Gayle Anderson was live in Santa Monica with her NEW “SIGNS OF THE SEASON” report beginning with what’s popular on the TOY WISHES CHRIS BYRNE'S HOT HOLIDAY TOYS FOR 2012.
People traditionally think that Black Friday is the START of the holiday toy shopping season, but a combination of early shopping, lower inventories at retailers and layaway programs are clearing shelves at a record pace, and earlier than ever. That means when you wake up the day after Thanksgiving, in some cases you may already be too late.
This 2012 holiday season has been shaped by layaway programs which have had a huge impact on early sales for those consumers who are spending and willing to purchase higher ticket items, but are reluctant to put additional money on credit cards. With layaway, consumers can get the toys they want without worrying about a big credit card bill after the holidays.
Chris Byrne, the "Toy Guy" and Time to Play have been tracking store sales since early October and talking to retailers in order to give viewers the inside track on 10 toys you should order today, if you want to get them for your kids this holiday season. This season's hottest toys cover a wide variety of products, from high tech to basic play, suggesting that a good toy is one that inspires engaging play.
Here is Chris Byrnes' "TOY WISHES HOT HOLIDAY TOYS 2012":
1. LeapFrog LeapPad 2 Explorer (LeapFrog) — The LeapPad was the #1 toy last year and has been selling out consistently all year, making the Time to Play Most Wanted List. The new version is sturdier, has twice the memory, better performance, and front and rear cameras for the same $99 of the original. This has emerged as the iPad for kids. Chris got more calls in December last year from people desperate to find this toy than at any time since Tickle Me Elmo in 1996.
2. Furby (Hasbro) — Furby is back and better than ever. Hasbro has really gotten the technology right. He's more interactive, more amusing and more engaging than ever. Plus there's even an iPod or iPhone App that you can use with him to expand the play. According to Walmart, Furby is one of the top toys that people are putting on layaway and is also on the Time to Play Most Wanted List.
3. Monster High High School Playset (Mattel) — Another hot layaway item, the Monster High High School Playset is the first dollhouse for the super-hot Monster High dolls, which continue to be one of the hottest fashion dolls out there. It's got the ghoulishly good humor of the line, including a "basketball court" and coffin lockers as well as an innovative fold-up design.
4. Crayola Digital Light Designer (Crayola) — This digital designer lets kids draw with light and a touch-sensitive stylus and is a stand-alone unit that lets kids explore color, technology and animation. The Crayola Digital Light Designer reflects the trend seen over the past couple of years that combine electronics with arts and crafts.
5. ZX Crossbow (Zing) — Introduced earlier this year, the Zing Crossbow has been so popular that retailers can't keep it in stock. People love the soft, safe fun and the action-packed play.
6. NERF Elite Hail Fire (Hasbro) — Another huge hit on the Time to Play Most Wanted List, the NERF Elite Hail Fire has the ability to shoot up to 144 darts rapid fire. You've never seen a NERF battle like this!
7. LaDeeDa (Spin Master) — This is a big year for fashion dolls, and the LaDeeDa collections show all the signs of being a breakout hit. Not only are they gorgeous dolls, they also inspire girls to be creative in their own right. These are appealing to slightly older, slightly more sophisticated girls who have a great, whimsical fashion sense.
8. Perplexus Twist (PlaSmart) — The original Perplexus Epic and Rookie puzzles have been sell outs in the specialty market. These hard-to-put-down puzzles are appealing to those who love a challenge and parents who appreciate its great value pricing.
9. Micro Chargers (Moose) — Micro cars are another huge trend this year. Exclusive to Toys "R" Us, Micro Chargers have a unique charging system that revs the cars and then sends them racing on tracks. With two different versions for stunts and speed and a high level of collectibility, this toy is racing off shelves.
10. Skylanders Construction Sets (MEGA) — For fans of the Skylanders game, a huge hit in the video game arena, these construction sets are a new way for fans and young kids to get into the excitement of the game. This toy also made the Time to Play Most Wanted List.
As director of content for "Time To Play," Chris Byrne brings 29 years of industry experience in the toy industry to his role as a researcher, analyst and consultant with New York-based Byrne Communications. He has worked with a variety of Fortune 100 companies tracking kid trends, product development and strategic marketing campaigns and is regularly sourced by the investment community for insights into all aspects of the toy industry. Chris is widely published on the topic of toys and family life and in addition to his work with "Time to Play" he is editor-at-large for the trade publications Toys & Family Entertainment and Royalties.
For more information, contact:
"CHRIS BYRNE'S TIME TO PLAY HOT HOLIDAY TOYS 2012"
Chris Byrne, The ToyGuy
Time to Play Magazine
229 West 28th Street, Suite 401
Visit Pacific Park this Thanksgiving holiday weekend to see the Pacific Wheel's Thanksgiving lighting display, which features a cornucopia of patterns and colors, including orange and green, from sunset on Thursday, November 22nd through midnight on Sunday, November 25th.
The Pacific Wheel is the world's only solar powered Ferris wheel featuring 160,000 energy efficient LED lights that present dynamic, custom, computer-generated lighting entertainment each evening. This eco-friendly, enhanced LED lighting provides 75-percent greater energy savings than most Ferris wheels that use traditional incandescent bulbs.
Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, L.A.'s only admission free amusement park, offers 12 amusement rides, 18 midway games and an oceanfront food plaza. Pacific Park opens at 11 a.m. and is in full operation throughout the holiday weekend.
For more information, contact:
Pacific Wheel Thanksgiving Lighting Display
Begins at Sunset on Thursday, November 22nd through midnight on Sunday, November 22nd
380 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401