Tuesday, 1 November 2011
Many toy industry organisations, retailers and manufacturers publish top Christmas toys lists. Rather than adding to the marketing hype and speculation, I usually keep my own Most Wanted predictions under my hat (usually a trilby).
However, in the last days of September I was asked for what I thought would be the top toys of 2011 by someone within the the industry. I hastily pick a few notable products that had been keeping The Toy Detective Agency busy in recent weeks. Below is an edited version of my email reply, which is no way our final verdict but merely a list suspects that parents may wish to apprehend as quickly as possibly if they are among their children's most wanted:
Octonauts Octopod Playset (£34.99)
Mattel brought this toy (based on both a series of books and BBC TV shows) to market in the UK a month earlier than planned, due an "unprecedented" level of demand expressed by parents. It's good to see Mattel respond, hopefully they will be brave enough to produce a large volume of units so that Santa does not disappoint. Otherwise this will be toy creating early morning queues outside toy shops. Australian parents have been buying Octonauts toys from private UK individuals at high prices.
LeapPad Explorer (£79.99)
However, VTech's rival offering has its own advantages. An SD memory slot will make adding content extremely easy. With the built MP3 play, audiobooks could be loaded on the InnoTab for long journeys, or even homemade content by a parent could be added.
Moshi Monsters Tree House Playset (£20)
VTech Kiddizoom Twist (£49.99)
Cars 2 Siddeley Spy Jet (£19.99)
Mattel and retailers want us to believe that Fully Loaded Finn McMissile is the most wanted Cars 2 toy. However, the die-cast cars are already in children's collections, so this plastic plane will immediately help re-create an exciting movie scene. Siddeley Spy Jet will be one o the individual products from the array of Cars 2 toys that will quickly sell this Christmas.
Emotion Pets Toffee the Pony (£59.99)
We all want to join the pony set and this battery-operated soft toy will make that dream a little closer to reality. UK store-buyers will probably order more of its rabbit stablemate Milky the Bunny as it a more attractive piece of plush, however, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Doggie Doo (£22.99)
Bop It XT (£26.99)
A frequent visitor to top toy lists over the years. Mainly because it's nice to give a toy to someone who thinks they have outgrown playing with them.
Zoobles Mama & Zoobling Nurturing Play Set (£24.99)
The Zoobles range has proved to be a popular new collectible among girls, so a desirable residence that is out of reach for most children's pocket money is bound to be mentioned in letters to Father Christmas.
LEGO Ninjago Turbo Shredder (£28.99)
All LEGO has play value and will sell to someone, however, I've picked the Ninjago line based on the number of queries I receive at my Toy Detective Agency. The Turbo Shredder is a vehicle with caterpillar tracks and includes ninja minifigures; need I explain more?
Lalaloopsy Large Dolls (26.99)
I adored the original incarnation of these dolls which are the perfect antidote to decades of over-the-top made-up and adorned to perfection fashion dolls. A favourite doll amongst this range would be cherished and the inclusion of a pet means a lot of play will come from just one box.
Nerf Vortex Praxis (£24.99)
Nerf guns continue to appeal to a menacing side of both children and adults alike. Praxis is my choice because, with a removable shoulder stack, it can be used like a sniper's rifle or a hand gun; there's also no need for batteries and it is pump-powered. The Vortex range has all ready enjoyed a holiday season in the USA.
Hot Wheels Wall Tracks Starter Set (£24.99)
A few seconds of video footage in a TV commercial will instantly make this a must have among young petrol heads. Parent will also be relieved that won't have to tread too carefully in attempt to avoid stepping on speedway in miniature.
Everything's Rosie Ring 'O' Rosie (£23)
Everything's Rosie has been a rather popular CBeebies TV show and parents have been frequently asking The Toy Detectives where they might be able to buy spin-off merchandise. During my many visits to a variety of toy shops and department stores, I notice that this range is often poorly stocked. Ring 'O' Rosie is my favourite soft toy doll from the range and seems to sell-out quickly.
Let's Rock Elmo and other hyped toys will do well, however, I feel my own little musings are a better reflection of what real 3 to 5 year olds will be crossing their fingers for.
The Toy Retailers Association unveiled its own Dream Toys Dream Dozen at a press event in London last week. To view the full list visit our website: TheToyDetectives.com