Some of us may still be recovering from last year but marketers are already working on the upcoming holiday season. Toy manufacturers and retailers know they need to hit the shelves at just the right time, with the right products in order to make a big hit with kids and parents. The Toy Industry Association’s annual fair has just wrapped up and industry experts have compiled a list of what they expect will be the must-have toys this year.
In a general sense, Adrienne Appell, TIA trend expert, says "Personalization and open-ended play are definitely the buzz words of 2014." Beyond that, there are some definite trends which manufacturers are struggling to target as the intended market for toys grows younger every year.
Look for large toys – whether they’re plush or building sets. Last year’s trend was about micro toys so manufacturers hope to counter that with large offerings. However, they intend to keep the price tags at an affordable level.
Toy makers are looking to ride on the coattails of the broad interest in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. Parents and policy-makers worry that these topics are getting short shrift in the classroom and in the everyday lives of kids, yet these are the same areas that experts predict will be hot for career paths in the future. Developing toys to meet parental demand will definitely increase sales.
One criticism toy manufacturers have faced, especially with building sets, is all about how some toys limit a child’s imagination. To counter these complaints, this year’s toys will allow kids to customize and personalize. This is especially true of “mash-ups” which let kids use the toys in a variety of ways.
If you want to get a jump on planning holiday ad campaigns, you might want to know more about the key audience, Parents of Children Under age 5. You can check out the AudienceSCAN report available on the Research Store at ad-ology.com.