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January 2013 | Vol. XII - No. 1
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Hot or Not? 2013's Toy Trends...According to Specialty Retailers!


With additional reporting from Chris Lundy and Brenda Ruggiero

The world of specialty retail doesn't always follow the toy trends of the mass market. That's why TDmonthly Magazine asked specialty toy store owners what products they think will be hot — or not — for their stores in 2013.

HOT

Toys for older kids are becoming more popular. "We used to sell to 6 and under," Melissa Pennille, co-owner of Teaching Toys & Books in Tacoma, Wash., told TDmonthly; but now? "We're seeing middle and high schoolers," she said.

With this in mind, Melissa's looking out for toys like Kendama, strategy games like Settlers of Catan, and Spooner Boards.

Pat Siegfried, co-owner of Black Forest Books & Toys in Charlotte, N.C., recommends scooters from KICKBOARD USA LLC for older kids.

Fred Rosenberg, owner of On the Park in Kingwood, Texas, sees a potential hit in a new tech toy — and it's not a tablet. "Everyone I've shown it to has bought it. It's the first really different thing I've seen in a while," he said of Augmented Reality 3D kits from POPAR TOYS. (read our interview with Popar Toys)

Rosenberg also said Hello Kitty branded items are doing increasingly well.

Classic toys are regaining popularity, according to Jessica Wood from Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt.. "LEGO continues to be very strong," she said, and marble runs are selling well too.

Julie Steinbach, owner of Rainbow Toys in Falmouth, Maine, agrees that sales of classic toys are on the rise. At her store, wooden doll houses are starting to see a bit more interest, and sales of evergreen games are picking up. "People are trying to relive how they were brought up," she explained.

Sales of dolls and books for younger kids are also on an upswing, according to Teresa Derry, owner of Annie's Toy Chest in Cocoa, Fla., and Melissa from Teaching Toys & Books, respectively.


NOT


Sales from books for older kids are dwindling. "Older kids are aging out to Kindles," according to Pat from Black Forest Books & Toys. However, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is still popular in the store.

Fred from On the Park reported that "Slowing down are knights from Papo or Schleich."

Jessica from Northshire Bookstore told TDmonthly that though LEGO may still be strong, "Playmobil is a little less so." Also, "game sales have not been as strong this last year. They may have peaked."

What else should retailers watch out for in 2013?

"Trains are slowing," according to Julie from Rainbow Toys.


Trains may be slowing, but you don't have to be late to the game in 2013 (excuse our pun)! Check out our Toy Fair Preview for a glimpse of some of the newest toys that will be hitting the market in 2013.

In the meantime, you can take a closer look at some of the hot products mentioned by these retailers below.




Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
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MSRP: $22.00
Age Range: 9 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Made in: China; Europe
SKU or Item #: 030955263076
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Outdoor Fun
Educational



The Tribute Kendama is a Japanese wooden skill toy that challenges hand-eye coordination, focus, balance, and creativity. Enjoyed by millions in Japan, its only recently been introduced into the USA thanks to KendamaUSA. " It is the only Kendama designed so that the cups can never fall off the handle, which is the #1 customer complaint with copy-cat brands," Jeremy Stephenson, president of Kendama USA, told TDmonthly. Launch date: January 2007.
Awards: 2012 ASTRA Toy of the Year Award Nominee
— David Castillo, vice president of The Red Balloon Toy Store in Salt Lake City, Utah, told TDmonthly in a November 2014 survey that Kendamas, especially ones from Kendama USA, are one of their store's best-selling toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 33599      (added 2/8/2012)
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Age Range: 10 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Family Games
Board Games
General Games



Begin a quest to settle the island of Catan. Guide brave settlers to victory by using clever trading and shrewd development. Use resources—grain, wool, ore, lumber, and brick—to build roads, settlements, cities and key cultural milestones. Get resources by rolling the dice or by trading with other players. Catan is a modern classic. It truly redefines social board games and been awarded with “Game of the Year” honors in Germany, the United States, and a host of other countries. This New edition features a six piece reversible board allowing for more replay value than the previous Gallery Edition. Launch date: 2012.
Awards: 2013 TDmonthly Seal of Approval
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34875      (added 8/23/2012)
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MSRP: $40.00
Age Range: 3 and up
Launch Date: January 2006
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Sporting Goods & Accessories
Outdoor Fun



The Spooner is a balance trainer that simulates board maneuvers associated with surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding but not limited to that. The Spooner helps to develop flexibility and strength in the legs as well as creating a better center of balance. The Spooner is a core trainer, a stabilizer and a pasteurizer because of the ability to work the muscles closest to the spine. Also, it's loads of fun and can be done on any surface indoors or out. Made of H.D.P.E. it is unbreakable. Our guarantee is "You break it, we replace it."  Made by Hand in the USA. Launch date: 2006.
— In a March 2012 survey about outdoor toys, two out of 12 retailers told TDmonthly that Spooner Boards were among their best sellers.
— In a March 2012 survey, Chris Lowe, owner of Beanhead Toys in Sandy Springs, Ga., told TDmonthly that Spoonerboards were one of her best selling ride-on toys.
— Alexander McPherson, toy supervisor at Little Dickens in Lynchburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that Spooner Boards are their best selling item - they sell about 114 each year, with sales of the item concentrated in 4th quarter.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 23177      (added 4/7/2009)
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MSRP: $134.99
Age Range: 6 to 11
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Outdoor Fun
Bicycles & Tricycles
Vehicles - Riding



The maxi kick Scooter is an award-winning, high performance, 3-wheel scooter for kids ages 6-11. Weight limit 120lbs. The Swiss-designed maxi, like its sibling the mini (for kids ages 3-5), has a lean-and-steer mechanism that makes it unique and fun, giving kids the feeling of surfing the sidewalks as they curve and carve. The maxi has an amazingly smooth, quiet ride, even on urban sidewalks and it's light weight, yet exceptionally durable construction is easy for kids and parents alike to see and appreciate.
Awards: 2009 Oppenheim Portfolio's Gold and Platinum Award Seals; Oppenheim SNAP award seal; Toy Report Best Scooter for Kids ages 6-11; NBC Today Show 'Best Toys for Summer 2009.
— Alexander McPherson, toy supervisor at Little Dickens in Lynchburg, Va., told TDmonthly in a March 2013 survey that Kickboards are their best selling ride on toy, especially during Summer and around the holidays.
— Joe Barardoni Jr., owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in a March 2014 survey that Kickboard scooters were best-selling ride-on toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34170      (added 4/30/2012)
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Wholesale Price: (Log in to view)
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MSRP: $40.00
Age Range: 4 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Made in: United States; China
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books
Space
Educational



This adventure kit comes included with all the necessary tools to explore the amazing world of Planets 3D. The kit contains a 3D book, 3D cards, magic costume card, software and Popar Reader. Kids will have an unforgettable experience as they magically turn into an astronaut and watch rockets, space probes, rovers, and the international space station leap from the pages or cards. Launch date: 2011.
Awards: 2012 Best of the Toy Fair - The View; 2012 National Parenting Centers Seal of Approval.
— Fred Rosenberg, owner of Toy on the Park in Kindwood, Texas, told TDmonthly in a Winter 2012 survey that augmented reality books by Popar Toys are their bestsellers in the category.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34146      (added 4/27/2012)
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MSRP: $8.95
SKU or Item #: 08009
Gender: Girls
Category: Gifts
Licensed Products



Kids can create clever works of art with this Hello Kitty stamper kit. Let their imaginations run wild with 1 stamp handle, 40 pieces of rubber stamp, 1 rolling stamp handle, 2 rolling stamps, 1 stamp holder, and 1 twin color ink pad.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35835      (added 12/20/2012)
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MSRP: $39.99
Age Range: 6 to 14
Specialty: No
Gender: Boys
Category: Construction
Play Sets
Kits



Samurai X is on board the mighty Samurai Mech when she locates the Constrictai fang blade and closes in to claim it. Can scout Snike and warrior Bytar stop it with a catapult ambush? Or will the Samurai Mech's massive blade, shoulder cannon shooter and bladed grabbers overcome the Constrictai snakes? Includes 3 minifigures: Samurai X, Snike and Bytar, Samurai Mech, catapult, Constrictai fang blade with orange anti-venom capsule and weapon.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35623      (added 11/30/2012)
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MSRP: $29.95
Age Range: 4 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: General Games
Preschool
Construction



This gigantic marble run features 103 pieces with 12 marbles. Kids can build their structure any way they like, then drop the marbles and watch them race through the run.
— In a May 2013 survey, two out of 10 retailers told TDmonthly that marble runs were one of their best-selling construction toys.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35586      (added 11/20/2012)
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Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
SKU or Item #: 7601
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Dolls
Dolls - Accessories
Wooden Toys



This dollhouse features a balcony, sliding doors, and space to create four roooms. Made of eco-friendly PlanWood and solid rubber wood. Launch date: August 2012.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 34516      (added 6/27/2012)
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MSRP: $6.99
Age Range: 7 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Card Games



UNO has been a fun, entertaining game for years and travels well, keeping little ones engrossed for hours.
— As of 09/15/2011 this product had 4.7 out of 5 stars from 93 reviews on Amazon.com, and had no one star ratings. It was ranked number 2 in the Card Games category.
— Nathan McKelvey, manager of Toy Castle, LLC in Jonesboro, Ar., told TDmonthly in a September 2011 survey that UNO is one of his top-three bestselling card games.
— UNO is published in 80 countries and has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide. 
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 3451      (added 4/28/2005)
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MSRP: $19.95
Age Range: 8 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Board Games



Monopoly has been America’s favorite board game since 1935. This special Nostalgia Series edition brings that history to life with vintage-look playing pieces, wooden houses and hotels, and “aged” Monopoly money. The wood collector box features a built-in banker’s tray and cover art reprinted from the 1957 edition. It’s an evergreen game that will be cherished and handed down through the generations.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9645      (added 10/10/2006)
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MSRP: $9.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Specialty: Yes (as of 2012)
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Books
Infant & Toddler
Preschool



The jungle is warm and steamy. What kind of animal might live there, a snow goose or a sloth? What about a still, cool pond -- could that be home for a howler monkey? Find out why meerkats like dry sunny grasslands (hint: they like to dig holes to hide in) or why clown fish feel right at home in a coral reef. Small flaps and a matching spread at the end make learning about habitats fun. Lift the flaps and learn about animal life with two new books in a fresh, fun-filled series for curious preschoolers. Launch date: November 2012.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 35581      (added 11/20/2012)
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Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author

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