August 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 8
With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero
In June 2009, TDmonthly Magazine surveyed 47 specialty toy retailers about what's selling best for boys in their stores. While Lego remains a standby in many stores, retailers agreed that outdoor products such as the Blast Pad from Marky Sparky Toys and sets from OgoSport are in demand as well.
“I have more moms looking for boys' toys again than I've had in years,” remarked Charles Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark. “Boys' merchandise is moving off shelf faster than I've ever seen.”
Here are the top-10 best-selling gifts for boys.
Battle of Endor by LEGO
An 890-piece construction set based on the climactic battle between the Rebel Alliance and the evil Empire, the Battle of Endor set is designed to bring the action directly into a child's hands and imagination. Kids can build detailed models of an opening bunker with sliding blast doors, an AT-ST scout walker, a firing catapult, an Ewok glider and two speeder bikes. The set comes with 12 figures, including many favorite characters, such as Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and R2-D2.
— “Lego is outselling everything, as always. It's a classic item,” said Charles Bonner, owner of Heights Toy Center in Little Rock, Ark., in response to a June 2009 survey of best-selling gifts for boys.
— “Lego, they love Lego. We just had three little boys ‘pow wow’ in the Lego section,” Denise Van Patten, owner of Katherine's Cottage in Chico, Calif., told TDmonthly in summer 2009.
— As of 09/06/2011 the anniversary edition of this item was number two on ToysRus.com's top-selling toys list, and had 4.1 out of 5 stars from 21 reviews. Pros: Easy to assemble, fun. Cons: Difficult setup, falls apart too easily. 7/21/2009 (MSRP: $99.99; Age: 9 and Up)
Ultra Stomp Rocket by D & L COMPANY
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)
12/17/2012 (MSRP: $15.00; Age: 8 and Up)
Morphibians Rover by KID GALAXY INC.
With sleek lines and aggressive styling, the Morphibians Rover is ready to take on any terrain — pond or bath, carpet or lawn — with its heavy duty tire tread and amphibious vehicle technology. The vehicle takes three AA batteries, the controller takes two AAA batteries, and the Rover runs at a 27MHz frequency. Other Morphibians are available at 49MHz in order to accommodate two vehicles being driven at the same time.
— “Our best-selling gift for boys is probably the Morphibians from Kid Galaxy, especially if a dad is shopping,” said Janet Gregory, owner of Over the Rainbow Toy Store in Anchorage, Alaska, in June 2009.
— “Kid Galaxy's Morphibians have sold well for almost two years straight,” Joe Berardoni, owner of Pun's Toy Shop in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in summer 2009.
— Of 47 retailers, four listed Morphibians as the top-selling gift for boys in early summer 2009. 7/21/2009 (Age: 5 and Up)
Pharaoh's Temple by PLAYMOBIL INC.
Illuminated with detailed Egyptian images, the gate of this mysterious temple opens a whole world of creative play in ancient Egypt. The set comes with a rune-inscribed obelisk, ceremonial scepters and headdresses, a sedan chair, three figures and a stately panther. It may be used as a stand-alone set or combined with other pieces from Playmobil's Egypt line for exploration of the ancient world. Launch date: August 2009.
— “Playmobil. It blows me away how popular it is right now. We have a whole room of Playmobil and it's outstanding,” Fred Meyer, owner of Meyer's Toy World in Battle Creek, Mich., told TDmonthly in June 2009.
— “We brought it in new last year and it's always selling,” said Phillip Anderson, manager of The Down Town Toy Store in Kenosha, Wis., when asked about his top-selling gift for boys in summer 2009. ( Watch Video) 7/21/2009 (MSRP: $29.99; Age: 3 and Up)
Uberdart by A&J SUPPLIERS
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 ( Watch Video) 3/12/2008 (MSRP: $10.00; Age: 6 and Up)
Blast PadŽ Advanced Missile Launch System by 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 ( Watch Video) 8/28/2008
Super Sports OgoDisks Set by OGOSPORT, LLC
This 18” sports disk features a foam ring with a high-strength elastic membrane, and can catch and throw balls up to 150'. It is a safe, high-quality sports activity device that adapts to volleyball, tennis, baseball and other sports, and can be a blast at the beach or pool. A 12” size is also available. Suggested retail price for the two sizes ranges from $15 to $40. “The Super Sports Disk products are fantastic as confidence-building, motor-skill activities for young children, but are also great for more advanced users,” Kevin Williams of OgoSport told TDmonthly. This product received a Spring 2007 Parents' Choice Award. Launch date: May 20, 2007.
— Quality materials and a super bouncing effect earned the classy OgoSport a TDmonthly Innovations 2007 award. Its broad appeal and correlation to other sports make the disk applicable to a variety of fun and healthy activities, and its bright color and sleek packaging grab attention.
— “OgoSport is a good line for us,” Eric Masoncup, owner of Gepetto's Toy Box in Oak Park, Ill., told TDmonthly about his best-selling gift for boys in summer 2009.
— Joe Beradoni, owner of Pun's Toys in Bryn Mawr, Pa., told TDmonthly in a Summer 2011 survey about best-selling toys that "during the summer, we sell 5-7 a week."
Past videos: WTHRA 2007 ( Watch Video) 2/21/2007 (MSRP: $44.00; Age: 3 and Up)
Global Warming by THAMES & KOSMOS
Global warming — the steady increase in Earth’s air and ocean temperatures since the mid-20th century — is one of the most discussed and studied topics in the scientific community today. This kit introduces you to Earth’s climate and the issue of global warming with 23 hands-on experiments. This kit gives you the basic knowledge you need to understand the climate, why it changes, and how our actions affect it.
— “Science and robotics are extremely popular,” said Dean Nelson, owner of Wizard Kids Toys in Toledo, Ohio, who told TDmonthly in June 2009 that Thames & Kosmos is one of his top-selling lines for boys.
— Two of 47 storeowners said Thames & Kosmos account for their top sales in boys' items during a summer 2009 survey. ( Watch Video) 3/18/2009 (MSRP: $34.95; Age: 10 and Up)
Bakubowl Arena by SPIN MASTER TOYS
The Bakubowl Arena from Spin Master brings together kids and their Bakugan Battle Brawlers together for a fast-paced game. Stored in stations behind the Bakuramps around the edges of the circular arena, Bakugan wait to be launched into battle by the ramps where they will strive to win against their opponents' team. The arena accommodates up to four players.
— “Bakugan Battle Brawlers is flying off the shelves,” Katherine L. King, manager of Giggles Toys & More in Bozeman, Mont., told TDmonthly about her best-selling gifts for boys in June 2009. ( Watch Video) 7/21/2009 (Age: 5 and Up)
ZING AIR ZARTZ by ZING
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 ( Watch Video) 2/27/2009 (Age: 6 and Up)