By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Expert and Youth Market Specialist
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
In 2011, Affordability takes on a new face, actually hundreds of new faces, as mini collectibles stampede onto the retail shelves. I was not surprised to see the wealth of Mini Collectibles that are back this year, at the Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair 2011 Nurnberg , but I was amazed at the depth and detail included in each of the new ranges, for both girls and boys.
Some brands have dozens of new collectibles in their ranges, others topping out at about 100 new collectibles in each range. These Miniaturized Collectibles are invading the toy aisles at both classic and alternative retailers. Just like the rubber-band inspired collectible craze from 2010, these new minis are priced affordably for children to purchase with their own pocket money, without pestering parents, another key success factor. Listed below are just a sampling of the many products that are available.
All of these minis have incredibly detailed sculpting, which is eye-candy for kid collectors. For girls, the “cute” factor and play & display are the key collectible motivations, whereas for boys, many of products also have a dueling or battling component, involving spinning tops, yo-yo snap-capture-&-battle components and/or trading cards and point-scoring. Many minis have companion websites where kids can display and nurture their favorite characters, and ogle the newest creations. One gender-crossing collectible brand, Moshi Monsters, is reportedly increasing their website fanbase by 1 million members a month, and their mini collectibles are expanding rapidly, in proportion.
For Girls, Mini Play and Display doll lines have incredible attention to detail: Continuing brands that were originally introduced in a larger size have added mini versions of their favorite characters in 2011. The wildly popular Zhu Zhu Pets have added Zhu Zhu Babies for 2011, and MGA’s LaLaLoopsy have added Mini LaLaLoopsy dolls, to name a few.
Hello Kitty was the number 1 licensed property in Italy and Spain and in the Top 10 in Germany and France in Annual 2011(according to EuroToys NPD), and the new smaller Hello Kitty versions will continue to be scooped up by her loyal fans in all countries. Smurfette and her blue Smurfs friends re-appear on the scene with a summer movie where the Smurfs find themselves in New York City. Collectible Smurf ranges from Schlieich, Jakks Pacific and MegaBrands will expand the blue population across continents.
Over a hundred whimsical Zoobles (Spin Master)are launching in Europe in 2011, and each colorful single comes with a magnetic Happitat home. Zoobles Mommies & Babies will follow later in the year. Squinkies (Bandai in Europe, Blip Toys in USA) were huge collectibles in the USA in Fall 2010 and they are now launching across Europe with their incredibly detailed minis. Spin Master also capitalizes on the Japanese eraser-collecting craze with detailed Gomu Erasers, across multiple continents.
From Europe to the USA, the Filly Princess range (#1 Girls Collectible in Germany, per NPD) of 85 ponies will be launched with their delightful 2 inch flocked texture, gold crowns and Swarovski Crystal elements (iToys, USA).
Boys will be engaged with even more battling and strategy-building mini toys that cross multiple categories and involve a variety of play patterns, including collectible trading cards, spinning tops, battling yo-yo snap-n-score innovations and more.
Bakugan continues with their magnetic appeal with Gundalian Invaders. Spinning tops are back with the re-launch of BeyBlade, in a heavy metal battling format, already an enormous success in Canada and the United States. LEGO’s Ninjago sports a different twist on collectible spinning tops with skilled Spinjitzu minifigs, trading cards, and a strong backstory on the new LEGO Ninjago website. Panini sticker books help LEGO fans keep track of the growing range of LEGO minifigures across all continents, and are scarce on shelves since both kid and adult collectors are snapping up this range.
New Yo-yo action battling products launch from Pokemon (Jakks Pacific) and Denko-Sekka (Wild Planet) and add interest and a new play pattern with snap-n-score battling yo-yo tops. Even battling and remote-control mini robots invade the mini scene with the European launch of Zibits in 2011 from Senario. Battling Bands transfer the rubber band craze to boys, with a challenging snap-n-collect range, also from Senario and distributed by Giochi Preziosi in multiple European countries. Tech Deck fingersport skateboards continue to grow in popularity with the main appeal tying to the licensed decks from key skateboarding brands (Spin Master).
Action figures continue to shrink to the affordable 3 ¾ inch size. With SuperHeroes all the rage in 2011 (see Trend #2: Entertainment: SuperHeroes & Transmedia Storytelling are Key Influencers ), you will also see collectible action figure range expansions and launches to support these new Blockbuster movie releases: Green Lantern (Warner Bros., Mattel), The First Avenger:Captain America (Paramount/Marvel, Hasbro), Thor (Paramount/Marvel, Hasbro), X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox), Pirates of the Caribbean 4(Disney, Jakks Pacific), Transformers (Hasbro) and more.
These are just a few of the examples of Mini Collectibles Trend. Please send us updates on what you are seeing, and launching. We couldn’t report on all of them in this blog, and are sure we just touched the surface. Please provide your comments, to expand our knowledge base, about your new mini collectible ranges. We want to hear more, see more and learn more about other mini collectibles. Thanks in advance for your input!