April 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 4
TDmonthly's Top-10 Most-Wanted Ride-On Toys
Kids Embrace the Need for Speed With PlasmaCar and Kettler
With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, J. D. Meisner, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero
Whether it's toddlers just learning to make full use of their growing legs, or adolescents racing their friends around the park, riding toys in a variety of shapes and sizes can provide hours of healthy, active entertainment indoors and outdoors. In March 2009, TDmonthly spoke to 60 specialty retailers across the country to see which ride-ons are most popular in their stores. The PlasmaCar from PlaSmart took first place by a landslide, followed by everything from the classic Rody from Toymarketing International to the heavy-duty, adjustable EzyRoller, which can grow with a child from their preschool years into their teens and beyond. Here are the top-10 most-wanted ride-on toys:
Now more than 10 years old, PlasmaCar continues to intrigue and fascinate with millions of units sole and multiple awards in over sixty countries worldwide. Just sit, put your feet up, and turn the steering wheel to propel yourself forward up to 6 mph on any smooth, flat surface. With a maximum weight capacity of 220 lbs., even parents and grandparents have experienced a giggle by taking it for a spin. Made from state-of-the-art, high-quality ABS plastics, this kid-powered, durable, ride-on vehicle comes in a variety of colors.
— “I can't believe how many of these I sell,” remarked Jacque Flagg, owner of Jacque’s Inc. in Bryan, Texas. In a March 2009 survey, Flagg reported sales of around 20 per month.
— In spring 2009, 41 percent of 60 retailers listed PlasmaCar as a best-selling ride-on in their stores, reporting sales of a dozen per month on average.
Awards: 2012 Parents Choice Awards Recommended, 2009 Green Parents List Check Mark, 2009 DisneyFamily.com Top Action Figures and Toys for Toddlers, 2009+2008+2005 The National Parenting Centre Seal of Approval, 2008 iParenting Media Toy Award, 2008 Fat Brain Toy Award Active Play, 2006 TIA Outdoor Toy of the Year - Specialty Toy of the Year, 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, 2005 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2005 Dr. Toy Best Vacation Products, 2005 Creative Child Seal of Excellence, 2001 International Patent Fair, Hong Kong Gold Medal
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22968 (added 3/24/2009)
Kettrike Air Happy by KETTLER INTERNATIONAL INC.
Other products from KETTLER INTERNATIONAL INC.
The Air Happy provides the smoothest ride available and the push bar is included. Customers say it best: "built like a tank." It's an instant family heirloom that children will enjoy and remember fondly when their own children are riding Kettrikes. This model has it all with the patented three-in-one Auto-Freewheel™ Coasting Pedal system, patented Quik-Adjust™ Telescoping Frame and oversized tubeless air tires on German-made ball bearings.
— Diane Robinson, owner of Silly Goose in Essex, Mass., told TDmonthly Magazine in fall 2007 that her number one best-selling item is Kettler bikes, such as the Kettrike Air Happy tricycle. "Kettler tricycles" are among the best-selling ride-ons, agreed Kristen Fennell, manager at Kids R Kids in West Roxbury, Mass.
— “The Kettler Air Happy continues to be our best seller,” said Jude Larene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, Wash., during TDmonthly's March 2009 survey of ride-on sales. Larene said he sells an average of 10 Air Happy trikes per month.
— Ten percent of 60 retailers said in spring 2009 that Kettler trikes are their best-selling riding toy, with average sales of around four per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10196 (added 11/21/2006)
Rody Horse - Yellow by TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Other products from TMI TOYMARKETING INTERNATIONAL INC.
Designed to help young children learn balance and coordination, the inflatable Rody Horse is made of strong, latex-free vinyl. Its ride-on qualities and softness make it suitable for therapy, too.
— “The Rody is good for little guys — definitely No. 1 there,” Linda Hamm, owner of Early Work Toy Station in Petaluma, Calif., told TDmonthly in spring 2009 of the top-selling ride-on toys in her store.
— “People love them for the age range,” added Lauren Obenour, manager of Green Frog Toys in Portland, Ore., noting that Rody’s high weight limit contributes to its status as a customer favorite. It’s been a best seller for a year at Pufferbellies in Staunton, Va., Co-owner Susan Blanton in fall 2009.
— Of 60 retailers surveyed in March 2009, seven named the Rody Horse as a best-selling ride-on. Three of 64 retailers named Rody as a top-selling infant and toddler toy in March 2009.
Where to buy:
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23041 (added 3/27/2009)
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This self-propelling, three-wheeled ride-on toy cruises smoothly and silently along the ground, similar to the movement of a snake. The rider simply sits in the seat, feet-first, and propels with an easy back-and-forth leg movement, demonstrating a special combination of physics properties that fascinates most first-time observers. There are no chains, no motor and no batteries. The product comes packaged with extendable axis rods (S, M, L), so it can grow with the child. “Awe-inspiring physics” and “the strong, long-lasting steel tube frame and overall quality construction” really set this product apart, according to EzyRoller President Denis Allais. Launch date: May 2007.
— Anyone can sit back and get a workout with this sleek and sporty, three-wheeled ride-on toy that moves fluidly with back-and-forth leg motion. Its long, low-set and adjustable design differentiates it from other ride-ons, as do the properties of physics that bring it to life. Such stats have garnered the Ezyroller a TDmonthly Innovations 2007 award.
— Jeanette Lauture of Aunt Jean’s Toys & Treats in Montclair, N.J., told TDmonthly in summer 2008 that the Ezyroller is a hot seller in her store. “This New Zealand outdoor ride-on toy is very innovative and has longevity for kids 3 to 14 years of age,” she said. “I’ve been selling it since October of ‘07.”
Where to buy:
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 11949 (added 3/16/2007)
The Skuut wooden balance bike gives preschoolers the big-kid riding experience, as well as a leg up on the competition. Its design helps youngsters forgo the awkward "training wheel" period. The Skuut has no pedals, so children kick off the ground as if running, thus pushing or "skuut-ing" themselves and the bike forward. Developing strength and balance as they go, kids can walk, coast or "skuut" along before transitioning to a two-wheeler. Launch date: November 10, 2006.
— “People like it because it's a little different. It's not a bike or a trike; it's not an infant ride-on. It covers that in-between stage and has a nice age range,” said Owner Tye Steinbach of Thinker Things in Portland, Ore., during a March 2009 survey.
— “We're starting to see more interest in coaster bikes," Phil Wrzesinski, owner of Toy House and Baby Too in Jackson, Miss., told TDmonthly in spring 2009. Skuut offers “fun for pre-bike riders,” according to Patricia Fieldler, owner of Green Frog Toys in Portland, Ore. This bike was on her top-nine best-seller list in spring 2009.
— Two of 37 retailers named Skuut as a best-selling ride-on in March 2010. Skuut "is a huge seller," noted Elaine Hackney of Boing! JP Toy Shop in Jamaica Plain, Mass. Past Videos: Toy Fair 2008
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9999 (added 11/10/2006)
This brightly colored trike offers kids and parents a large array of features to adjust to various situations. The durable metal body supports an adjustable seat to accommodate the growing preschooler, and the tricycle easily goes from a kid-powered pedal-along to a push trike that the parent can easily steer. Patented internal gears allow the wide, stroller-style push bar to turn the front wheel of the trike, and free-wheeling pedals allow the rider to comfortably coast while the adult pushes.
— “Radio Flyer Steer & Stroll Trike. [We sell] four per month,” Mike DiAndrea, manager of Hardware Centre Inc. in Paoli, Pa., said of his best-selling ride-on toy during TDmonthly's March 2009 survey.
— Seven percent of 60 retailers listed Radio Flyer as the manufacturer of their top-selling ride-on toys in spring 2009.
— Two of 37 retailers named a trike by Radio Flyer as a top-selling ride-on in spring 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23042 (added 3/27/2009)
This American-made, child-powered ride-on toy features an injection-molded polyethylene seat. Kids simply put their feet on the handlebars and swing the handlebars side to side with their hands to generate movement. The Flying Turtle, which comes pre-assembled, may be used both indoors and out, and holds up to 150 lbs.
— Deborah Smith, owner of Toys That Teach in Richmond, Va., listed the Flying Turtle as her best-selling ride-on toy in a March 2009 survey. “In spring and summer, [we sell] at least a dozen per month,” she said.
— Five percent of 60 retailers told TDmonthly in spring 2009 that Mason Corporation's Flying Turtle is a best seller in their stores.
— Three of 37 retailers named the Flying Turtle when discussing best-selling ride-on toys in spring 2010. Creative Kids Inc. in Columbia, S.C., sells about three dozen annually, Owner Melodie Ingwersen told TDmonthly in March 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23043 (added 3/27/2009)
The ride-on toy features a colored steel body, detailed chrome accents, a working horn, a working steering column, plastic fenders and rubber tires.
— Nadine Walsh, manager of Yikes Toys in Tucson, Ariz., told TDmonthly that “push cars by Schylling” are the most popular ride-on toys in the store.
— For Susan Pruett, manager of Kilmarnock Toy Store in Kilmarnock, Va., Schylling’s ride-ons are her stores’ best-selling ride-ons. They sell on “average about three a month,” Pruett told TDmonthly.
— Two of 45 retailers who spoke with TDmonthly in early 2008 singled out the Schyllilng when asked which manufacturer’s ride-ons were most popular. In March 2009, Jessica Jeffrey, manager of Red Balloon Toy Shop in Orleans, Mass., told TDmonthly this is her best-selling ride-on, reporting sales of one to two per month.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18092 (added 3/24/2008)
Multi-award winning and multi-directional Wheely Bugs, distributed in the United States by Prince Lionheart, go backward, forward, sideways and 'round and 'round. These ride-on bugs have a magical mind of their own. Their bodies have a padded layer of sponge, which is covered with a tough polyurethane skin that can easily be wiped clean. Handmade and crafted from the highest quality materials, Wheely Bug features multi-directional casters and unlimited mobility on all level surfaces. “The fact that the Wheely Bug is multi-directional, encourages gross motor skills and at the same time is heaps of fun,” explains its appeal, said Sarah Eastman, sales and marketing associate at Prince Lionheart. “In addition,” she continued, “this is a great product for the specialty market because it is handmade and beautifully crafted. Now moms can let their kids play with bugs, worry-free.”
― Wheely Bug was a Toy Fair favorite spotted by Terry Myers, owner of Kaleidoscope Toys in Round Rock, Texas. It was voted Toy of the Year in BabyTalk's Dec. 2006/Jan. 2007 issue and received the 2007 Silver Award for Best Baby & Infant Product in The Netherlands.
— This handmade Australian toy earns gold stars for everything — wooden base, sturdy construction, simple design, adorable themes, easy-to-clean seat, multi-directional motion and two size options — all adding up to its receipt of a TDmonthly Top Toy 2007 award.
— Two of 60 retailers in a March 2009 survey listed Prince Lionheart Wheely Bugs as a best-selling ride-in in their stores. The Wheely Bug was a best seller at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., in summer 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 10241 (added 11/27/2006)
The freestyle vehicle features 3-wheel steering, action-decks and dual hand brakes, designed to propel riders without requiring feet to touch the ground. The highly maneuverable vehicle is extremely easy to learn and ride, and comes in a variety of colors, including red, pink, black and blue. This product received a 2008 NAPPA Honors award. Launch date: February 2008.
— “Sliders are doing great,” remarked Terri Bracken, owner of Earth Explorer Toys in Zionsville, Ind., discussing her best-selling ride-on toys in spring 2009.
— Four of 60 retailers listed scooters as their best selling ride-ons in March 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 18503 (added 4/18/2008)
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Writer's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author
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