The Toy Insider Hot List

September 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm Leave a comment

Guitar Gadget, E-Reader for Kids May Prove Top Holiday Gifts

By Ian Thomson – Sep 27, 2010 12:01 AM ET

 

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

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

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian Thomson in New York at ithomson2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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The Toy Insider…HOT 20 The Hot 20…and the reasons why!

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