Bieber Tops NPD’s Hot List Once Again

For three weeks in September, The NPD Group fielded results from the unaided, open-ended question, “What would the kids you know say is the hottest new thing these days? It might be a celebrity, movie, TV show, toy, game, hobby, sport, website, brand, or retail store.”

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NPD: Kids Spending More Money on Digital Content

According to Kids and Entertainment Content, 2011 Edition, the latest report from The NPD Group, kids are spending more of their entertainment dollars on digital content compared to last year. For every dollar kids (ages 2 to 14) spend on entertainment content, $0.79 goes to physical content (versus $0.85 in 2009) and $0.21 goes toward digital format content ($0.15 in 2009).

While the majority of kids’ entertainment content is still acquired in a physical format, NPD reports, digitally acquired content has grown substantially over the past two years—a 17 percent increase for games, a 14 percent increase for music, and a 13 percent increase for movies. The study reports that kids start downloading digital content at a young age; approximately 50 percent of kids have paid for their first form of digital content by the age of 7.

Report: Kids Drive Household Purchases of Consumer Electronics

Kids are driving household purchases of consumer electronic (CE) devices, according to Kids and Consumer Electronics, 2011 Edition, the latest report The NPD Group.

The report showed that, when looking at devices purchased in the past year, 78 percent of portable video game systems purchased and 56 percent of portable digital media players (PDMP) purchased were given to the child. The report also detailed that 73 percent of kids use computers purchased, 74 percent use televisions, and nearly 60 percent of kids are using a portable or console gaming system.

For households with kids ages 4 to 14, newer devices, such as e-readers and media tablets, were acquired at single-digit rates (8 percent and 5 percent, respectively). The report also notes a slight decline in the average number of days in which kids use cell phones, PDMPs, and portable video game systems since last year. For all other devices, the average number of days has remained stable or declined, suggesting kids are maxed out on time.

Among households with kids ages 4 to 14, many consumers are purchasing CE devices online (for example, 46 percent for e-readers and 31 percent for desktop computers). In comparison, only 9 percent of toys are purchased online for kids in this age group.

Global Toy Sales Increased In 2010, Reports NPD

Based on its “Global Toy Market Estimates: 2011 Edition,” The NPD Group reported that 2010 global toy sales were $83.3 billion, up nearly 5 percent from 2009. This increase was largely due to the market in Asia, which nearly doubled the world growth rate at a 9.2 percent increase in sales. However, the U.S. continued to top sales in the toy market, at approximately $22 billion. American sales combined with Japan, China, UK, and France sales added up to just over 50 percent of global sales.

Europe suffered a 4 percent drop in sales from 2007 to 2010, partially due to fluctuating exchange rates. The emerging BRIC toy markets (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) reported a growth of 13 percent. The NPD Group expects a continuing positive trend this year, although not as dramatic as previous years. NPD also predicts a rebound in European sales.

Report: Kids Socialize Differently As They Grow Older, No Effect on Toy Playing

According to a new report by The NPD Group, Kids Leisure Time IV, as kids get older they socialize with others in different ways, replacing person-to-person communication with other forms of socialization, such as social networks, cell phones, and video chats, which may be considered another form of entertainment. According to the report, kids ages 2 to 4 spent 17.5 hours per week spending actual face time with friends or siblings, with the average hours per week dropping off as they aged (10.8 hours for ages 9 to 12).

While kids have the same number of hours to spend on leisure time (68 leisure hours in a typical week), they have more activities that they are engaging in, requiring them to reprioritize how they spend their time, reported NPD.

Although kids may be engaging in more activities, and have new forms of entertainment, NPD says this has minimal impact on kids’ interaction with toys; unlike movies, kids are still as actively engaged with toys as they were in the past few years. NPD reports that kids may even be spending slightly more hours per week with toys than they did in 2009.

NPD Analyst: ‘Retailers Scrambling to Recover Lost Sales’

Marshall Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group, initially expected that the holiday 2010 season would “be remembered as a good year, not a great one.”

“To be great,” said Cohen right before Christmas, “the consumer would have to be in a frenzy and retailers would still be stocked with plenty of product to go around.” According to Cohen, retailers practiced the theory that it is better to sell out than to have leftovers.

On Monday, Cohen revised his outlook saying: “Holiday 2010 just went from a truly Merry Christmas for retailers to a lost weekend with retailers scrambling to recover lost sales.” Cohen called the post-Christmas weekend “brutal,” citing an already shortened post-holiday shopping weekend due to the holiday falling on a Saturday and the Sunday snowstorm in the Midwest and Northeast.

“All-in-all retailers will lose about 0.5 [percent] of sales with the loss of this big post-Christmas day. And by the time they make it up, the sales will fall out of the range of the ‘holiday numbers,’” Cohen said. “Consumers will now have to wait longer to use those gift cards and make their returns. This is an important part of the sales in that consumers tend to spend approximately an additional 16 percent above the face value of gift cards and returns.”

Toys Top Kids’ Holiday Wish Lists, Says NPD

After asking parents “What is on your child’s wish list for the upcoming holiday season?” for three weeks, The NPD Group has released its results. According to the results, 38 percent of parents with kids ages 0-14 responded with toys. Other answers included video games (15 percent), consumer electronics (9 percent), clothes (7 percent), sporting goods (6 percent), and books (3 percent).

Top toy categories included dolls, vehicles, building sets, and arts and crafts. The top 10 properties (in alphabetical order), across all weeks, were American Girl, Barbie, Dora The Explorer, Leapfrog, Lego, PillowPets, Star Wars, Toy Story 3, Transformers, and ZhuZhu Pets. Top video game hardware systems on kids’ wish lists included the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS.

The survey tracked 4600 mentions of wish-list items. The research comes from NPD’s Kids Industry Data Service (KIDS).

Early Results from NPD Show Higher Conversion Rate for Black Friday

The NPD Group has announced its early results for the Black Friday weekend in a report entitled The Anatomy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2010. According to the NPD’s early results, there was a slight rise in conversion (those shoppers that actually made purchases) for the weekend compared to last year’s Black Friday weekend, up 4 percent.

“Conversion rates for Black Friday and super Saturday are always very high but to see growth of 4 percent over the year before tells us two big things,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst of The NPD Group. “One is that those people that went to shop, bought and two, retailers did a better job of luring consumers in with big deals and great savings.”

NPD also reported that 33 percent of consumers bought items for themselves on Black Friday, compared to 26 percent during the normal holiday period.

The Anatomy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2010 is an online survey of 1768 U.S. consumers ages 18 and older. The survey assesses what the consumers did on Black Friday (and to come on Cyber Monday) and why. The preliminary data was collected between November 26 and the morning of November 27.

Report: Nearly Half of Dollars Spent on Kids Were Requested by Children

According to a new study by The NPD Group, Spotlight on Kids: Understanding Cross-Category Purchasing: Data from July 2010—Back To School, 49 percent of all dollars spent on kids in July were specifically requested by the children. The survey also found that girls were more likely to request apparel and books and boys typically asked for sporting goods and video games.

In July, most products purchased for kids were apparel (20 percent), then footwear (13 percent), toys (8 percent), and video game consoles (7 percent). Apparel also took the No. 1 spot (56 percent) in terms of the percentage of dollars spent on sale items, followed by arts & crafts, consumer electronics, and school gear.

Nearly two-thirds of dollars spent on kids came from their parents, followed by grandparents with 19 percent. When comparing the percentage of dollars spent on used and pre-owned items by category, video game software, books, and video game hardware were the leaders at 19 percent, 11 percent, and 9 percent, respectively.

In terms of dollars spent, 28 percent were on licensed goods. Forty-two (42) percent of all dollars spent on kids ages 3 to 5 were for licensed products.

Report: 56.8 Million Americans Have Played a Social Networking Game

According to a new report by The NPD Group, Social Network Gaming, approximately 20 percent of Americans ages 6 and older, or 56.8 million U.S. consumers, have played a game on a social network within the last three months. In terms of kids’ activities, according to the report, 23 percent of children ages 6 to 12 reported that they have played a game on a social network within the past three months.

The report also states that 35 percent of social network gamers are new to gaming and have never played any other type of gaming before playing on social networks. According to the report, gamers are nearly evenly divided between genders: 47 percent are male and 53 percent are female.

Social Network Gaming also reports that 10 percent of social network gamers have spent real money playing social networking games, although the games are free to play, and 11 percent of those surveyed are likely to make a future purchase. Gamers surveyed also report spending 20 percent less on gaming overall since they started playing social networking games.