-Seek Jojo Interactive Bunny - Silverlit Toys Little People Wheelies Stand ‘N Play Rampway - Fisher Price 3-5 Years: Furreal Friends Gogo My Walkin’ Pup - Hasbro Hexbug Nano Habitat Set - Innovation First Sing-A-Ma-Jigs - Mattel Thomas & Friends: Adventures On Misty Island - Mega Bloks VReader Animated E-Book System - VTech Zoobles! Razoo’s Treehouse Playset - Spin Master 6-8 Years: Disney Princess & Me Dolls - Jakks Pacific Loopz - Mattel Perplexus - Plasmart Scene It? Disney Magical Moments - Screenlife Spy Net Secret Mission Video Watch - Jakks Pacific Toy Story 3 Blast-Off Buzz Lightyear - Thinkway Toys 9+ Years: Air Hogs R/C Hawk Eye Video Camera Helicopter - Spin Master Glee CD Board Game - Cardinal Industries Paper Jamz Guitar or Drum Set - WowWee Sharper Image U-Video Camera - Merchsource Source: The Toy Insider - www.thetoyinsider.com
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