Sweet Suite 2016

Nintendo amiibo Sales Reach 7 Million to Date

AmiiboAccording to data from the NPD Group, Nintendo has sold an estimated 7 million amiibo figures to date in the U.S. alone. The news comes out less than a month before Nintendo introduces Animal Crossing Series 1 amiibo Cards, scheduled to launch on September 25, along with Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer for the Nintendo 3DS.

Wal-Mart Revamps Layaway Program in Anticipation of Toy Demand

logo-walmartWal-Mart Stores Inc. will bring forward its holiday layaway program by two weeks, in what has been viewed as a move to get ahead of year-end demand for toys, and to generate sales of upcoming Star Wars toys. As reported by Reuters, Anne Marie Kehoe, the vice president of toys for Wal-Mart, said in a briefing that shoppers can utilize the program starting August 28, two weeks earlier than last year.

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NPD Group Issues Video Game Analysis for April 2015

NPDGrouplogoIn the most recent video game analysis from The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan, overall sales across hardware, new physical software, and accessories in April grew by 3 percent over April of last year, due to the strength of new physical software sales, offsetting losses from hardware and accessories. April hardware sales decreased by 4 percent, due to the 55 percent decline in sales of seventh-generation console hardware. After 18 months on the market for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, cumulative hardware sales for those consoles are more than 50 percent higher than the combined sales of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 at the same point in their life cycles.

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ICTI Annual Meeting to Take Place in Cancun, Mexico This May

The 41st annual general meeting of the International Council of Toy Industries will be held in Cancun, Mexico from May 3 to 6 next year. The meeting will be hosted by the Mexican Toy Association at the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun, and will bring ICTI members to discuss the state of the toy industry and update on each country’s domestic market.

According to the Toy Industry Association, the general meeting agenda will include discussions and presentations, including a global toy industry sales report from The NPD Group, a presentation from the president of the Mexican Toy Association, an update on the status of the ICTI Care program, and more.

Activision Leads with Three Top-Selling Video Game Titles

Activision Publishing Inc. has delivered the top two selling console retail releases of the year the U.S., as well as the No. 1 kids video game franchise of 2014, based on retail sell-through, according to the NPD Group.

In only its first month of release, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is already the top-selling console game of the year through November in the U.S. overall, as well as individually on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and PlayStation3. Call of Duty games continue to lead November console game sales for 6th consecutive year. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: As Play Gets Smarter, More Toys Come to Life Digitally

It’s official: Smart toys are taking over the toy space.

Gone are the days in which kids are content with traditional methods of play. Books, activities, and games are all available for kids on mobile devices, and they expect their toys to be no different. But although the mediums that kids are interacting with daily are changing, the one thing that won’t ever change is that kids love play.

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Smart toys integrate physical toys and technology—essentially giving digital life to toys. Manufacturers are starting to realize the added value in these products and how wildly popular they can be. More than 72 million kids say they want smart toys, according to market research firm Interpret in a GameByte study.

In addition, kids are using mobile devices more than ever before. Seventy-one percent of households with a child age 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone in 2014, already up from 55 percent in 2012, according to The NPD Group. Also, kids who own tablets doubled from 2012 to 2014, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. [Read more...]

HIT Entertainment Will Produce First Little People Series

imageHIT Entertainment, in collaboration with Fisher-Price, has announced that a new CG-animated series, Little Peopleis now in pre-production and is set to launch late next year. The new series is based on Fisher-Price’s Little People brand, and is being produced out of HIT’s UK content hub.

This is the first collaboration between HIT and Fisher-Price since Mattel acquired HIT in 2012.

The Little People line encourages open-ended, imaginative play among preschoolers, with environments built around familiar people and favorite places such as the zoo and farm. The Little People brand has been the No. 1 property in preschool playsets in the U.S. for the past two years, according to NPD Group data.

Toy Market Reflects FIFA World Cup Mania

According to The NPD Group, sales of World Cup-themed toys have been growing since the start of the year, as fever for the event starts to take hold across the UK. One toy out of every nine sold, or over 9.1 million toys, have been linked to the competition.

More than one quarter, or 27 percent, of all toys sold in the week commencing May 11 were related to the tournament, with the best-selling toy that week being Panini’s World Cup Brazil Official sticker album. Two other items in the top 15 directly linked to the competition were also collectibles: Panini’s World Cup Blister pack of 50 stickers and Topps Match Attax England trading cards. [Read more...]

NPD Group Reports Numbers of Gamers and Average Hours Spent Playing Per Week

Core Gaming 2014, the latest report from The NPD Group, states there are 34 million core gamers in the U.S. spending an average of 22 hours per week playing video games.

These core gamers are defined as individuals who play video games five or more hours per week on a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, or Mac. They play action, adventure, fighting, flight, massively multiplayer, racing, real time strategy, role-playing, shooter, or sport genres.

While core gamers are most likely to play on consoles and computers, phones and mobile devices are also a popular method of play by two-thirds of these gamers, according to the data. In addition, close to 70 percent of core gamers play multiplayer games either regularly or occasionally, and 74 percent would opt for the physical format over digital if the price were the same. The preference for digital is up 5 percentage points to 26 percent this year.

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.