After narrowing down its predictions for this year’s hottest toy products, mega retailer Toys ‘R’ Us has now revealed four overarching trends that are expected to influence the toy market in the coming months.
These trends – and predictions of popular toys that fall within them – were compiled by the company’s merchandising team, which has spent the past year analyzing trade shows, viral videos and kids’ interactions with new products.
Unsurprisingly, app-based playthings top the list. Embodying this trend is the new Disney-Pixar Cars 2 Appmates, which launches this month and allows kids to turn their iPad into a virtual play mat through a coinciding toy. The iCade Arcade Cabinet for the iPad, the iMaker Digital Stylus + Crayola ColorStudio app and Hasbro’s MY3D Viewer for the iPhone and iPod Touch are also expected to spark kids’ interest within this category.
Quirky Stuffed Characters
The company believes untraditional plush items are making waves with kids, from koo koo birds to creatures that feature uniquely ugly looks. Items that capture this trend include Pretty Ugly’s Uglydoll plush, KooKoo Zoo 6-inch KooKoo Birds from Jay at Play International, Smurfs plush from Jakks Pacific and the upcoming Annoying Orange Talking Fresh Squeezed Plush from The Bridge Direct.
The concept of experiencing virtual properties in the physical world is undoubtedly impacting the toy industry. This year, more playthings will offer tangible extensions of some of the most popular video games, social networks and apps for kids. Examples include the Angry Birds Knock on Wood Game from Mattel, the 650-piece Mario Kart Wii Bowser’s Castle Ultimate Building Set from K’NEX and the Moshi Monsters Moshling Mini-Figures 3-Pack from Spin Master.
Gross is Good
It seems children are being increasingly encouraged to enjoy messy and garbage-themed toy experiences. Moose Toys’ The Trash Pack features 100 collectible characters like Mucky Maggot, Rankenstein and Smelly Sock, while Jakks Pacifici’s Incredible Edibles Fright Factory lets kids create disgustingly edible treats.