TOYS"R"US Announces 2009 Holiday Toy-buying Trends
Global Tracking of Toy-Shopping Preferences Throughout the Year Points to Four Key Trends that Blend Parents' Perspectives and Kids' Desires
October 15, 2009 // Franchising.com // WAYNE, NJ - Toys"R"Us today announced the four key trends it expects will dominate toy purchases this holiday season. The 2009 toy-buying trends range from nostalgic toys that bring back comforting childhood memories to do-it-yourself craft projects. As young ones dream of unwrapping presents on Christmas morning, parents are planning their holiday shopping, balancing what their children want with what fits their budget. The trends ñ Retro Rewind; Designed By Me!; Tiny Treasures, Teeny Prices; and Investing in the Future ñ were identified based on the company's year-long observations of shopping habits, along with tracking the toys expected to top kids' wish lists.
"As THE toy authority, with stores in 34 countries across the globe, we have unique insights into toy-buying trends," said Karen Dodge, Senior Vice President, Chief Merchandising Officer, Toys"R"Us, U.S. "The four key trends we've identified this year reflect both the current times and parents' perennial desire for toys that offer outstanding value AND quality."
Following are the four toy-buying trends identified by Toys"R"Us for the 2009 holiday season, as well as representative toys, all of which can be found in the company's stores nationwide or online.
TREND #1: RETRO REWIND
Perhaps longing for simpler times, many parents are increasingly looking to introduce their little ones to toys they cherished when they were children. Whether in its original form or an updated version of an old favorite, many toys of yesteryear are back again, bringing fun and smiles to a whole new generation of kids. Nostalgic playthings represented in this trend are truly the "comfort foods" of toys:
- Sesame Street® The Original Tickle Me™ Elmo from Fisher-Price® made laughter contagious among kids of all ages more than a decade ago, and now it is back, exclusively at Toys"R"Us. This classic toy started a phenomenon when it was first released and is sure to bring smiles to little ones today.
- Strawberry Shortcake™ Berry Café™ from Hasbro® is the latest hangout and home for the sweet-smelling doll that moms enjoyed as children. A new generation of youngsters will enjoy creating fun adventures for Strawberry Shortcake and her friends.
- Cozy Coupe® 30th Anniversary Edition from Little Tikes® has been the vehicle of choice among preschool drivers for three decades. The new, special 30th anniversary edition has a high-back seat design and sturdy sides to provide increased stability and a removable floor panel for children who are not yet walking independently.
- bop it!® from Hasbro® Games originally debuted more than a decade ago, igniting friendly competitions as children bopped, pulled and twisted their way to victory. The 2009 version adds more fun, challenges and higher skill levels, including a new element requiring players to shout into a microphone.
TREND #2: DESIGNED BY ME!
More and more adults are embracing the do-it-yourself movement. Perhaps inspired by these adult influences, today's kids have put their own stamp on this trend and are designing personal creations. A growing assortment of toys and activities has been introduced to spur imagination and encourage originality among little ones:
- Harumika™ RUNWAY SHOWSTOPPER SET from Bandai® gives little fashionistas the opportunity to sketch apparel and accessories, or decorate clothing with fabric markers, studs and gems to prepare for a career in fashion or just for fun. Kids can also test out their designs by using the included fabric on a dress form to create a mini wardrobe.
- Ultimate Jewelry Kit from Totally Me features thousands of beads, a pair of pliers and an accessory tray to enable young jewelers to string their own necklaces, earrings and bracelets. This do-it-yourself approach to jewelry design makes it fun and easy to personalize pieces to flaunt or give to friends and family.
- Bendaroos® Amazing Flexible Building Sticks from Allstar Products Group allow kids to express their creativity by building pieces of art from flexible wax sticks. Just six inches in length and as thin as a string of yarn, these colorful sticks can be shaped, wrapped, stuck together and reused for transformation into anything young minds can imagine.
- Paperoni® Deluxe Studio from Spin Master® inspires young crafters to turn tiny, colorful paper rolls into 3D artwork. With a dash of ingenuity, kids can design dozens of creations such as animals, friendly faces and more.
TREND #3: TINY TREASURES, TEENY PRICES
Toys that are small in size, but provide big fun at petite prices, are proving to be one of the year's most dominant trends. Today's focus on all things frugal has certainly influenced this trend, but to kids, these toys are miniature must-haves. These tiny treasures, all under $12, are sure to provide hours of enjoyment:
- Zhu Zhu Pets™ Hamster from Cepia is as small, furry and adorable as the real thing, but easier to care for and more budget-friendly. With more than 40 different sound effects and artificial intelligence, these five different battery-operated pets are interactive and offer countless hours of affordable fun as they dart around the house, play in hamster tubes, run on wheels and more.
- HEXBUG® Nano from Innovation First International makes playing with insects fun. These inexpensive micro robotic creatures look alive and feature a mini vibrating motor that propels them across the floor or table, helps them flip from their back onto their feet, and even enables the bugs to navigate a maze.
- Gogo's Crazy Bones™ Blister 5-Pack from iToys, Inc. are small collectibles that come in an assortment of characters, each with unique faces and names that provide hours of entertainment. Kids can invent games, battle one another or trade with friends, as well as create an album of the Crazy Bones stickers that come with each toy.
- BAKUGAN® BATTLE BRAWLERS™ from Spin Master® continue to be a craze among kids. Available in a variety of different characters, these brawlers are action figure warriors tucked into marble spheres that pop open for battle when rolled onto a metal Gate card.
TREND #4: INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Even as parents resist splurging on themselves, they are making investments in toys they believe will help their children build skills for the future. These products stimulate learning, encourage budding architects, unlock the talent of musical geniuses and teach computer prowess. With prices beginning at $79.99, these toys are an investment in tomorrow:
- Zippity™ Learning System from LeapFrog® and Disney® promotes learning while young children dance, jump and play on an interactive mat. Challenging kids physically and mentally, eight built-in games follow a preschool curriculum to teach basic skills.
- Electric Guitar from First Act®, shaped like a shark fin, is available only at Toys"R"Us and allows music enthusiasts to hone their skills. Whether jamming like their favorite rockers or practicing to become a performer, aspiring musicians can tune-up on this kid-friendly guitar and accompanying amplifier.
- Disney Netpal™ from ASUS helps children master the computer at an early age while preventing them from damaging their parents'. Available in Princess Pink and Magic Blue, the Netpal offers simple software operation and easy Internet access with over two dozen robust parental controls. The Toys"R"Us exclusive version has a spill-proof keyboard and a 16GB SSD drive that can withstand bumps and drops by young users.
- LEGO® City Construction Site from LEGO® Systems, Inc. comes complete with a three-story building, construction vehicles and elevator lift for transporting the roof and wall sections, to allow young builders to practice their architectural skills by building a small city.
About Toys"R"Us, Inc.
Toys"R"Us, Inc. is the world's leading dedicated toy and baby products retailer, offering a differentiated shopping experience through its family of brands. It currently sells merchandise in more than 1,550 stores, including 848 Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores in the United States, and more than 700 international stores in 33 countries, consisting of both licensed and franchised stores. In addition, it sells extraordinary toys in two FAO Schwarz stores in the United States. With its strong portfolio of e-commerce sites including Toysrus.com, Babiesrus.com, eToys.com, FAO.com and babyuniverse.com, it provides shoppers with an unparalleled online selection of distinctive toy and baby products. In addition, the company operates ePregnancy.com, an online resource for parents. Headquartered in Wayne, NJ, Toys"R"Us, Inc. employs nearly 70,000 associates worldwide. The company is committed to serving its communities as a caring and reputable neighbor through programs dedicated to keeping kids safe and helping them in times of need.