China Toy Fair


TIF Distributes New Toys to More than 2,000 Kids on North Carolina Air Force Base

TIF/BGCAThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services distributed brand new toys to more than 2,000 children and families living on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C. on December 2. During the base’s annual tree lighting ceremony, kids were treated to more than just entertainment and festive activities—they were also given a generous donation of toys, games, and stuffed animals.

With the holiday season just around the corner, TIF and BGCA are hopeful that the toys will ease the stresses and challenges children face with parents who are frequently deployed. This special donation was made possible through toy companies to TIF’s signature giving program, The Toy Bank.

This event was held as part of the TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program—the first national toy distribution initiative to serve dozens of U.S. military installations at home and abroad. The program has provided more than $3.8 million in toys for children and families over the four years it has been running.

TIF’s Toy Bank includes AbraKIDabra, Alex Toys, Barnes & Noble, Cardinal Industries, Cartamundi USA, Hohner, Inc., Green Toys, Innovation First, Lego Systems Inc., Mattel Inc., MindWare, Ohio Art, Patch Products, Safari Ltd., Wonder Forge, Wyla/Just Pretend Kids, and exhibitors at the TIA’s Fall Toy Preview in Dallas. For 10 years, The Toy Bank has provided toys to more than 11 million children in need worldwide.

TIF Contributes More Than $300,000 in Toys to TODAY Show Gift Drive

toyindustryMore than 30,000 children in need nationwide will receive brand new toys and games this holiday season, thanks to generous toy companies that partnered with the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) to participate in the TODAY Show Holiday Gift Drive.

TIF appeared on the TODAY Show’s November 26 episode to celebrate the toy industry’s contribution to the gift drive, benefiting dozens of charities across the country. The companies pitched in to donate more than $300,000 worth of toys for families facing financial hardships and children who are sick, living in domestic violence shelters, residing on military bases, or otherwise in need.

The Foundation thanked the following companies: Cartamundi USA, Children of America Dolls, Creations By You, Do-a-Dot Art, Green Toys,
Griddly Games, International Arrivals, International Playthings, Little Pim, McNeill Designs, Orb Factory, Safari Ltd., Savvi, Schleich USA, Smart Gear, Smart Toys and Games, ThinkFun, Ukloo Kids, VTech, WowWee USA, and Wyla, Inc.

TIF has participated in the TODAY Show Gift Drive for the past four years, providing a total of 88,000 toys (valued at more than $900,000).

Target Kicks Off Cyber Week with Deals and Digital Savings

Target LogoTarget’s Cyber Week event will kick off Sunday, December 1, where more than 100,000 items will be on sale throughout the week, including category-wide deals on toys. Deals include:

  • On Cyber Monday (December 2), thousands of toys at buy one, get one 30 percent off plus free shipping
  • Buy one, get one 30 percent off Monster High and Transformers licensed toys during Cyber Week (December 1 to 7)

Target is also extending free shipping on more than 300 toys throughout the holiday season, and by using a REDcard credit or debit card, guests will receive 5 percent off purchases and free shipping at target.com.

The Beatrix Girls Debuts Five Track EP Across Major Music Channels

The Beatrix Girls BandThe Beatrix Girls, a collectible line of pop-star dolls with their own original music, has developed a digital music platform to coincide with the dolls’ Toys “R” Us launch this holiday season. Their five-track EP, Meet The Beatrix, will be available everywhere music is consumed, including iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3, Muve Music, iHeart Radio, and Pandora.

Additionally, fans can receive an exclusive CD on Cyber Monday, December 2, at ToysRUs.com with the purchase of a doll. The age-appropriate tracks have been engineered by a talented team that promotes girl empowerment through the songs, “Just Bein’ Beatrix,” “Bend the Rules,” “Go Extreme,” “Doin’ My Thing,” and “Nice Try.”

The line was conceived by Sherry Gunther Shugerman, a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer and studio executive who has experience in producing The Simpsons, Rugrats, and Family Guy.

Fans can sing and dance along with The Beatrix Girls on its branded Pandora station, launching through December 31 on Pandora Internet Radio.

NPD: Fashion Dolls Still in Fashion for the Holidays

According to retail sales data from The NPD Group, year to date through October, the doll category is entering the holiday season with dollar sales up 1 percent compared to year ago. The Fashion Themed Dolls segment is the main driver of this growth with year-over-year sales growth of 6 percent through October.

This increase is due not only to several new brands such as My Little Pony Equestria Girls and Sofia The First, but also growth in some of last year’s more popular brands, including Monster High, Doc McStuffins, and Lalaloopsy.

Within dolls, other subclasses that have experienced strong growth are Fashion Styling & Dressup and Fashion Themed Clothes, which include items such as Monster High Fashion Sets and Barbie Ultimate Closet.

The following lists the Top 15 Fashion Doll items for the last 13 weeks ending November 9, ranked on dollar sales and in alphabetical order:

Hot for Spring and Holiday Travel—Customizable Flip Flops

Maui_Flip_Flops_W_Pink_Bloom_2__10997.1375240005.451.416Every now and then a non-toy item permeates space in toy stores due to its trendiness, appeal to kids, and, typically, its toyetic nature. Something about it makes it fun and kids have to have it.

Enter Lollz Flip Flops, from Wavewearco. Available in child and adult sizes, these flip flops allow users to customize their footwear with super easy snap-on/snap-off Lollz accessories, which include bows, flowers, buttons, etc. The company even encourages its customers to design their own Lollz for a unique look, with suggestions such as gluing on rhinestones, or painting them. The Lollz snap on and off easily, but stay on very securely.

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The idea for the line came from the owner’s personal experience. He couldn’t understand why his daughters insisted on bringing so many pairs of sandals on vacation, taking up precious space in their luggage. They insisted that their footwear had to complement their outfit. And so Lollz were born. With Lollz, kids can bring one pair of flip flops, and several accessories to change their style as they wish, even on the go.

 

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New Disney Infinity Figures, Power Discs Arrive for the Holidays

DisneyInfinity.VanellopeDisney Interactive has released a holiday line-up of Disney Infinity figures and Power Discs. Among the new character additions to the game’s Toy Box mode are Rapunzel from Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck-It Ralph, and Anna and Elsa from the upcoming Frozen.

The product highlights and U.S. release dates and details are listed below:

Rapunzel: With beautiful long locks, fierce determination, and signature frying pan, Tangled’s Rapunzel is powerful and has a unique style of combat. Available at Walmart between November 22 and December 31.

Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph uses his wrecking abilities and 8-bit cherry bombs to defeat enemies. Available at Best Buy between November 22 and December 31.

Vanellope: The Sugar Rush racer brings her Glitch ability, which allows her to teleport short distances and glitch out other characters. Available at Target between November 24 and December 31.

Frozen Toy Box Pack: Featuring Anna, Elsa, and two hexagonal power discs. Anna uses her grappling hook to get to hard-to-reach places and her shovel to defeat enemies, while Elsa utilizes magical ice abilities. National release set for November 26.<!-more–>

In addition, 20 new Power Discs will enter circulation, including “rare” versions. Circular Power Discs give characters special power-ups, while Hexagonal Power Discs unlock special gadgets, vehicles, and themes.

The Circular Discs include Ralph’s Power of Destruction, Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s Damage-inator!, Electro-Charge, Star Command Shield, and User Control. The Hexagonal Discs include Flamingo Croquet Mallet, Frankenweenie: Victor’s Experiments, Frozen: Frozen Flourish, Frozen: Chill in the Air, Nightmare Before Christmas: Halloweentown Sky, Pizza Planet Delivery Truck, and more. Rare Hexagonal Discs include: Electric Mayhem Bus, Condor Wing Glider, and Hook’s Ship from Peter Pan Ride.

COMMENTARY: Will Black Friday Need to Be Rebranded?

by David E. Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC

The Christmas holidays and toys are synonymous. Indeed, toys and the Christmas season are a tradition. Another holiday tradition is Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Yet over the past several years, Black Friday has started to lose its meaning with retailers pushing opening hours ever earlier. Now many retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day, and pushing the envelope to see how early they can open on that holiday. This is an attempt in some aspects to rebrand the holiday shopping season and establish Thanksgiving Day as the start of the traditional shopping season. Retailers are stating that they are responding to consumer demand; yet surveys show that 87 percent of Americans are opposed to retailers being open on Thanksgiving Day (even though they frequent the stores).

So what would be a smart strategy for the toy industry as this happens? Should toy stores open on Thanksgiving? Should toymakers make a strong push for Thanksgiving Day sales? Is Black Friday over and should everyone jump on the Thanksgiving Day bandwagon? The answer to these questions is a resounding no. [Read more...]

Mega Bloks Brings the Holiday Spirit to Quebec

LudovicaMinilandMega Brands, which is based in Montreal, Quebec, is celebrating the start of the holiday season with a number of local events.

The company is kicking off the holidays on November 23 at this year’s Destination Centre-ville Santa Claus Parade with a giant, 48-foot float with a full Winter Wonderland theme. The Mega Bloks team will be on-hand greeting spectators and handing out gifts to kids throughout the event, which will feature Mega Bloks Halo, Mega Bloks Hot Wheels, and Mega Bloks Barbie. In addition, Mega Bloks’ all-new mascot, MEGA Man, will be making his first appearance.

Mega Bloks will also sponsor Ludovica Miniland, a compilation of more than 600 reproductions of buildings and iconic monumental structures from around the globe, completely built out of Mega Bloks. Ludovica Miniland is on display from November 22 to next January, at the Grand Marché de Wickham in Quebec.

Finally, as part of its yearly mid-December tradition, Mega Bloks has extended invitations to groups of children from the Sun Youth Organization, as well as the Generations Foundation, to come meet Santa Claus, visit the Mega Bloks factory, and personally receive a special Mega Bloks gift from Santa himself.

Survey Shows Children Want Game Systems, iPads for Holidays

Non-traditional items are finding their way onto children’s wish lists this year, according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with slightly higher demand among the former.

Among the other results from NRF’s 2013 Top Toys survey: 44.3 percent of holiday consumers plan to buy toys as gifts this holiday season; children are still asking for timeless items such as Barbie and dolls (No. 1 and 2 among girls, respectively) or Lego and toy cars (No. 1 and 3 among boys, respectively). And the younger generation is clearly technologically savvy, asking this year for tablets/iPads, smartphones (girls’ No. 11), and game consoles like Xbox One (boys’ No. 5) and PlayStation 4 (girls’ No. 10, boys’ No. 6).

Other popular toys for girls include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, and American Girl. The hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a hugely popular interactive video game that allows kids to play with a toy action figure at the same time. [Read more...]