by Lutz Muller
In a pretty flat overall market place, Amazon continues to make headway as it is propelled by the ongoing move to cyber space, lower prices, and convenience.
Amazon has three major assets. First, the absence of brick-and-mortar stores allows Amazon to offer an unlimited inventory. Second, Amazon pays no sales tax in most states, which allows the company to undersell its competitors. Third, Amazon’s infrastructure allows it to grow almost limitlessly without the need for expensive retail stores.
This is how Amazon’s sales developed over the past few years against two major competitors:
Just in time for Halloween, toymaker Playhut will release Mystixx Vampires dolls, four transformational fashion dolls that are popular girls at school by day and powerful vampires by night. Mystixx Vampires are 11-inch fashion doll divas named Talin, Silva, Azra, and Kalani whose personalities “turn” to fit their moods with a simple twist of their heads.
All four Mystixx Vampire dolls have different personalities that focus on characteristics like confidence, compassion, competiveness, and intelligence. These four girls come from different backgrounds and recently started at a new school together. The backstories provide a backdrop for girls’ creative play.
Each doll has two distinct faces, two complete outfits, two interchangeable wigs, two pairs of shoes, and accessories. Mystixx are sold exclusively at Toys “R” Us and at toysrus.com, and are designed for children ages 6 and up.
Hess Corporation has announced that the Hess Toy Truck, a holiday tradition for 48 years on the East Coast, will be available for purchase online this year for the first time.
Details of the 2012 Hess Toy Truck will be announced November 1 and will go on sale November 9 at participating Hess and Hess Express retail stores and at http://www.hesstoytruck.com.
Hess will implement an integrated marketing plan that combines online media buys and traditional ad buys with expanded social media efforts, as well as ties to the free Hess Express mobile app, to reach Hess Toy Truck fans across the United States.
Toy Truck fans can work together to reveal the truck early. Beginning October 22, fans, through a variety of linked social actions on the Hess Express Facebook page, will be able to slowly reveal—via hints and image pieces—the new Toy Truck model before the official launch.
A new virtual Hess Toy Truck Collection website feature will enable fans to indicate which Hess Toy Trucks they own from past years, reminisce about holidays when they received the truck, and earn digital toy truck collector badges to share with their friends on Facebook.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, consumers are holding onto their budgets tightly, according to Valpak’s Semi-Annual Consumer Spending Report. The report revealed 20 percent of consumers are spending less this year than last and are becoming more creative when it comes to finding deals.
Valpak, the 44-year direct and digital savings leader, conducted the report in an effort to understand how consumer spending has evolved since last year’s “post-recession” economy. Shoppers are planning to start their holiday spending earlier this year with 40 percent of consumers beginning their shopping before, and during, the month of October, including searching throughout the year. Eighty four percent of shoppers will spend the same or less on holiday-related purchases, with more than half (53 percent) planning to use coupons for gifts, entertaining, travel, and food/catering. [Read more...]
The Halloween & Party Expo will be held from January 19 to 22 in Houston. The only truly global tradeshow in the party supplies, costume, and Halloween-products industry, the Expo is home to more than 6,500 buyers and 350 exhibitors from 44-plus countries and territories.
The four-day show, which includes more than 1,400 booths covering 600,000 square feet of space, showcases the industry’s top manufacturers and distributors in three distinct areas: Party, Sexy Costume, and Halloween. It is designed to create a fun, productive, and interesting order-writing environment for everyone in attendance.
Special guest stars also will be on hand for an extra thrill. They include celebrity costume designer Chris March, of Bravo’s Mad Fashion and Project Runway, who will be showcasing his outlandish creations, and pumpkin-carving master Ray Villafane, who will wow the audience with his carving demos.
The famous Halloween Costume Style Show returns and will feature 100 of the hottest new costumes and licenses. Afterward, guests can attend the Saturday Night After-Party at Shark Bar in downtown Houston to mingle with peers and exhibitors in a lively atmosphere. To register for the Halloween & Party Expo, visit www.halloweenpartyexpo.com.
Consumers are prepared for a holly, jolly holiday season, though it’s evident most will take a conservative approach with their gift-giving budgets. According to NRF’s holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, the average holiday shopper will spend $749.51 on gifts, décor, greeting cards, and more, up slightly from the $740.57 they actually spent last year. NRF is forecasting holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion.
According to the survey, the biggest portion of shoppers’ budget this year will go towards gifts for family members with the average person planning to spend $421.82 on children, parents, aunt, uncles, and others. Additionally, people will spend $75.13 on friends, $23.48 on co-workers, and $28.13 on others, such as pets and community members. Consumers will also spend on food and candy ($100.76), greeting cards ($28.66), and flowers ($19.55.) When it comes to decorations, the average person will spend $51.99, up from $49.15 last year and the most in the survey’s history. Total spending on holiday décor will reach $6.9 billion.
Nintendo is unleashing the largest launch-day video game lineup in its history for its new Wii U home console. When Wii U launches in the Americas on Nov. 18, 23 games from Nintendo and its third-party publishing partners will be ready to play as well. These include Nintendo-published games like Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Sing Party, and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, as well as third-party powerhouses like ZombiU from Ubisoft, Call of Duty: Black Ops II from Activision Publishing, Inc., Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two from Disney Interactive, FIFA Soccer 13 from Electronic Arts, and Scribblenauts Unlimited from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
Can’t wait until November 18? Check out the trailer!
The high-definition Wii U system is available in two versions, and each comes with a touch-screen Wii U GamePad controller. The Basic Set will be offered in white at a suggested retail price of $299.99 in the U.S., while the Deluxe Set, which includes higher storage capacity, additional accessories, and Nintendo Land, will be offered in black at a suggested retail price of $349.99 in the U.S. [Read more...]
PriceGrabber has released additional results of its first winter holiday shopping survey, revealing that 54 percent of consumers plan to spend $500 or more on gifts this season, slightly higher than last year. Conducted from August 31 to September 12, the survey includes responses from 2,235 U.S. online shopping consumers. Click either photo below to view the full-size infographic.
Toys “R” Us has announced four emerging trends it expects to impact toy-buying decisions this holiday season. Representative of these top trends are toys based on tiny tots’ favorite characters, kid-friendly tablets, “rad” playthings from the ’80s that are making a comeback, and items that offer fun light-up features.
For the latest news about the 2012 Holiday Season at Toys “R” Us, visit http://www.toysrusinc.com/press-room/r-holiday-press-room/.