The holiday season is a critical time for toy makers, which make up to a third of their annual sales in December.
In a bid to get shoppers in the holiday spirit, the Toy Industry Association rolled out its top picks for the season, nominating 67 products in 11 categories.
Elmo is front and center, with nominations in the Infant/Toddler and Preschool categories for the Let’s Rock Elmo by Playskool. But with a sluggish economy and worries over the job market, some forecasts are calling for a less than jolly holiday season.
The National Retail Federation expects holiday sales to rise by just 2.8% – well below last year.
Adrienne Appell, spokesperson for the Toy Industry Association, says:
“The last couple of years the products we’ve really seen be that runaway have been the more affordable price point, that kids can collect too, so they may want more than one.”
Take Squinkies – a big hit last year – by Blip Toys. The collectible figures start at $12 for a pack. This year’s nominee is the Adventure Mall Surprize Playset at $45.
Or Monster High Doll Assortment by Mattel, at $18 each. Hexbugs, another collectible, run as little as $6. The Nano Hive Habitat Set nominated this year runs $35.
But of course, kids have the final say on what’s hot and what’s not.
Consumers, toy experts and retailers will select the winners of the toy of the year awards. The winners will be announced well after the last gift has been opened – on February 11.
Bottom line: The Toy Industry Association rolls out nominations for top toys as toy makers try to find the right match for struggling consumers.