The Toy Insider Attracts Thousands at NYC Woman’s Day Event
The Toy Insider was on hand for Woman’s Day’s Make It A Woman’s Day event at New York City’s busy Grand Central Station on October 5 to preview the hottest toys of the holiday season. Toy Insider Mom Laurie Schacht spent the day demonstrating toys for various age ranges. Thousands of event attendees walked away with handfuls of toy giveaways, copies of the The Toy Insider gift guide, along with special offers and coupons. One lucky entrant in The Toy Insider’s sweepstakes received $500 worth of hot holiday toys. The event celebrated Woman’s Day’s 75th anniversary. The Toy Insider also appears in the November issue of Woman’s Day, on newsstands October 16.
NRF Expects Increased Holiday Sales, While PriceGrabber Predicts Modest Spending
Holiday sales this year will increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) holiday forecast. That’s higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent. Actual holiday sales last year grew 5.6 percent.
Recently released government data shows a crosscurrent of indicators that could impact holiday sales, including unimpressive job and income growth and a high unemployment rate. However, positive indicators are emerging that show a cautious but capable consumer, such as increases in confidence and home prices.
NRF also expects that retailers will hire between 585,000 and 625,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, which is comparable to the 607,500 seasonal employees they hired last year.
Meanwhile, PriceGrabber found that 50 percent of consumers plan to spend the same amount they spent last year, up slightly from 48 percent in 2011. Twelve percent plan to spend more, compared with 7 percent last year. The survey was conducted from August 31 to September 12.
The survey also found that consumers are positive about the upcoming holiday season. Of those consumers who indicated that they will spend more money this holiday season compared with last year, 42 percent said they are making more money this year, 34 percent attributed their decision to better prices on gifts, 22 percent said they have confidence in the economy, 13 percent said they will spend more due to an increased credit limit, and 8 percent are tired of being frugal.
Fall Toy Preview Total Buyer Attendance Grows by 3 Percent
The Toy Industry Association’s Fall Toy Preview 2012 opened its doors last week in Dallas to more than 700 buyers from around the world. Despite some exhibitors reporting what they felt was a decrease in foot traffic, the TIA says it welcomed a 3 percent increase in total buyers who visited the October 2 to 4 event to get a first look at the hottest new toys and games for holiday 2013. Foreign buyer attendance grew 9 percent year-to-year, TIA reported.
Members of the international toy industry visited from 34 countries, up 10 percent. The top five countries represented by buyers were Canada, the UK, Mexico, Australia, and Hong Kong. More than 340 retail outlets were in attendance, a 4 percent increase, including 20 of the top 25 toy sellers in the U.S. Retailers included Amazon, Big Lots, Costco, Family Dollar Store, Sears Holdings Corp., Toys “R” Us, Target, and Walmart Stores, Inc.
A record-breaking 348 companies exhibited their latest product lines in open, closed or combination booths, and showrooms.
Sponsored by Techno Source and presented by Carlin West Agency/NFL Rush Zone, the opening night party on October 2 raised funds for the Toy Industry Foundation and gave participants a chance to meet Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
Toys “R” Us In-Store Pop-Up Shops Come to Macy’s
Macy’s, Inc. and Toys “R” Us, Inc. have signed an agreement to offer Toys “R” Us Express-branded departments in 24 Macy’s stores in major markets nationwide during this year’s holiday selling season. The departments, which will operate on a leased basis, will average approximately 1,500 square feet (with some smaller and some larger). They will be open for a period of about three months, roughly from October 15 to January 15. Based on a number of factors, this pop-up toy shop concept could be expanded in the future, according to the companies.
The departments will offer an edited assortment of the hottest and most popular items from Toys “R” Us, including products featured on the 2012 Toys “R” Us Holiday Hot Toy list.
Hasbro to Launch Angry Birds Star Wars Line
Hasbro, Inc., has entered into an agreement with LucasFilm to manufacture and globally market a variety of products based on the newly launched Star Wars edition of the Angry Birds mobile game from Rovio Entertainment. The new Angry Birds Star Wars line from Hasbro will launch in the beginning of November.
NPD Group to Launch Retail Tracking Service
The NPD Group will launch its new Retail Tracking Service, which will monitor sales of toy products from a range of retailers across brick-and-mortar and e-commerce channels. The new service captures close to 80 percent of U.S. retailers, representing nearly 38,000 doors, and will deliver comprehensive coverage of point-of-sale purchasing in 99 toy categories.
The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service will provide enhanced data-mining tools and capabilities, giving users the ability to access an extremely detailed view of brands, both large and small, and accurately analyze competitive item-level information. Companies will be armed with information to diagnose what’s happening at a more granular level behind category, brand, and manufacturer performance.
The Retail Tracking Service will be available on a monthly, as well as weekly, basis allowing for quicker access to emerging trends and the ability to react faster to those trends ahead of the competition.
The new service will launch in December and will include two years of trend data from October 2010 forward to track performance in the toy industry.
New Search Engine Traps MAPP Violators
The Creditors Network has launched MAPP Trap, a proprietary search engine that scours the Internet to find advertised price violations of Minimum Advertised Pricing Policies. The tool helps to sniff-out sellers advertising deep discounts on products, especially sellers who disguise their identities and hide behind Amazon, eBay, and other e-commerce websites.
The search engine “traps” the links to violations and identifies the e-merchants so the manufacturer knows who to contact for policy enforcement. For information on how to get a free demo of MAPP Trap, visit www.creditorsnetwork.com or call (303) 670-5111.
Ematic Releases Kids' Tablet
Ematic has released its 7-inch Android 4.0 FunTab Pro, a new tablet tailored to children. FunTab Pro has a rubberized texture and ergonomic design, ensuring a secure grip and a shape that fits in small hands.
FunTab Pro features include interactive story books, video mail, and an art studio. Interactive story books allow parents to make a video recording of themselves reading to the child using Zoodles.com or the device’s built-in camera. The video mail feature allows invited family members to send short video messages to the FunTab Pro from Zoodles.com.
The tablet comes with a games bundle that includes Angry Birds, Where’s My Water?, Cut the Rope, Skitch, School Assistant, Fruit Ninja, and educational apps from Intellijoy. A kid-safe web browser is also included.
The tablet runs on an Android 4.0 operating system and has a 1 GHz processor. The tablet comes with 1 GB RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, and a MicroSD card slot, allowing for an additional 32 GB of storage. The FunTab Pro has a 7-inch 800 x 480 multi-touch screen, front and back cameras, and built-in WiFi. Its HD Video player supports up to 1080p HD videos. The tablet also features an HDMI output for connecting to a TV. Its battery life allows for up to eight hours of continuous playtime.
China Toy Expo Expecting Increased Attendance
The 11th International Trade Fair for Toys & Hobby, China Toy Expo, the largest international toy trade event in mainland China, opens its doors Thursday and runs through Saturday at the Shanghai International Expo Center. Occuring concurrently with Brand Licensing Hall, the combined events will offer worldwide buyers a wide range of sourcing opportunities in toys, hobby, juvenile products, and licensing.
The event is expected to top last year’s attendance. Last year more than 1,000 exhibitors participated, and more than 3,800 booths occupied the exhibit space.
More than 87 percent of Chinese exhibitors in the expo represent factories from about 20 major production regions, manufacturing a wide range of products, including models, dolls, wooden toys, plastic and electronic toys, playground equipment, and plush toys. For more information about the show, visit china-toy-expo.com/en.
Nuremberg ToyAwards Accepting Entries
The 64th Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nuremberg is accepting entries for awards in five categories, including baby and infant (0-2 years), preschool (3-5 years), school-aged kids (6-10 years), teenager and family (10 years and older), and the SpecialAward of the Toy Fair Special.
New products will be judged by a panel of trade representatives and social and play experts. Toys will be judged on creativity, play value, safety, and degree of innovation. One product in each category will be selected from 15 finalists.
The professional audience will then judge the winners in the InnovationCenter for the audience-selected ToyAward Traders’ Favorite. The main winner, the Traders’ Favorite, will receive a cash prize of €20,000, and will be announced at the closing press conference on February 4.
Exhibitors can register their new products for the ToyAward competition at toyaward.com. All information about the ToyAward, the jury, and the winners of the past years is available on the site. Registration is free and will be accepted through December 19. The Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nuremberg will be held from January 30 to February 4.
Laser Pegs Introduces New Kits
Laser Pegs is introducing a new line of kits that can be used with other toy building blocks. When connected to a Laser Pegs power source, Laser Peg shapes and blocks illuminate with brightly colored LED light. Each Laser Peg kit comes with a variety of Laser Peg shapes, stackable pegs, and construction bricks. Inside of the Laser Peg shapes are 3 millimeter LED lights in a variety of colors. Each kit comes with instructions to build six or more models and any kit can be used to freely create any design a kid can imagine.
Monopoly and Other Hasbro Properties Heading to the Big Screen
Emmett/Furla Films has reached an agreement with Hasbro, Inc., to finance and co-produce three films based on Hasbro properties in the next two years. Under this new creative partnership, Emmett/Furla and Hasbro will co-produce three films along with Brandon Grimes, while Envision Entertainment's partners Stepan Martisoyan and Remington Chase, along with Emmett/Furla, will co-finance them. The first movie will be based on Monopoly and is slated to begin production next year.
ZeptoLab, Sony Pictures Television Partner to Develop Game Show TV Series
Mobile gaming company, ZeptoLab, has partnered with Sony Pictures Television to develop a live-action game show television series based on ZeptoLab’s Cut the Rope app game.
This partnership will allow Sony Pictures Television to have the first look at future games developed by ZeptoLab for live-action game show possibilities.
Hasbro will introduce the line with several new toys based on the Angry Birds Star Wars property including the AT-AT Attack Battle Game. The line will also feature new products based on a variety of existing Hasbro properties, including the Jenga brand and the recently re-launched Koosh brand, to introduce new play experiences featuring iconic Star Wars characters re-imagined as high-flying Angry Birds and villainous pigs.
Doodle Jump Games and Toys in Development
Lima Sky has announced a hand-picked team of designers and manufacturers to craft a complete line of Doodle Jump toys and games for all tiers of distribution. Licensees will work directly with Lima Sky, including founder Igor Pusenjak, to ensure each product meets the standard of the Doodle Jump app.
Global exclusive master toy licensee Innovation First International, creators of the Hexbug electronic toys, has begun developing a broad assortment of collectible and robotic toys. The company is also teaming up with Gund to design a collection of both premium and value-priced plush toys. Innovative Concepts in Entertainment is working with Raw Thrills to create Doodle Jump Arcade, a high-definition, coin-op arcade version of the original title.
Warner Bros. and Cryptozoic Entertainment Partner for Middle-Earth Games
Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) has partnered with Cryptozoic Entertainment for a The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey board game and a Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring deck-building card game.
Set to launch at hobby and retail stores early next year, Cryptozoic Entertainment and world-renowned game developer Reiner Knizia have created a board game that takes players through the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his 13 dwarves in the upcoming film The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Based on the highly anticipated film from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey board game brings fans on the journey to recover lost treasure.
Launching this winter in hobby and retail stores, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring deck-building game invites players to assume the role of Frodo, Gandalf the Grey, Aragorn, or one of their brave and heroic allies in the struggle against the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. The deck-building game adds to Cryptozoic’s lineup of games based on the original The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
The Boppy Co. Names Exclusive Licensing Agency
The Boppy Co., maker of the Boppy Feeding and Infant Support Pillow, has named Brandgenuity as its exclusive licensing agency. Brandgenuity will help the Boppy brand expand beyond its core baby and prenatal products to a range of mom and baby offerings.
The Boppy Co. plans to launch a comprehensive licensing program and work with licensing partners to create a new range of Boppy-branded products that will provide “support for all momkind.” Key categories for expansion include gear, changing and bath products, bedding, layette, furniture, home décor and toys.