Although manufacturers and retailers remain cautious, there is evidence
they are planning for an improved holiday season in 2003. “Industry executives
seem optimistic that sales will improve, just in time for the fourth quarter
and the crucial holiday season,” stated National Retail Federation
President Tracy Mullin.
“Our strongest endorsement of positive things
for the holiday season is our plan to introduce and promote over 100 new
items designed to stimulate sales for the balance of the year,” said Toysmith(ToyShow)
Director of Merchandising Rich Ockwell.
Aurora World’s Too Spoiled line for tweens will
debut this winter.
Jeff Robbins, national sales manager for Aurora World(ToyShow),
believes retailers are ready to do whatever it takes to make this season
a success “They want it to be a great year and expect it to be better
than 2002." Robbins said. "I see them proceeding steadily, ready
to react to the market and to hot trends.” Aurora is also meeting the
holidays with three new product lines: So Spoiled for
Tweens, Murphy the dog and a new line of soft toys for
Aaron Keller, managing principal of Capsule, a brand
development firm, also predicts a sales volume increase, if not a dramatic
one. “Toys are like comfort food: People use them to feel better and to
help their kids to feel better,” said Keller. “They offer a small indulgence
that brings a bit of joy at a good price.”
Does Cautious Mean Cheap?
Steve Edmiston of Front Porch Classics (ToyDirectory)
is optimistic about the prospects for high-end products like his company’s
Old Century Baseball. “We saw a tremendous desire during
the 2002 holiday season for products that served a purpose of connecting
people, especially connecting families, through play.”
Dread Pirate will retail for $99.95 this Christmas
For 2003, the company is introducing Old Century Dread Pirate
and expects to enjoy an even more successful family gift launch. Both
games retail in the $100-130 range, but Edmiston believes that as dollars
get tighter, consumers look for quality rather than an inexpensive toy
that will become disposable next year.
What’s New in 2003?
T-INK Airwavez will retail for $19.99
T-INK Inc. (ToyShow) President John Gentile ventures
a projection: “Ultimately, one category that will certainly grow is the
educational market.” This category, recently dominated by Leap
will see new products from T-INK, including the Color and Learn
interactive series that will retail in the $6.99-$19.99 range. T-INK will
also enter the Tween market with electronic products licensed through
and with products like Airwavez, an inflatable vinyl
T-INK interactive color and learn products will
retail for $4.99
According to Gentile, “It looks like a lot of boys categories have been
soft. With the new Ninja Turtle Series and Power Rangers building [sales],
along with strong action figure activity with Lord of the Rings
and X-Men, there is momentum for boys categories again.”
Writer's Bio: Pennie, a graduate of Indiana
University School of Journalism, is a freelance writer and lives with
her husband and three children in Visalia, CA.