November 08, 2012

Laser Pegs

International Toy Fair

PriceGrabber Forecasts Increase in Mobile Shopping for Holiday Season

PriceGrabber has released additional results of its second winter holiday shopping survey, revealing where consumers will shop for gifts this year. When asked to select the ways they will shop this season, nearly all respondents (90 percent) indicated that they will do some online shopping from a computer. The number of consumers who plan to visit brick-and-mortar stores dropped by 2 percentage points to 46 percent compared to last year. Additionally, the survey results indicated that 16 percent of consumers will shop using a mobile device, compared with 13 percent last year.
PriceGrabber’s data also saw an increase in the percentage of purchases that will be made from a mobile device compared with last year. In 2012, the average consumer will make 6 percent of their holiday purchases from a mobile phone, 62 percent online, and 32 percent in brick-and-mortar stores. Last year, the average shopper said he or she would make only 4 percent of purchases from a mobile phone, 63 percent online, and 33 percent in brick-and-mortar stores.
Of the survey respondents planning to use a mobile device to shop this holiday season, 37 percent said they plan to do the most shopping from their mobile device on Black Friday (November 23). Cyber Monday (November 26) followed closely with 36 percent. Eleven percent preferred the Saturday after Black Friday (November 24) and 10 percent indicated Thanksgiving Day (November 22).

ZeptoLab Launches Cut the Rope Animation Series

ZeptoLabZeptoLab, best known for the game Cut the Rope, has launched a new animation series, Om Nom Stories, bringing its little green monster to life on screens worldwide. The first season of the animation series will be 10 episodes long and run through the beginning of next year. Plans for a second season are in the works with an estimated 40 episodes coming next year.
ZeptoLab has also launched a new video player for Cut the Rope and Cut the Rope: Experiments. Available via an update to the games across both iOS and Android platforms, fans can watch Om Nom Stories episodes directly through the app as they are simultaneously released or on the ZeptoLab YouTube channel.
The series chronicles Om Nom’s adventures with a young boy named Evan, beginning with the little monster’s mysterious appearance on Evan’s doorstep in the first episode. Om Nom Stories has been previewed in more than 19,000 movie theaters across the country as part of an exclusive partnership with National CineMedia’s FirstLook pre-show. ZeptoLab continues its expansion into entertainment, recently announcing a partnership with Sony Pictures Television to produce a live-action game show based on Cut the Rope.

ShopperTrak Forecasts 10 Biggest Shopping Days for the Holiday Season

ShopperTrak predicts that national retail sales, when compared to the same period last year, will rise 3.3 percent during the peak holiday shopping months of November and December. Retail foot traffic will increase 2.8 percent.
Last year’s 10 busiest shopping days accounted for more than one-third (36.5 percent) of sales of general merchandise, apparel, furniture, and other products (GAFO) for the November and December holiday season. This drove a 3.7 percent increase in total GAFO retail sales over 2010.
Central to this year’s increased retail foot traffic and sales are the two extra weekends in the holiday season that result from Christmas falling on a Tuesday. One “extra” weekend will occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas; the second will fall between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Weekends are vital to retailing, as seven of the top 10 retail traffic days and six of the top 10 sales days will fall on the six weekends between November 23 (Black Friday) and December 31.
This year, ShopperTrak expects that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, will be the single biggest sales and foot traffic day of this holiday season. Last year, Black Friday sales increased 6.6 percent over the same day of 2010. This resulted in $11.4 billion in retail purchases, the largest dollar amount ever spent on that day. Retail foot traffic rose accordingly, increasing by 5.1 percent over Black Friday 2010.
ShopperTrak predicts the following days will be the top sales days this year:
November 23 (Black Friday), December 22 (Super Saturday), December 15, December 21, December 23, December 8, December 26 (day after Christmas), November 24 (Black Saturday), December 20, and December 29.

Amazon Challenges Retail Giants for Top Spots

Amazon is challenging Walmart as a power retailer of the future, according to Kantar Retail’s 2012 U.S. PoweRanking report.
Walmart is still predicted to be the No. 1 power retailer in the next 15 years, but other retailers are challenging its lead. Amazon saw an increase of 9.3 points, placing it fifth as a future power retailer.
The gap is narrowing between the top four retailers, Walmart, Target, Kroger, and Costco, showing how significantly retail has changed, with consumers moving towards multi-channel and discount retailers.
The retailers projected to be the power retailers in the next 15 years are Walmart (71.3 percernt), Target (44.6 percent), Kroger (38.2 percent), Costco (32.9 percent), Amazon (16.2 percent), Dollar General (13.2 percent), Walgreens (10 percent), Publix (7 percent), CVS (5.9 percent), and Aldi (4.3 percent).

Specialty Toy Retailers Gear Up for Neighborhood Toy Store Day

Independent toy retailers in the U.S. and Canada will celebrate Neighborhood Toy Store Day on November 10, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has announced. ASTRA established Neighborhood Toy Store Day to introduce families to the fun of shopping at local toy stores and to celebrate each retailer’s commitment to the community. The event is held on the second Saturday in November every year.  Participating stores will host local in-store events for families, such as face painting, craft projects, live performances, special discounts, product giveaways and raffles, toy and game demonstrations, and live entertainment. Many are combining their celebration with tie-ins to their community’s buy-local campaign and are donating a portion of the day’s proceeds to a local charity.
To find an ASTRA store to visit on Neighborhood Toy Store Day, go to www.yourneighborhoodtoystore.org.

Zeptolab Signs Rubie’s for Cut the Rope

ZeptoLabZeptoLab has entered into a deal with Rubie’s Costume Co., Inc., to develop a range of costumes and dress-up accessories inspired by the Cut the Rope app. Licensing agents Studio Licensing and Established Brands Licensing brokered the deal.
The range of items includes costumes in all sizes, as well as for pets; accessories, including makeup for face and body, hats and headwear, tights, gloves, costumes, shoes and boots, treat bags and pails, and fun streamers; and dress-up (costume and accessory sets). The products will be available across all channels of distribution in the U.S. and Canada in the summer.

 

 

China Toy Expo Participation Grows

Organizers of the International Trade Fair for Toys & Hobby, 2012 China Toy Expo said the show ended successfully on October 13 in Shanghai. Altogether, 65,780 buyers and 1,014 exhibitors worldwide—compared with 55,000 buyers and 850 exhibitors last year—participated in the show and its concurrent events during the three-day period. The growth of overall visitors and event scale increased by 20 percent and 35 percent respectively.
Organized by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (TJPA), China Toy Expo is the largest international toy trade fair in mainland China held every October in Shanghai concurrently with China Kids Expo and Brand Licensing Hall. Compared with last year, international visitors grew 25 percent. Chinese buyers, including sales agents, major shopping malls from 32 provinces, and more than 400 major cities, chain stores, and large toy distribution centers participated. The quality of visitors also improved. Approximately 51 percent of visitors were sales agent, regional distributors, or wholesalers. More than 25 percent of them were from chain stores and shopping malls.
More than 81 percent of the exhibitors have already committed to participating again. Next year, the show will be held from October 15 to 17. For more information about China Toy Expo, visit www.china-toy-expo.com/en.

Edu-Science Signs Distributor Deal with Elenco Electronics

Edu-Science, Ltd., has named Elenco Electronics, Inc., as the exclusive direct import distributor of its educational toys marketed under Science Tech, Discovery Planet, Tree of Knowledge, Spy Tech, and Edu-Toys brands. Under the agreement, Elenco will handle Canada and U.S. distribution.
Elenco has a long relationship with Edu-Science, having been the exclusive domestic distributor since 2005. Edu-Science is known for its Da Vinci DIY kits under license from Leonardo3 and Jr. Scientist Experiment Kits by Gakken-Japan.  Also Included in the Edu-Science line are Rock Tumblers, Metal Detectors, Dinosaur Skeleton models, telescopes, microscopes, and science kits for the human body and geology.

ASTRA Launches Revamped Website

The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) has upgraded its website to serve as a daily destination for professionals in the specialty toy industry.  Located at www.astratoy.org, its home page includes daily industry news posts, member tweets, information about new members, and frequently changing stories about the specialty toy business.
The website also offers retailers and manufacturers opportunities to feature their products, participate in ASTRA member discussion groups, learn about the importance of play for child development, and to promote the advantages of shopping at locally-owned retailers.

Safari Ltd. Sponsors Dad Convention and Releases Glow-in-the-Dark Replicas

Safari Ltd. sponsored the 17th Annual At-Home Dads Convention’s Meet & Greet kick-off event in Washington, D.C., on October 5 and 6.
Safari Ltd. provided more than 200 replicas, 90 dino-skull key chains, and 90 collector’s guide booklets to convention guests, who attended various seminars addressing priority concerns ranging from education to cooking with their children. Meet & Greet guests also enjoyed one free drink and an authentic replica courtesy of Safari Ltd.
Safari Ltd., will be releasing 15 new glow-in-the-dark replicas in January.
Glow-in-the-dark additions include the Halloween Designer Toob, with bat, black widow spider, starfish, jellyfish; and an entire line of Good Luck Minis, consisting of bats, ants, butterflies, bumble bees, ladybugs, starfish, pufferfish, and jellyfish. The glow-in-the-dark additions are among more than 100 new introductions for next year.

Survey: Moms Influenced by Social Media When Buying Products

Some 92 percent of moms active in social media are buying products as a result of a social media recommendation, according to the findings of a new study, "How Moms are Using Social Media Right Now, and How You Can Make the Most of It," conducted by Child's Play Communications. The results were presented for the first time at the eighth annual Marketing to Moms Conference in Chicago, held from October 23 to 24.
Among the study’s other findings, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs were the three most popular social media platforms with moms surveyed. Pinterest was the platform that most moms (63 percent) tried for the first time this year. Instagram topped the list of technologies moms (28 percent) were likely to try next. Polyvore and Olioboard were among the new services these early adopters were exploring. Moms are also spending more time on Facebook than in the past (64 percent) and less time on Twitter (33 percent). Of all social media platforms, blogs has the most impact on purchasing decisions (80 percent). Toys were the No. 1 kids’ product purchased by moms as a result of social media recommendations.

Lima Sky Joins with Ravensburger for Doodle Jump Board Game

Doodle JumpLima Sky has joined with Ravensburger to design the first Doodle Jump big box signature board game.
The announcement comes as Doodle Jump released a major content update for the Halloween season. The all-new Doodle Jump Halloween theme brings the title’s previous Halloween content together under one banner, featuring a host of spooky new content. For the latest details on Doodle Jump, and the release of its Halloween theme, visit Lima Sky’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/doodlejump.

 

 

Global Toy Conference Explores Digital Marketing and E-Commerce

The fourth Global Toy Conference in Nuremberg, scheduled for February 4, will feature industry experts discussing the theme, “Digital Worlds—Success with Online Marketing and E-Commerce.” Scheduled speakers will explore how social media can boost customer retention and what digital marketing can achieve.
The Berlin web expert and book author Sascha Lobo opens the Global Toy Conference as keynote speaker. Lobo’s presentation will focus on what future-orientated online marketing must look like. The conference is presented by Yvette Schwerdt, international marketing expert and head of the German-American marketing agency Made-to-Market in New York. She will speak about the digital revolution and discuss how industry insiders can achieve success with digital and mobile platforms.
More details about the topics, speakers, and registration are available at www.globaltoyconference.com.

LIMA Encourages Members to Support Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort     

LIMA has asked its members to support Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc., K.I.D.S. to provide disaster relief following Hurricane Sandy. Sandy affected New York, New Jersey and areas along the North East Corridor. Children and families in shelters and those returning to homes still without power are in need of new clothes, blankets, shoes, toys, baby products, and books.
In New York City, K.I.D.S. is partnering with multiple agencies to set up two major distribution sites in Queens. These sites will serve families who have lost their houses to fire, floods, and the storm surge. In New Jersey, K.I.D.S. is working with partners up and down the Jersey coast to collect and distribute relief supplies to families.
K.I.D.S. has a 10 to 1 matching system, providing $10 worth of products for every $1 donated. A $10 donation will provide $100 worth of merchandise to those in need.  Any amount will help K.I.D.S. to supply essentials to families impacted by Hurricane Sandy. For more information or to make a donation, visit http://www.kidsdonations.org/home.php.

 
Ridemakerz Lands in Retail with New Build-a-Car Line

RidemakerzRidemakerz, the build-a-car line, will launch in mass-market stores this fall with the launch of Xtreme Customz. The new Ridemakerz line lets kids build and customize a car using snap-on parts, including custom rims, engines, and sidepipes that are interchangeable across cars.  Kids can choose from authentic automotive Ridez such as the Dodge Viper and Chevy Corvette, as well as Hero Ridez including Spider-Man and Batman.
Each kit includes a set of Mix ’n Match parts, ranging from flame sidepipes to bat wings to supercharged engines. Each 1:48 scale Xtreme Customz also features a four-mode adjustable chassis.

TIA

Laser Pegs Appoints New COO and Executive Vice President

Laser Pegs has appointed Bob Sica as the new COO and executive vice president of the company. Sica, the former director of K’nex, brings more than 20 years of experience in construction toys to the Laser Pegs team. Sica will be charged with driving sales, expanding distribution, and overseeing production and manufacturing processes for Laser Pegs.

Toy and Game Inventor Awards to Recognize Humanitarian Excellence

The Toy and Game Inventor of the Year Award ceremony will be held November 16 and will honor Peter and Andrew Brown with its Hassenfeld Family Humanitarian Award.
Peter Brown has been part of the International toy and game industry for more than 40 years. The creation of Flair Leisure Products is his most recent accomplishment. Flair is now one of the UK's top ten toy companies with consistent growth since it was founded in 1999. To his credit, Peter has worked with many of the toy and game industry’s most notable prized players, such as Tomy, Hasbro, K’nex, and Learning Curve. His playful profession began in the mid 1960's as a product manager at U.S. hobby-craft company.
Peter’s younger son Andrew rowed for nearly 3,000 miles earlier this year to support the Toy Trust and Help a London Child. Both of these charities benefit British youth and their families. Raising more than $145,000 on a 40-day aquatic escapade, Andrew crossed the Atlantic faster than any solo rower had done before, crushing the record by more than two days. The 27 year-old lives in London and works at the family business, Flair.
The TAGIE Awards takes place the night before the featured event, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair at Navy Pier from November 17 to 18. For more information on this event or to purchase tickets, visit www.tagieawards.com.

LeapFrog Enterprises Releases Financial Results

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., has announced financial results for the third quarter ended September 30.
For this year’s third quarter results compared to the previous year, consolidated net sales were $193.1 million, up 28 percent. Net income per diluted share was $0.60, up 71 percent ,or $0.25 per share. Cash and cash equivalents were $49.4 million as of September 30, up 93 percent or $23.8 million.
For the nine month period compared to last year, consolidated net sales were $336.6 million, up $91.6 million or 37 percent. Net income per diluted share was $0.35, an improvement of $0.55 per share.

Mega Brands Releases Financial Results   

Mega Brands, Inc., has released its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30.
Consolidated net sales in the third quarter increased 5 percent to $140.1 million, compared to $133.4 million in the corresponding period last year. Toy sales increased 5 percent compared to the third quarter of last year, with higher product shipments in the preschool and boys construction categories. Toy sales have increased year-over-year in 11 of the last 12 quarters. Sales of stationery and activities products were up 3 percent, the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth in this segment. North American sales rose 19 percent, more than offsetting lower international shipments.
Net earnings were $19.5 million, or $1.19 per basic share ($0.65 per diluted share), compared to $17.1 million, or $1.04 per basic share ($0.51 per diluted share), in the third quarter of last year. For the nine-month period ended September 30, net earnings were $12.6 million, or $0.77 per basic share ($0.60 per diluted share), compared to $8.1 million, or $0.49 per basic share ($0.40 per diluted share), in the same period last year.

MGA Sees Financial Growth

MGA Entertainment, the largest privately held U.S. based toy company, posted 41 percent dollar growth in the third quarter of this year versus last year, according to The NPD Group. MGA is the fastest growing toy company among the top ten toy manufacturers, with sales that continue to accelerate at a steady pace, according to NPD.

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