Toy Sales for Easter 2014 Are Up Year-over-Year

According to data from The NPD Group Inc., U.S. dollar sales of toys increased 3 percent in the four weeks leading up to Easter, compared to the four weeks preceding Easter of last year. Easter toy sales got a boost from the warmer weather provided by the holiday occurring three weeks earlier than last year. This was also evident in the strong growth performance of outdoor and sports toys in the four weeks leading up to Easter.

Comparing the pre-Easter period of March 23 to April 19 against March 3 to 30 last year, U.S. toy sales declined by 1 percent, but enjoyed 3 percent year-to-date dollar gains through the holiday.

Measured in dollar sales, the top toy growth segments were: outdoor & sports toys, with 20 percent growth; building sets, with 10 percent growth; and arts & crafts, with 10 percent growth.

The Trash Pack Sells Over 500K During Easter Week in Canada

TrashPack LogoAcross Canada, Imports Dragon posted impressive numbers during Easter weekend, breaking yearly sales records with the Trash Pack brand. Over 500,000 Trashies were sold over the course of the weekend, marking the beginning of a new Easter trend.

Each collectible Trashie figurine comes in three different colors and is named after some rotten delight found in the garbage. There are more than 100 Trash Pack characters to collect per series, including rare, ultra-rare, and glow-in-the-dark Trashies.

“If the trend continues as it has across the world, we can expect some more amazing results for series 5 and 6 coming out this summer and fall, respectively,” said Véronique Léonard, brand manager at Imports Dragon.

Nintendo and National Park Foundation Team Up for 2014 White House Easter Egg Roll

NintendoNintendo of America will join with the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, to bring fun, active-play video games to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Nintendo will be at the event with Wii Fit U and Wii Sports Club, two Wii U games that ask players to get active.

Mario and Luigi costumed characters will also be on site to greet guests, take photos with fans, and cheer on families as they play. The White House Easter Egg Roll, which takes place in President’s Park on the South Lawn of the White House, supports the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to help kids grow up healthy.

COMMENTARY: Easter Is the Other Big Holiday

I don’t know about you, but in my family, Easter is the “other” big holiday. It gets as much attention as Christmas and Thanksgiving, complete with family from near and far, a feast, candy, and, of course, Easter baskets. My sister and I are both in our 20s, but who says grown-ups can’t still get excited to open their Easter baskets and see what goodies await? While Easter isn’t the time for lots of presents, our baskets usually contain some candy, a few small trinkets, and one bigger gift. This Sunday, when kids across the country open their Easter baskets, some may be lucky enough to receive any of the following fun spring toys.

airhogsskywinder

Spin Master Air Hogs Skywinder is an awesome choice for a kid’s “big” basket gift. Kids toss the R/C stunt rocket into the air and squeeze the trigger on the remote. The rocket flies, dives, hovers, and loops, and is lightweight enough that it can be used indoors. It flies high, though, so kids will enjoy it most outside—a perfect reason to go outdoors and celebrate spring! [Read more...]

Douglas Co. Prepares for Easter 2014

douglasIn preparation for Easter fun, lifestyle gift creator, Douglas Co., has 10 new, silky-soft bunnies. Each bunny ranges in size from seven to 18 inches and in price.

The springtime line includes: Stella the Floppy Ivory Bunny, which has an antique flare because of her longer fur style; Lopsy the Tan Bunny, which is a boy bunny with a tan coat of fur; Penelope Lop the Tan Bunny and Basil the Tan Sitting Bunny, which look even better together; Laurel the Floppy Pink Bunny, which has pretty pink short fur; Pixie the Floppy Lavender Bunny, which is a whimsical lavender-colored bunny with polka dot ear lining; and Clover the Pink Bunny, which is the tinniest and pinkest bunny of all.

Douglas Co. has also introduced new Puffs to their Easter line. These 8-inch tall animals with plush heads, arms, and legs and a powder puff center. Brooke Puff the Yellow Duck, Skippy Puff the Cream Lamb, Dolly Puff the Pink Bunny, and Duffy Puff the Green Frog are all available.

The new bunnies and new Puffs will be on retail shelves in the U.S., Canada, and Europe in January. Douglas products are sold at specialty gift and toy stores.

Hip Hop Hooray, Easter’s On Its Way

Yesterday, Jackie Breyer shared some Easter-worthy toy picks. As the toy industry promotes giving toys in lieu in candy this year, here are a couple of dolls from Madame Alexander’s Easter Collection!

EasterPrincessThe Easter Princess is an 8-inch fully articulated Wendy with brown eyes and curly brunette pigtails worn with bangs. She is wearing a party dress that has a blue taffeta bodice layered with sparkle organza. Because she’s an Easter Princess, she wears a tiara composed of Easter grass, pastel eggs, iridescent flower sequins, pearls, and a pink bow. What’s a princess without her accessories? This princess comes carrying a sparkle bag of glass jellybeans in her hand. [Read more...]

Easter Bunny Keeps Frugality in Mind This Year, According to NRF

Americans will celebrate Easter in style and on budget this year according to NRF’s Easter Spending Survey, conducted by BIGinsight. Keeping cost and their shopping list in mind, the average person celebrating Easter will spend approximately $145.13 on candy, decor, apparel, and food, flat with last year’s $145.28. Total spending will reach an estimated $17.2 billion.

Consumers will spend an average of $20.82 on gifts.

“While many of today’s consumers are coping with tight budgets, the Easter Bunny isn’t headed toward retirement in 2013,” says BIGinsight Consumer Insights Director Pam Goodfellow. “Look for cost-conscious parents to scope the sale racks, head to discounters, and clip coupons to keep spending on track and to make the holiday special for youngsters this year.”

COMMENTARY: Toys Are More Fun Than Candy

Mattel’s North American team recently kicked off an Easter program called Save the Bunny, which launched with a clever celebrity PSA. The concept is to promote giving toys, rather than copious amounts of candy, for Easter. As part of the promotion, consumers who visit www.savechocolatebunnies.com will have a chance to win a Mattel toy every day this month, download exclusive coupons on toys from Mattel brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Thomas & Friends, and win grand prize money.

As a parent and someone who loves toys, I whole-hardheartedly agree with this idea. Not only does my 3 year old not need a giant chocolate bunny, gallons of jelly beans, and piles of fluffy marshmallow chicks (OK, I’ll admit this is making me hungry), but I know from experience that I won’t actually let her eat it all, and I’ll end up eating it, which isn’t exactly part of my summer bikini plan (though I’m pregnant, so what’s the difference, right?). Anyway, she will have a lot more fun if I limit the candy to a few of her favorites, and fill that basket—er, strongly suggest the Easter Bunny fill that basket—with toys!

For retailers, signage suggesting spring/summer toys to fill Easter baskets should already be up, but it’s not too late! Many consumers wait until the last-minute to shop, especially with the holiday coming earlier this year. A special display of spring-like, small, basket-sized items makes shopping easy and promotes quick sales. The pharmacies already do this, toy stores should too! [Read more...]

Universal Pictures and Walmart Unveil Exclusive Hop Merchandise

Universal Pictures and Walmart have announced a retail program tied to the upcoming live action/CG-animated comedy Hop, the second film from Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me) that hits movie theaters across the country on April 1. Walmart customers can build their Hop-themed Easter baskets, and visit the movie-inspired “Candy Factory,” with 100 exclusive licensed products, including candy, toys, activities, and apparel.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with a licensed property to brand an important seasonal event in Walmart stores,” said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Walmart U.S.
The program, which rolled out March 17 in more than 3,000 Walmart stores, includes a dedicated aisle rolling out sweet Easter treats, and a Build-a-Basket Factory. Toys include character plush toys from Funrise, coloring and activity books from Dalmation Press, bubbles, pinwheels, paddle board, memory card games, etc. from Funrise, and Hop-themed video games for the Nintendo DS, DSi, and 3DS.
Blending animation with live action, Hop is a comedy about E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand), the teenage son of the Easter Bunny. On the eve of taking over the family business, E.B. leaves for Hollywood in pursuit of his dream of becoming a drummer. He encounters Fred (James Marsden), an out-of-work slacker with his own lofty goals, who accidentally hits E.B. with his car. Feigning injury, E.B. manipulates Fred into providing him shelter, and Fred finds himself with the world’s worst house guest.

New Product: Eco Eggs

Eco Eggs are new-to-market plastic Easter eggs for egg hunts that are made in the U.S. from corn starch, 100-percent renewable content, and are fully compostable after use. The eggs are available in three box sizes of 10, 28, and 48.

[Read more...]