(Originally posted on Spielwarenmesse.de)
This Holiday Season 2018 is certainly shaping up to be an interesting one across both, North America and many international markets. Retailers are devoting more shelf space than ever to toys. Here are just a few hot toy categories that are the toy hot sellers in the 4th quarter 2018.
LOL Surprise Eye Spy Series by MGA Entertainment
LOL Surprise toys, across multiple segments, are still causing quite the frenzy at retail. When they hit shelves, they are scooped up quickly, by adoring fans, and early Holiday shoppers. The L.O.L. Surprise House is already sold out in many global locations, with the $170-$190 product selling at 2 to 3 times that price on eBay.
New squishable and tactile toys continue to be hot-sellers, including all of the varieties of slime, dough-like compounds of all colors and iterations are currently available, including neon, glitter, glow-in-the-dark, magnetic, and more. Slow-rise soft squishables and slow-rise plush toys include brands such as: Squishables (Squishables, USA) , Rainbocorns (Zuru, New Zealand)), Soft N Slo Squishies (Orb, Canada), Smooshy Mushy (Redwood Ventures, USA), and Squish-Dee-Lish (Shopkins brand, Moose Toys, Australia).
Unicorns, sloths, llamas, hedgehogs and narwals are new creatures of choice.
Plush Rainbowcorns by ZURU are full of surprises.
Unicorns, sloths, llamas, hedgehogs and narwals are new creatures of choice. Newer fabrics and materials offer tactile sequin-changing plush, squishable play and surprise-inside-toys. Blind packaged brands delight boys and girls, although across different spectrums. For some collectors, there are shimmery, glittery, winged, sequined and rainbow-colored versions of plush and blind bag collectibles. And then there are the potty humor trending collectible products, tied to poop emojis, slimy, gross and disgusting versions of collectibles that appeal more to an irreverent or off-color sense of humor. All co-exist on the collectible shelves, until they are scooped up by kids’ using their pocket money.
Scruff-A-Luvs (Moose Toys, Australia) are appealing to boys and girls who want a pet. The unique reveal play pattern for adopting a rescued pet is selling well with parents and gift-givers who are looking for innovative and interactive products to delight kids, and to keep them entertained and engaged. On the other hand, more diverse plush such as Fugglers (Spin Master, Canada) and Feisty Toys (WMC Toys, USA) appeal to tweens and others with a sense of humor, versus a nurturing instinct.
Most species of dinosaurs are on the rise, following the popularity of the latest Jurassic World movie. Dragons are on the horizon, teasing the next How to Train Your Dragons theater release in 2019, and following the Game of Thrones popularity. Expect more in 2019. Lots more amazing creatures.
Harry Potter fans can build the Hogwarts’ castle with Lego bricks.
Other winged creatures, Fantastical Beasts themes, and Harry Potter themed products are hard-to-find on shelves as kids conjure up wand spells and magical sorcery with Harry Potter Coding wands (Kano, USA) Jakks Pacific wand selections (Jakks Pacific, USA) and Wow-Stuff spell-inducing wands. Kids are also perfecting their magic skills with the Harry Potter Mystery Flying Golden Snitch (WowStuff, UK), and gathering characters with Funko action-themed collectible figures (Funko, USA) or constructing their favorite Hogwarts Castles or Hogwarts Great Halls, with deluxe LEGO replica building sets, complete with themed mini-figures. Even the new just-released Fantastical Beasts movie: The Crimes of Grindelwald, has a new set of dedicated LEGO mini-figure blind packs (LEGO, Denmark).
The popularity of nostalgia, video game licensed characters and gamer franchises are fueling sales of Nintendo Labo, and Nintendo Switch, Mario Bros video games and licensed products, Pokemon plush and interactive pets, licensed FUNKO action figure collectibles, and Zelda and Spyro merchandise.
Hasbro relaunches their board games classics as farcical copies.
Gaming for adults as social games: Fortnite Monopoly (Hasbro, USA), for ages 13+, is in short supply, as are many social games for adults such as Relative Insanity (Play Monster, USA) and farcical copies of classic Hasbro games, selling exclusively at Target this holiday season, re-invented as:
- Game of Life: Quarter Life Crisis Parody Edition,
- Clue: What Happened Last Night? Lost in Vegas Parody Edition,
- Mystery Date: Catfished, Parody Edition,
- Botched Operation, Parody Edition
- Sorry!Not Sorry! Parody Edition,
All of these re-invented versions of iconic games are designed with an edgy appeal, for players aged 12+. Secrets are confessed, risks are taken, and stories are revealed by players, all in twisted new versions of these once classical children’s games. They appeal to millennials, who remember the tamer versions, from their childhood memories.
Visit the Toy Business Forum at the Spielwarenmesse® 2019. Reyne Rice shares a whirlwind view of the newest trends and products found across the toys, games and technology spectrum, as we enter 2019, and beyond. Listen to her at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 30 January 2019. Read the complete program of the Toy Business Forum.
(Originally posted on DailyLounge.com, by Amelia Floyd.)
Reyne Rice is back at the Toy Fair in NYC with this year’s hottest trends!
Lego adds fun to playing and taps into our imaginations! The LEGO brick is turning 60 this year and to celebrate, they have created five LEGO 60th Anniversary “What Will You Build?” sets, designed to inspire creativity and open-ended building. The boxes are colorful and filled with classic bricks, special elements and mini-figures. LEGO is a timeless, nostalgic toy that brings parents back to their childhood and connects them with their own kids. By focusing on Bigger Thinking, kids will build self-confidence with fun. No rules, just play, explore and discover. AND, in April, the Mini-figures celebrate their 40th anniversary~ Click here to learn more.
Kids can explore their dreams, while learning swimming skills with Fin Fun’s Mermaid Tails that let kids swim like real mermaids. The quality of these tails are spectacular, and Fin Fun offers a 60-day Tail Tip Guarantee. The patented monofins are inserted into the tail and the quick-release design, lets you remove the tail with just a tug and a kick of the feet. Mermaid tails are recommended for competent swimmers 6 years and older, and ONLY with adult supervision. Adults can wear them too! Coral Cloud is a NEW Limited Edition color and Mariana’s Tidal Wave is a consistent best seller. Click here to learn more.
Are you looking for a fun game that challenges your kids? Build OR Boom by Goliath Games encourages kids, ages 4 and up, to hone their STEM skills. Each child sees who can be the first to bring the blueprint cards to life. Kids work on their own platform, quickly but carefully, to match the blueprint. Be the first one to finish, then SMASH the boomer and demolish the other players’ building to win the round. Driven by kids’ imagination and parents will love that no batteries are required. Click here to learn more.
Smartgurlz is a line of Award winning, self-balancing robots and action dolls that teaches girls to code. As Seen on Shark Tank, just connect your smartphone or tablet to the E-Learning app and give your daughter STEM confidence and provide loads of fun. Watch your robot roll across the room, perform dance moves or play learning games. The app includes missions, books and a step-by-step tutorial on how to code! Click here to learn more.
A future of retailing that envisions physical retail shopping, paired with an insatiable consumer passion for innovation. A vision that focuses on retail spaces embracing tactile and in-person experiences to delight shoppers, and products that are integral to solidifying that sensation of discovery.
There are some positive examples of brick-and-mortar retailers that have provided welcome experiences for consumers and received both encouraging customer support AND money in their cash registers. This is a profitable sign that the brick-and-mortar retail trend focus can be a working model, for retailers who are willing to shake things up.
Listen to your customers
Never say never. Listen to your customer’s requests and meet their needs. The TrendWatching team has reported that Everlane, a prominent online fashion retailer has just opened a flagship retail fashion outlet in New York City, in December 2017. The brand, who originally stated over five years ago that they would NEVER open a retail outlet, has listened to their consumer base, and met their high-touch demands for a store where they could touch and feel the fashions, and a place where they could return merchandise in-store.
This launch store location does combine online shopper profiles, linked to their POS (point-of-sale) in-store retail experience, by requiring their customers to link the two, before leaving the retail location, providing a seamless shopping footprint.
Combine offline and online shopping
Even Amazon, the largest online retailer, has invested in physical retail. Amazon recently purchased the Whole Foods grocery chain, for $13.4 Billion US dollars. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s contrary founder, has placed a stake in the ground for expansion into brick-and mortar retailing, and plans on reaching new consumers, through physical retail stores, combined with online ordering and delivery systems. Click-and-collect retail shopping is not a new trend. Yet if managed correctly, it can be an enhanced benefit to some consumers, especially millennials, who value convenience and time-saving features, yet demand quality goods, and eco-friendly and organic options.
Provide a homey atmosphere
Embrace your authentic atmosphere and make local a prominent feature. Stores that reflect their local community and offer local artists and makers a chance to shine, provide a true compass for both local shoppers and tourists. This unique approach to honoring your differences can provide a fresh face to your retail location, and invite repeat sales.
The Village Toys shop in Incline Village, on the shores of Lake Tahoe, California, offers a nostalgic feel for their customers, with a combination toyshop and ice cream parlor. This approach encourages cross-over sales for the huge Fourth of July visitor crowd swelling the town’s population seven-fold on this popular Holiday as a destination location. And year-round, the owners keep their finger on the pulse, rotating in new merchandise (such as jumping on fidget spinners, early in 2017), combined with classic toys and games.
Create a new retail model
Be the new retail model that makes sense, to consumers and manufacturers. At the recent Digital Kids Summit, held in Austin, Texas, in end of September 2017, a new store concept, B8ta, was the focus of an evening field-trip for conference attendees. The revolutionary retail store boasts new technology and demos for consumers, seeking the latest in tech and gadgetry for kids and adults.
One of the store co-founders of this San-Francisco based chain of 10 locations, Vibhu Norby explained their store concept charges manufacturers for the privilege of being featured in their high-tech, high touch stores. Products are demonstrated by associates, who are NOT pressured to sell the merchandise, but are tasked with showing the product features to the customers who enter the store, based on the customer interests.
This shift in thinking about the consumer experience has raised 19.5 Million US dollars in investments, and challenges how physical retail space can be monetized differently. Recently, B8ta announced that their smart-home-focused B8ta products will be featured in 70 nationwide USA Lowe’s DIY home improvement stores, and that selected Macy’s flagship locations will also feature B8ta in-store boutiques.
Surprise and delight your customers
Retailers who can provide a compelling destination for their customers, and a unique reason for consumers to choose them, over other alternatives, have a chance at surviving the “retail apocalypse” that has plagued many less-than-innovative retail chains. Many started out fresh and different, and then became tired, and less exclusive.
Surprise and delight your customers, be the source of expert recommendations and demonstrations, and your customers will not only become loyal patrons, but they will broadcast your message through word-of-mouth and social media.
THE 2018 KAPI AWARD WINNERS ARE:
Selected each year, from hundreds of entries and new Tech products, designed for kids, ages birth to 14 years. The esteemed international judges review and debate the best of the best across multiple categories. This year’s winners include new-comers and veterans. See the list below and go to www.kapiawards.com for photos and more information, on each product.
- Best App (Younger Children) Sago Mini World, Sago Mini It took a small Canadian team of designers, many of them parents themselves, to create this safe, vibrant home for the very first tech users. The unique subscription model is commercial free, and packed with updated things to discover.
- Best App (Older Children) Messenger Kids, Facebook Many have tried but few have succeeded to fulfill a family’s desire to let their young children have access to messaging. After copious research and careful attention to privacy and permission, Facebook’s powerful Messenger Kids will open a much-needed line of communication between children and parents. We applaud this type of leadership.
- Best Peripheral Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2, VTech Our judges agreed: the Kidizoom 2017 smartwatch bests the competition in the kid’s wearable category. There’s no GPS for tracking, but the two cameras, color touch screen, motion/step counter and suite of games make this affordable peripheral an ideal first watch for any child. And it tells time.
- Best Content Distribution WOW in the World Podcast for Kids by Tinkercast on NPR “Where doe an astronaut poop?” NPR’s Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas have the answer to this, and many other important questions in this podcast specifically designed to delight kids (and their parents).
- Best AR/VR Application Merge Cube, Merge VR VR and AR apps and toys were easy to find this year. Tools like Apple’s AR kit have created an endless stream of exciting new kids’ products. Merge VR rises to the top by giving children a concrete prop that they can hold in their hands. We’ve seen kids lining up to try it out.
- Best Maker Product Circuit Cubes, Tenka Labs Simplistic fun that turns a consumer into a creator right out of the box. Unlike the other maker kits that were released this year, Circuit Cubes is designed to play well with other brands of toys, from stuffed animals to Tinker Toys to LEGOs.
- Most Creative Beasts of Balance, Sensible Object Jurors loved this clever balancing act (literally) between physical, stackable building parts and AR. Warning — this game can get addicting.
- Award for Innovation Lenovo Star Wars Jedi Challenge, Lenovo OK, let’s admit it. We all want to have our own lightsaber. Lenovo has created a combination headset, app, beacon and light saber that comes close to pulling you right into your own battle.
- Best Physical/Digital Merger LEGO Boost, LEGO Build one of five variations of a robot (or concoct your own) with this LEGOs kit, program it using a simple block-oriented language, and then enjoy your play session with your new interactive creation. This clever leveraging of the LEGO brand offers kids a seamless way to code, build and play.
- Best Thing that Flies Aura Drone with Glove Controller, KD Group We love it when a toy makes feel like you have magical powers. This drone comes with a glove that turns your hand into a motion controller. There are even haptic features so you can feel the power.
- Emerging Pioneer Vikas Gupta, Wonder Workshop Vikas Gupta had a perfectly lovely life as the Head of Consumer Payments at Google, but his vision of creating playmate robots that would teach kids how to code was his passion. With Dot and Dash, a robotic duo, and the new Cue, that has emotional intelligence and personality, he’s taught countless kids about the joys of coding.
Honorable Mentions go to Elfkin for creating a personal robot that includes a voice-activated messaging system that’s safe for young children and Dynepic for iOkids, a woman, and veteran owned company, creating an aggregated safe entertainment environment for kids.
Reyne Rice, Judge & Presenter at CES 2018: Kids at Play Innovations (KAPI) Awards: January 10th, 2018. Las Vegas, Nevada
What are the KAPi Awards? The 9th Annual KAPi (Kids at Play Interactive) Awards celebrates excellence in children’s media, presenting awards to some of the most deserving people and products in the kids’ tech industry. The KAPi prize identifies children’s technology products that raise the bar for innovation and excellence during the past 12 months.
Who selects the winners? Our panel of distinguished judges, representing all facets of the kids’ media business, engage in a series of conversations via phone and email to determine what the characteristics of good kids’ digital play should be and which nominated products are most deserving. http://kapiawards.com/faq-2/
Additional inquiries should be sent to:
Tonda Bunge Sellers, Producer