Online Retailers Plan to Start Holiday Shopping Promotions by Halloween
According to Shop.org’s eHoliday survey conducted by BIGinsight, six in 10, or 62 percent, of online retailers will start their online holiday marketing promotions by Halloween, up from 53 percent last year. Thirty-eight percent will begin marketing their online promotions by mid-November or later.
Online retailers have good cause to start earlier, too. According to the National Retail Federation’s recently-released holiday consumer spending survey, more than half of shoppers will shop online in the coming weeks—the highest amount in the survey’s 10-year history. Additionally, about 22 percent of consumers said specifically that they would begin shopping in October, up from 20 percent last year.
According to the survey, nine in 10 retailers, or 90 percent, plan to offer some form of free shipping for online shoppers. When asked which promotions they will emphasize most heavily during the holiday season, 37.5 percent plan to offer free standard shipping with conditions and 30 percent will offer free standard shipping without conditions.
In addition to free shipping offers, retailers are planning promotions that include coupons, limited-time only deals, and discounts on specific purchases. Nearly half, 47.5 percent, said they plan to heavily emphasize promotions that offer discounts that include a specific percent off their purchase. About 12.5 percent plan to offer coupons with select dollars off their purchase. Additionally, 32.5 percent said they would offer limited-time only promotions.
For more results from this survey, visit www.biginsight.com.
ASTRA Announces Theme for 2013 Event
The theme for ASTRA’s 2013 Marketplace & Academy is “From Ordinary to Extraordinary,” the association announced. The event will take place in Nashville from June 16 to 19.
“Our theme reflects the extraordinary products, the extraordinary deals, the extraordinary educational program, and the extraordinary networking opportunities attendees will find in Nashville,” says Kathleen McHugh, president of ASTRA, in a news release.
For more information, visit www.astratoy.org.
PlaSmart Signed as Exclusive Distributor for Fun Slides Carpet Skates
PlaSmart, Inc., has signed on as the exclusive distributor for mass and specialty retailers in both Canada and the U.S. for Fun Slides Carpet Skates.
Fun Slides are smooth gliding foot sliders that fit all shoe sizes so kids ages 6 and up can slide around the house. Fun Slides won't damage carpets, will work on any type of rug, and have built-in traction grooves for safety.
International Playthings Named Distributor for NICI Products
International Playthings, LLC has partnered with the NICI Corp. to distribute its collections of plush toys and accessories to the U.S. and Canada. IPL will introduce NICI’s White World Winter collection to the U.S., just in time for the holiday season. This collection features the cuddly polar bear, a seal, and a wide range of complementing accessories. IPL will also launch the North American NICI website www.nici-world.com this month, where it will feature all of the latest NICI products available.
Furby Expands Reach to Europe
Hasbro, Inc., is rolling out a licensing program supporting the return of Furby into next year. The plush electronic creature has re-emerged, and the first wave of merchandise is set to arrive at retail in the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Poland, Turkey, and Russia this fall. Licensed Furby merchandise will be sold at hypermarket, specialty stores, and wholesalers throughout Europe. Products include apparel and accessories from Smith & Brooks, TV Mania, ATM, Trademark, Smyk, E plus M, Aventure Diffusion, and Quality Licensing Product; home décor from Character World and Worlds Apart; paper and party goods from Amscan; plush from Play by Play (Famosa); and school supplies from Trademark and Sportandem.
Nickelodeon and Viacom Plan SpongeBob and Dora Infant Lines
Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products plans to launch new infant programs around Nickelodeon’s evergreen properties SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. The new lines—tentatively titled Dora Baby and Bubbly Baby Bob!—are set to roll out internationally next spring.
The Bubbly Baby Bob! collection is aimed at babies ages 0 to 36 months and will showcase SpongeBob SquarePants and his friends, incorporating simple phrases and cheerful poses of the Bikini Bottom inhabitants. Paired with the latest fashion forward looks, the new collection incorporates a soft color palette suitable for a unisex demographic. Initial new product offerings will focus on apparel and accessories.
The Dora Baby collection is aimed at babies 0 to 24 months. Initial new products will include apparel and layette. Dora Baby product offerings will include apparel and toys and will launch in Canada, France, UK, Australia, Spain, Mexico, Benelux, Turkey, and Israel by late next year.
Chicago Toy & Game Group Announces Speakers and playChic Fashion Show
The Chicago Toy & Game Group has selected its keynote speakers for the sixth annual International Toy & Game Inventor and Industry Conference, which will be held on November 15 and 16 at Chicago’s Navy Pier.
This year’s speakers include Ira Hernowitz, global head of "R" Brands at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us; Kevin Harrington, chairman and founder of TVGoods, Inc., and chairman of As Seen on TV, Inc.; Jeff Jones, founder and principal of Jones Innovation Works; Mark T. Reyland, executive director of the United Inventors Association of America; and Brian Torney, co-founder of Otherdoor Entertainment and director of entertainment brands for Manifest Digital.
This year the Chicago Toy & Game Group will present its first annual playChic Fashion Show, which pairs haute couture designers with toy and game companies to create looks inspired by hot toy and game brands. Brands include Settlers of Catan, Moshi Monsters, Word Winder, Annie, Brenda Starr—Reporter, and Pony Royale. The event will be held November 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. at City Winery.
StinkyKids the Musical Available for Publication and Licensing
StinkyKids, LLC and the authors of StinkyKids The Musical, have appointed Theatrical Rights Worldwide as their exclusive agent for the licensing of the musical. The show is now available for worldwide publication and professional and amateur licensing.
StinkyKids The Musical was commissioned and originally produced by Vital Theatre Co. and is the winner of the 2012 Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best Family Show.
Zydeco Introduces FlopJox and Munchkin Monsters Floppets
Zydeco Studios has introduced two new lines of Floppets, the collectible and wearable pets. FlopJox is the newest Floppets line, which features sports-themed characters for young sports enthusiasts. The line includes a baseball, basketball, hockey puck, football, soccer ball, and more. Munchkin Monsters is also a new line of Floppets, which features nine monster characters complete with antennas, ghoulish grins, and silly eyes.
Zydeco Studios will create five new exclusive Floppets that will be made available with Standard Publishing’s Vacation Bible School Program for next year. Zydeco Studios has also partnered with Six Flags Great Escape Lodge and is creating four Floppets based on its Timbertown characters. Oakley the Bear, Spruce the Moose, Bucky the Beaver and Sheldon the Turtle will each have a Floppet modeled after it.
National Game & Puzzle Week Approaches
Patch Products is again part of National Game & Puzzle Week, scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving, November 18 to 24. The week is designed to bring family and friends together for rounds of friendly competition.
Patch is encouraging families to add their game-play minutes to the Million Minute Family Challenge, which is a grassroots effort encouraging interaction through playing games. The goal is to reach 1 million minutes of game play by December 31.
It’s easy to be a part of the challenge. Simply play a game with family members and friends and log your game-play minutes at www.millionminute.com. The website is filled with fun game ideas, ways to get involved, and free lesson plans for teachers.