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July 2012 | Vol. XI - No. 7
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Holiday 2012 Toy Trend Spotting: Save ‘n’ Splurge

Toy Industry Association (TIA) experts identify new trends for the holiday season


Trends identified by Toy Industry Association (TIA) experts at the 109th American International Toy Fair are piping hot this summer and expected to sizzle well into the 2012 holiday shopping season.

One of the year’s top trends – “Save ‘n’ Splurge” – indicates that post-recession wallets are expanding, but that consumers are also staying mindful of what they buy and who they spend on. Recent toy industry data confirms that parents are making purchasing trade-offs – spending more on their own families than they do on friends.

“Buying a less expensive gift for a classmate’s birthday allows parents to shell out more for their own child’s ‘Big Ask’ during the holiday season,” says TIA trend expert Adrienne Appell. “Toymakers are rolling out products that hit both ends of the spectrum…We’re seeing toys that have a certain ‘WOW’ factor for those who are willing to loosen their purse strings a bit, but there also continues to be a wide range of products that offer big play value at an affordable price.”

The following are some examples of toys in the Save ‘n’ Splurge category that were identified from among 100,000+ products on display at last February’s Toy Fair:

SAVE

Super BuildsWABA Fun, LLC ($9.99): Plastic and foam pieces are connected to create vehicles using the illustrated construction guide. Fun construction play for children aged 3+.

DistractionThink Fun ($12.99): This quirky all-play game is fun for the whole family, providing hours of entertainment. Players take turns drawing number cards and remembering a growing sequence of digits … but if a distraction card is drawn, they must answer a quirky question before reciting the numbers in order.

Star Wars Anti Gravity BallsUncle Milton ($9.99): These high-bounce anti-gravity balls feature new Star Wars caricatures that will excite collectors of all ages. Perfect gifts for stocking-stuffers or “just because.”

Waverly and the Magic SeashellsThe Bridge Direct ($3.99): Mini-collectible seashells that contain little “pets.” The seashells are part of a larger universe of “play” that includes mermaid dolls and play sets. Fun for kids to collect, display, and trade with friends.

National Geographic PuzzlesTechno Source ($9.99): These unique National Geographic puzzles are great for puzzle fans (10+) who love animals and nature. Puzzles come in four themes: Into the Wild, Natural Wonders, Monumental Marvels, and World Travel.

My Very Own Kitchen SetAmerican Plastic Toys ($19.99): A kitchen play set that offers tons of role-play opportunities at an affordable price. The “kitchen experience” is made complete thanks to a microwave, range, grill, conventional oven, dish organizer and shelf space. Includes a 19-piece kitchen set so little ones can “cook” just like Mom and Dad.

Crazy Cubes Spin Master ($4.99): A collectible that transforms traditional marble play into something entirely new. Each Crazy Cube comes with its own unique combination of marble brain and collector card, which doubles as a blocking wall or shooting target. More than 50 to collect and 10 teams to choose from – each team has one rare cube with changing eyes or mouth.

SPLURGE

Electric GuitarSchoenhut Piano Company ($129.99): Kids ages 6+ can rock out with this 36-inch classic electric guitar. An ideal “first guitar” for kids, and a great, lightweight travel guitar for musicians of all ages.

Video Spy Surveillance SystemJAKKS Pacific ($69.99): A part of the company’s recently expanded “spy line,” this role play toy includes a video camera operated by a remote control that enables kids to view their subjects from 250 feet away.

Desk to Easel Art Cart GuideCraft USA ($199.99): Children as young as three can explore their creativity with this classic, versatile arts and crafts unit, which can be positioned as an angled easel or folded down into a flat workspace. Features easy-to-clean laminate surfaces, a write-on/wipe-off surface, a chalkboard and plenty of storage space.

Wi Spi Helicopter Interactive Toy Concepts ($99.99): Tweens and teens will get a kick out of this remote control helicopter, which can be flown using an iPhone or Android app and includes a built-in camera that beams live feeds to the mobile device. “Spy” videos can also be recorded and uploaded to social networking sites.

Kid Tough Portable DVR PlayerFisher-Price ($149.99): From the popular “Kid Tough” line, this new, touch-screen device plugs into a dock that connects to a set-top-box and acts as a DVR, recording a child’s favorite television shows for them to enjoy on-the-go. The player can record two hours of live or pre-set programming, with the option of using a microSD card for additional memory. Holds a charge for 4-6 hours.

Radiate SkateboardRockboard ($99.99): This cutting edge skateboard incorporates an internal integrated LED wiring harness system – simply hit the “on” switch and the 48 lights will turn on. Projects an explosion of color that has older kids riding in style. Includes a rechargeable battery; available in 10 different color combinations.

Buddy Pedal Go-Kart BERG Toys ($299.99): A rugged, four-wheel pedal kart with air-filled pneumatic tires and a wide wheelbase, this ride-on is perfect for kids aged 3-8. Riders can pedal forward, backward, and brake without taking their feet off the pedals. Thanks to an adjustable seat, kids can continue to ride as they grow older.


Take a closer look at these fantastic “save” or “splurge” toys, rolling out through fall 2012, below. For round-the-clock toy safety and trend information from the Toy Industry Association, visit ToyInfo.org.




MSRP: $12.99
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Card Games
General Games
Trading Cards



Players take turns drawing number cards and remembering a growing sequence of digits. If a player draws a Distraction card they must answer a quirky question before reciting the numbers in order. Get caught repeating the sequence incorrectly and collect the cards – the first player to run out of cards wins.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34472      (added 6/22/2012)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys
Category: Balls
Licensed Products
General Toys



High-bounce Anti-Gravity Balls feature new Star Wars caricatures.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34473      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $3.99
Gender: Girls
Category: General Toys
Collectibles



Mini-collectible seashells that contain little "pets." The seashells are part of a larger universe of "play" that includes mermaid dolls and play sets. Fun for kids to collect, display, and trade with friends.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34474      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 10 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Puzzles & Skill
Science & Nature
Licensed Products



These unique National Geographic puzzles are great for puzzle fans who love animals and nature. Puzzles come in four themes: Into the Wild, Natural Wonders, Monumental Marvels, and World Travel.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34475      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $19.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Pretend Play
Preschool



My Very Own Kitchen offers plenty of play features in a compact size. This 19-piece kitchen set includes a microwave, range, grill area, conventional oven, dish organizer and shelf space. Accessories include cups, dishes, silverware, pots, pans, cooking utensils, a pitcher, a cell phone and a colorful label sheet. Measures 19.25"L x 8.25"W x 28.75"H assembled.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34476      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $4.99
Age Range: 5 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
General Toys



Each Crazy Cube comes with its own unique combination of shooter, marble and accessories to enhance game play. Every Crazy Cube comes with its own matching marble brain and collector card. Adding to the fun, the collector card doubles as a blocking wall or shooting target when combined with its included post.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34477      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


Age Range: 3 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Construction
General Toys



The multiple, award-winning 126-piece Superstructs™ Big Builder set provides everything you need to build detailed, hard working, construction vehicles. Build a working forklift, dump truck, crane, or utility truck with the enclosed step-by-step plans. And once you have mastered these, you can take them apart and use your imagination to build other great creations!
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34478      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $69.99
Specialty: No
Gender: Boys
Category: Electronics
General Toys



A part of the company’s recently expanded "spy line," this role play toy includes a video camera operated by a remote control that enables kids to view their subjects from 250 feet away.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34479      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $199.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Arts & Crafts
Furniture & Decor
Wooden Toys



Children as young as three can explore their creativity with this classic, versatile arts and crafts unit, which can be positioned as an angled easel or folded down into a flat workspace. Features easy-to-clean laminate surfaces, a write-on/wipe-off surface, a chalkboard and plenty of storage space.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34480      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $99.99
Gender: Boys
Category: Remote Controlled
Aircraft
General Toys



This remote control helicoptecan be flown using an iPhone or Android app and includes a built-in camera that beams live feeds to the mobile device. "Spy" videos can also be recorded and uploaded to social networking sites.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34481      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $149.99
Specialty: No
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Electronic Games
Videos & DVDs



This new, touch-screen device plugs into a dock that connects to a set-top-box and acts as a DVR, recording a child’s favorite television shows for them to enjoy on-the-go. The player can record two hours of live or pre-set programming, with the option of using a microSD card for additional memory. Holds a charge for 4-6 hours.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34482      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $115.99
Age Range: 6 and up
SKU or Item #: 609C
Launch Date: August 2009
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Music
Electronics
Musical Toys



This could be a first guitar for kids and a travel guitar for players of all ages. It includes eight dot position inlays, 1/4 pin pickup, and a silkscreen logo. No assembly is required. Launch date: August 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24237      (added 6/29/2009)
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MSRP: $99.99
Specialty: No
Gender: Boys
Category: Bicycles & Tricycles
Outdoor Fun
Sporting Goods & Accessories



This board features an LED light system which provides visual effects without getting damaged. Made of 7 Ply hard rock maple; available in blue, green, or orange. Launch date: 2012. 
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33641      (added 2/12/2012)
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AD


MSRP: $319.00
Age Range: 3 to 8
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Vehicles - Riding
Outdoor Fun
Bicycles & Tricycles



A rugged, four-wheel pedal kart with air-filled pneumatic tires and a wide wheelbase. Riders can pedal forward, backward, and brake without taking their feet off the pedals. Thanks to an adjustable seat, kids can continue to ride as they grow older.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34483      (added 6/22/2012)
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AD


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Kristin MorencyWriter's Bio: Kristin Morency is the Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) communications specialist and journalist. She spends her days researching and writing about the latest trends, safety tips and news about toys, play and the youth entertainment marketplace. Her articles can be found at ToyAssociation.org, ToyInfo.org, in various trade publications, and in TIA’s weekly e-newsletter, Toy News Tuesday. She can be reached at kmorency@toyassociation.org. Read more articles by this author

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