April 2010 | Vol. IX - No. 4
Top-10 Most-Wanted Sports & Outdoor Toys
Blast Pads and Stomp Rockets Keep Flying High
With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero
With spring around the corner all over the country, TDmonthly Magazine set out to find what specialty retailers are selling most as families prepare to go outside and play. Kites from Jakks Pacific, balls from Crocodile Creek and Zing Toys' Air Zartz popped up among responses from 37 stores in March. Based on their answers, here are the top-10 best-selling sporting goods and outdoor toys in the specialty market.
No manufacturer paid to be included in this article. All products listed were designated by editorial staff without regard to the company's relationship with TOYDIRECTORY.com/TDmonthly Magazine.
Stomp on the launch pad and a blast of air propels the Ultra Stomp Rocket over 200' in the air. The kit contains four rockets with the OG-1 Nosecone. “We are the original creator. Stomp Rockets started the "stompin' revolution," Cynthia Peeks of D&L Co. told TDmonthly, stressing that Stomp Rockets are known for their name, quality and safety.
Awards: TDmonthly Top Seller 2008; iParenting Media, iParenting Hot; Dr. Toy Best Children´s Vacation Toy.
— Retailers surveyed by TDmonthly have been naming Ultra Stomp Rocket as a best-seller since 2006.
— Four of 45 retailers who spoke to TDmonthly in summer 2007 said the Stomp Rocket's success makes it a choice gift, reporting unit sales figures from four to dozens a month. Nine percent of 66 retailers named the Stomp Rocket as a best-selling gift for boys in July 2008. "We sell about 75 a month," Marilyn Walker, owner of Play Fair Toys in Boulder, Colo., told TDmonthly in early 2009. Thirteen percent of 47 retailers told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Stomp Rockets are a best seller for boys. “It's probably been the dang Stomp Rocket for about 15 years now. They just fly out,” Tye Steinbach, owner of Thinker Toys in Portland, Ore., said when asked about his most popular outdoor toy. Nine of 37 retailers named Stomp Rockets as a best-selling outdoor item in spring 2010.
— Despite multiple complaints about its durability, the Ultra Stomp Rocket received an average of 4.5 stars among 217 Amazon.com customers for being fun for all ages and pleasantly surprising when it comes to the distance the rockets can be launched. The toy is best used in open areas. Rockets are easy to lose and break, but refills are easy and cheap to find! (12.17.2012)
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 1088
Blast PadŽ Advanced Missile Launch System by MARKY SPARKY TOYS
Other products from MARKY SPARKY TOYS
This launch system features a flex tube that stretches to nearly 3’ and won’t restrict airflow. It only blasts vertically (9 degrees either way), using Metalix™ missiles (three included). The parts store in the base, and the product is also available in Electric Extra Terrestrial Green and Exploding Sun Yellow.
— Two of 66 retailers told TDmonthly in July 2008 that this product is one of their overall best sellers. Five of the 66 named it as a best-selling gift item for boys. Three of 39 retailers listed Blast Pads as their best-selling item for tween boys during an October 2009 survey. “I've been accused of giving them away with how fast I go through them,” Jude Larene, owner of Izilla Toys in Seattle, Wash., said in March 2009.
— “Blast Pads from Marky Sparky were our biggest sellers last year,” Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun’s Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in spring 2009. Of 47 retailers, two told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Blast Pads top their sales of boys' items, reporting figures of seven to 15 sold per month. "We sell that all year. Every time we get them in we sell out," reported Kim Haynes of Lollipop Toy Store in Dawsonville, Ga., in March 2010.
—‘’We sell at least one per week, sometimes more,’’ said manager Gwen Bowden of Doodlehopper 4 Kids in 1Q 2011.
AWARDS: 2010 TDmonthly Top Seller
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20356 (added 8/28/2008)
Ideal for both indoor and outdoor play, ZARTZ feature a safe, SOFTEK foam suction cup that sticks to windows, metal, walls, asphalt or nearly anything with a smooth surface. The self-releasing suction cup allows the ZARTZ to fall just a few seconds after adhering to a ceiling or other hard-to-reach place. ZARTZ are available in 7" and 9" forms, and come packaged in a durable carry case. There's also a Fun Pack that includes two hand-target catchers and a 9" ZART, which can be launched as far as 100'. Launch date: 2009.
— “The Zing Air Zartz are really good right now,” Emily Bieritz, manager of My Favorite Toy Store in Downers Grove, Ill., told TDmonthly in June 2009 when asked about her best-selling gift for boys.
— “Zartz are definitely No. 1,” said Steve Banducci, owner of Games Unlimited in Danville, Calif., when TDmonthly asked about his best-selling sports and outdoor items in March 2010. Banducci reported sales of at least one Zartz per day.
— Four of 37 retailers surveyed in spring 2010 listed Zing as their top-selling brand of outdoor products.
Past videos: WTHRA 2009
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 22640 (added 2/27/2009)
The bright colors and complex design of the Nova kite from Jakks Pacific make it an engaging kite that is satisfying to watch and fly. Box kites are well known to be very stable in steady winds, making them great kites for beginners while offering enough visual interest and the opportunity for impressive acrobatics on a slackened line.
— Eight percent of 37 retailers said during a March 2010 survey that kites are their top-selling sports and outdoor item.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27772 (added 3/29/2010)
This bright set features 30 multi-colored balloons plus a pump.
— Randy Austin reported that Rocket Balloons were popular sellers during the summer of 2008 at her store, The Gifted Child, in Lenox, Mass.
— “Rocket Balloons were fabulous [last year] and we have people waiting for them now,” said Eric Masoncup, owner of Geppettos Toy Box in Oak Park, Ill., of his top-selling outdoor item during a March 2010 survey of best sellers.
— Two of 37 retailers named Rocket Balloons are a best-selling outdoor toy in spring 2010.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20435 (added 9/9/2008)
The Skyball is a distinctive play ball filled with helium. The brightly colored ball can bounce up to 75 feet in the air, giving a whole new dimension to play for one or a group. Kids can add this astronomical bounce to existing games like handball, or invent whole new things to play.
— “Skyballs would be No. 1 if I had any right this minute, but I don't. They are the best seller. I sell as many as I have, 48 or more. Sixty. Can't keep enough in stock,” said Gage Brownell, manager of Belmont Toys in Belmont, Mass., during a March 2010 survey.
— Two of 37 retailers told TDmonthly in March 2010 that Skyballs are a top-selling outdoor toy.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 27773 (added 3/29/2010)
This heavy duty, textured ball is great for indoor or outdoor play. The ball is 7" diameter. It is made of rubber and contains no PVC, latex or vinyl. The product conforms to or exceeds U.S. and European safety standards.
— During a March 2010 survey of top-selling sports and outdoor products, three out of 37 retailers told TDmonthly play balls are their best seller.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 25459 (added 9/30/2009)
The world's greatest experts from NASA and beyond don't even know how it works. The X-Zylo Ultra is the "flying gyroscope" that can travel the length of two football fields. It's the ultimate game of catch. Having swept the nation by storm, the X-Zylo has been featured in some of the country's highest profile media outlets. And if you can't get enough of it, there's a glowing X-Zylo Night version, so that the ultimate game of catch can be played at any hour.
— "One thing we've done well with are the X-Zylo products from William Mark. It's this thing that you throw. They call it the flying gyroscope. You can throw it a long way. They have different kinds of shooters. I just had to reorder them," said Mary Sisson, owner of Kazoodles in Vancouver, Wash.
— Two of 37 retailers told TDmonthly in March 2010 that William Mark supplies their top-selling outdoor items.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 14514 (added 8/7/2007)
JUMP ROCKET™ Deluxe Set ? with Adjustable Launcher & Six Rockets by GEOSPACE INTERNATIONAL
Other products from GEOSPACE INTERNATIONAL
The rocket can soar the height of a 20-story building or more. That’s the power of compressed air…made by simply jumping up and onto the hemisphere-shaped air pump. Slide the safe, foam JUMP ROCKET™ onto its launch tube, and aim the new pivoting launch base toward the target.
— “It's a great birthday gift, great price point. Easy thing to sell,” said Jason Curtis, owner of Funtopia in Middletown Calif., in March 2010 of what makes the Geospace Jump Rocket a top-selling outdoor toy in his store.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9612 (added 10/4/2006)
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This giant flying foam toy can be thrown in 12 different ways and flies up to 200'. The Uberdart is soft and light, making it easy to catch and throw, and may be used for group games and family fun activities. It is ASTM safety tested for ages 6 and up. Launch date: March 2007.
— Two of 47 retailers named Uberdarts as their best seller for boys in June 2009.
— In March 2010, TDmonthly surveyed 37 specialty retailers about their top-selling outdoor toy. Sheryl Guidera, owner of Kaleidoscope the Parent Teacher Store in Capitola, Calif., said, “There is no question, it's the Uberdart. Absolutely the best.”
Past videos: WTHRA 2008
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 17924 (added 3/12/2008)
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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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