Frozen Continues to Dominate Toy Aisles as More than 3 Million Character Dresses Sold

Disney Consumer Products' VIP Halloween EventMore than 3 million Disney Frozen Elsa and Anna role-play dresses have been sold at Disney Store and mass retailers in North America in less than a year, according to Disney Consumer Products. Elsa and Anna also led costume sales by double digits at all Disney Store locations in North America. In addition, the National Retail Federation’s 2014 Halloween Consumer Top Costumes Survey said that an estimated 2.6 million children planned to dress up as one of Disney’s Frozen characters this Halloween.

Since Frozen’s release last November, Disney Publishing Worldwide and its licensees have published more than 800 Frozen print titles globally and more than 35 e-books in the U.S. The Disney Karaoke: Frozen app has reached the No. 1 spot in the iPad Entertainment Downloads category in more than 100 countries worldwide, and the Disney Frozen: Free Fall app is Disney Interactive’s top-grossing and most downloaded app of the year.

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NRF Reports Back-to-School Shoppers Still Wrapping Up Shopping Lists, Leaning More on Coupons

nrfAccording to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) latest Back-to-School/College Surveys, the average family with children in grades K to 12 completed 49.9 percent of its shopping by mid-August, down slightly from last year’s 52.1 percent.

As of August 12, fewer families had stepped out to take advantage of retailers’ special school savings opportunities; specifically, 23.6 percent had not started shopping yet, up from 20.9 percent last year. However, some were eager to get started: 15.7 percent said they have completed their lists, which is roughly the same as last year.

Meanwhile, college families got a jump on retailers’ sales and promotions this summer, with 23.4 percent stating that they completely finished with their lists, up from 20 percent last year. Slightly fewer families this year say they haven’t started shopping, at 26.2 percent versus 28.8 percent last year. [Read more...]

NPD Group Reports Strong Growth for Video Game Hardware, Decline for Software in July

npd_group_logoAccording to The NPD Group, strong growth in hardware sales offset declines in software sales in July, while accessory sales had modest growth, leading to an increase of 16 percent in overall new physical video game sales compared to July of last year.

Hardware sales doubled in July compared to the same month last year, stemming from growth in eighth generation console sales, which offset declines in seventh generation console and portable hardware. When combining life-to-date sales of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (PS4) after nine months, and comparing them to the combined totals of nine months’ worth of sales for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (PS3), sales of the newest consoles are larger than the prior generation by close to 80 percent. [Read more...]

PS4 Sales Grow at Fastest Rate in PlayStation Hardware History

SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC LOGOPlayStation 4 (PS4) computer entertainment systems have cumulatively sold more than 10 million units worldwide as of August 10, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCE) The hardware system has demonstrated the fastest and strongest growth in PlayStation history. The PS4 system is currently available in 100 countries and regions worldwide.

SCE will continue to enhance the PS4 system’s network features, including the ability to upload game footage directly to YouTube. It will also incorporate Share Play, a feature that allows players to enjoy game play as if they are in the same room, such as remotely taking over a friend’s controller to help him or her through tricky sections of a game.

With strong support from users as well as third party developers and publishers worldwide, PS4 software sales passed 30 million copies sold in retail stores globally and through digital downloads on the PlayStation Store as of August 10.

Watch Dogs from Ubisoft Breaks Industry Sales Record with Launch

WatchDogsscreenshotThe release of Watch Dogs has been the most successful title launch for Ubisoft to date. The video game has sold more than 4 million copies in its first week, and has positioned itself as the best-selling new IP launch across the video game industry. Watch Dogs has already broken sales records for a title in the first 24 hours following its release.

The launch of Watch Dogs on consoles and PC was accompanied by the release of a free companion app, ctOS Mobile, which allows gamers to connect with the Watch Dogs universe from anywhere, and is designed to enable dual-screen game play or a standalone experience without the main game. The app has already been downloaded and played by more than one million people.

Watch Dogs is set in Chicago, where players become Aiden Pearce, a hacker seeking justice following a violent family tragedy. Pearce will hack into Chicago’s Central Operating System (ctOS), which controls infrastructure and data about the city’s residents. The video game will also be released on the Wii U this fall.

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.

NPD Reports Xbox One and PlayStation 4 Powered Video Game Sales

According to the U.S. Games Industry Sales analysis by The NPD Group’s Liam Callahan, February hardware sales increased by 42 percent over the prior year, due to a more than 60 percent increase in console hardware sales. These strong year-over-year increases are due to the success of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

The analysis also showed that total video game sales in February were $887 million, a change of 9 percent compared to February 2013. This is credited to strong growth in hardware and a slight rise in accessory sales. Total software sales—across the console, portable, and PC categories—were [Read more...]

Activision Partners with Crayola on New Skylanders Products

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair

The Activision Booth at American International Toy Fair was a welcome sight for Skylanders fans.

Activision Publishing Inc. will be collaborating with Crayola on new products for its popular Skylanders franchise. As a result of the new licensing agreement, Activision and Crayola will introduce a Skylanders-branded line featuring Crayola’s signature Color Wonder, Giant Coloring Pages, and Xtreme Coloring formats. These will be available during the upcoming holiday season.

To date, Skylanders’ licensing portfolio features a total of more than 175 licensees. The recent announcement follows a highly successful 2013 for the toy and video game franchise, which outsold all action figure lines worldwide for the second consecutive year.

Report: Six in 10 Holiday Shoppers Plan to Buy Non-Gifts for Themselves

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has released its 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch, and the report predicts a slight decrease in the average amount each shopper will spend this holiday season. According to the survey, shoppers say they plan to shell out an average of $704.18 on holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise, down slightly from last year’s $718.98. NRF still forecasts overall holiday retail sales to grow 2.8 percent during November and December to $465.6 billion.

Holiday shoppers also plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to purchase goods for themselves. Nearly six in 10 holiday shoppers (59.9 percent) say they plan to purchase additional non-gifts for themselves and their families during the holiday season. The largest portion of a consumer’s holiday budget will go to family members, with the average person spending $403.26 on kids, parents, and other family members. Additionally, an average of $68.23 will be spent on friends, followed by $21.06 on co-workers, and $23.39 on other gifts. Consumers will also spend on decorations ($46.73), greeting cards ($26.52), candy and food ($96.75), and flowers ($18.23.) Gift cards will be popular with consumers again this year, with 57.7 percent of shoppers saying they’d like to receive a gift card this holiday season.

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NRF Forecasts an Average Holiday Season

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is expecting this year’s holiday season to be just average. Although last year’s holiday season outperformed most analysts’ expectations, NRF expects 2011 holiday retail sales to increase 2.8 percent to $465.6 billion, close to the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 2.6 percent. Last year, retailers experienced a 5.2 percent increase.

For the first time this year, NRF used its holiday forecasting model to create a projection for seasonal hiring in retail. According to NRF, retailers are expected to hire between 480,000 and 500,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, which is comparable to the 495,000 seasonal employees they hired last year.