DARKE COUNTY — The Christmas season holds many delights, from delicious holiday foods to colorful lights to gatherings of family and friends. For kids, however, the most anticipated delight is typically the toys Santa will place under their Christmas tree.
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer Meijer is giving customers an early glimpse at the toys it foresees on wish lists across the Midwest.
“This year’s toy trends focus on allowing children to customize the toy to their liking through voice commands and artistic designs, while also learning through interaction,” said Dan Myers, divisional merchandise manager of toys for Meijer.
“We know our customers appreciate getting an early look into the hottest toys on Meijer shelves, and we believe our assortment of national brands will continue to make Meijer a toy destination this holiday season,” he said.
Approximately 50 percent of Meijer’s toy business is conducted in November and December.
Meijer says the Top 10 toys for Christmas 2016 will include:
- Build-A-Bear Stuff Me Station that allows children to build their own bear at home and customize its birth certificate and clothes; no batteries required.
- Peppa Pig’s Deluxe House comes with three figures and 15 play pieces, including a refrigerator, bathtub and bunk beds.
- Paw Patrol Zooming Marshall does more than 80 interactive missions and tricks with more than 150 paw Patrol sounds. Paw Patrol is the retailer’s No. 1 preschool brand.
- Brightlings is an interactive toy that features more than 100 phrases activated by the way the child holds the toy. It records any sound and plays it back in a unique voice, and also sings six different styles of music, including opera, jazz, beat box and rock.
- Hatchimals are interactive, magical creatures that hatch themselves from inside an egg through the child’s communication and nurturing. The child raises the toy through the baby, toddler and kid stages.
- Furreal Friends Torch My Blazin’ Dragon can breathe flame-colored mist that can change colors when fed. Torch responds to touch with more than 50 sound and motion combinations, and can even roast toy marshmallows.
- Syma Sky Thunder Drone D550WH performs 360-degree stunts, live streams HD video and photos, and can hover automatically. This drone does not require registration with the FAA.
- Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash Playset features four intersecting tracks and feeder ramp for extra action. There are also crash zones and motorized boosters.
- Nerf Modulus Tri Strike Blaster features three different ways to blast that can be used separately or combined for custom configurations. Expand the customizing options with Nerf Modulus Upgrade Kits. Nerf is the retailer’s overall top toy brand.
- Pie Face Showdown is a hilarious follow-up to the original Pie Face game that debuted last year. It’s full of fun and suspense where someone eventually gets splatted in the face with whipped cream.
Another national retailer, Walmart, released its top toy picks for the holidays. The Arkansas-based corporation foresees popular toy choices will include the Barbie Rainbow Cove Princess Castle Playset, Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck Craft Kit, Little Live Pets Puppy, Razor Power Core E100 Electric Scooter, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mega Lair Playset, Star Wars Electronic R2D2, and a 24-volt Disney Princess Carriage.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) says predicting the “hot” toys for this season can be a challenge, but many parents have their shopping lists prepared well in advance.
In an NRF survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, Barbie (23 percent) reigns for the second consecutive year among those buying for girls, followed by traditional dolls (12 percent), Shopkins (5 percent), Hatchimals (4 percent), Legos (3 percent) and American Girl (also 3 percent).
For boys, Legos again tops the list of must-haves (15 percent), followed by cars and trucks (8 percent), video games and Hot Wheels (tied at 6 percent) and Star Wars-related items (5 percent).
The survey also found that 55.7 percent of shoppers have already started buying holiday gifts, the second-highest level in the history of the survey, down slightly from the record 56.6 percent at the same time last year. Only 3 percent of those surveyed said they were finished shopping.
The survey shows 42 percent will give toys this holiday season.
As far as other items, clothing and accessories remain the most popular gifts this year, given by 61 percent of shoppers; 56 percent will give gift cards. Nearly half of shoppers, 44 percent, will give books, CDs, DVDs, videos or video games, 31 percent food or candy and 30 percent will give electronics.
“With more promotions to come, shoppers will have ample opportunities this holiday season to seek out the perfect presents — either for themselves or for others,” Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow said. “The popularity of gift cards makes them an easy choice, but many consumers will still search online and in store, browse ad circulars and even login to Facebook to find inspiration for unique and memorable gifts for their loved ones.”
The survey, which asked 7,206 consumers about holiday shopping plans, was conducted November 1 to 8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.