As retailers finalize their seasonal strategies, it looks like parents will be extra careful about toy shopping. Not only will they be looking to dodge higher prices -- as much as 20% more than they paid last year, according to Toy Insider -- they’re also intensifying their push into better-for-kids selections and STEM-related products.
The Toy Insider, a leading source of information, just released its Hot 20 list for the season. Popular media franchises, as always, dominate the list. This year that means toys like CoComelon Peek-a-Boo JJ (Jazwares), Pokémon Scarlet & Violet 151 Elite Trainer Box (The Pokémon Company) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutant Mayhem Pizza Fire Van (Playmates Toys).
Barbie also looms large, fueled by parents’ love for the “Barbie” movie. Market research data from Circana, CNN reports a 25% jump in Barbie-branded sales in the two months following the film’s release, with Barbie products owning six of the Top 10-selling doll slots.
And with Barbie Dreamhouse Playset in this year’s line-up, that’s likely to increase.
Disney is also likely to have mega-hits on its hands with Disney Mickey and Friends Starter Set (Tonies), the latest twist on the screen-free entertainment device, and LEGO Disney 100 Years of Disney Animated Icons.
The Toy Insider also likes Elmo Slide!, a new plush toy that sways and can play “Elmo Says!” in Spanish and English.
Elmo is also high on Amazon’s new list, with an exclusive: Sesame Street Comfy Cozy Monster Hugs Elmo, a weighted plush toy with sensory features meant to comfort kids when stressed.
Amazon, which combines customer reviews and innovation trends to reach its winners, also likes Barbie Science Lab Playset, Fisher Price Little People Mickey and Friends and Little Live Pets.
Kohl’s recently unveiled its list too, boasting that 25% of its choices are Kohl’s exclusives, including a Barbie, E-I-Oh Mickey Mouse Plush, Minnie Mouse Walk and Dance Unicorn Set and LEGO Ariel’s Treasure Chest.
The Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based retailer is also bringing back Bricktober, a month of special deals on LEGO products.
To highlight its assortment of Squishmallows, the popular plush toys, Kohl's is creating a dedicated sales space, highlighting a cross-category selection of plush, backpacks, bedding, throws and toys.