The NPD Group Predicts the U.S. Toy Holiday Hits of 2017

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Toy Industry Dollar Sales Grew 3 Percent Year-to-Date through September

No holiday season is complete without a mad dash by consumers to capture the most desirable toys of the year. Based on velocity, or how fast they are already flying off U.S. shelves, global information company The NPD Group has named the top 10 toys that may be hard to find closer to Christmas.

Half the list is dominated by relatively new toys launched after October 2016: Fingerlings, the Star Wars App Enabled R2-D2, and three L.O.L. Surprise! items. Among the fastest-selling existing toys, or those launched pre- October 2016, that are also poised to sell well this holiday are tried and true holiday best-sellers including the Barbie Dream House and Hot Wheels Singles. The Star Wars E7 Black Series, which debuted in 2013 and continues to unveil new releases, also lands among the top, as well as Hatchimals Pengualas (Pink) and Hovertrax 2.0 – both of which launched last year.

U.S. Fastest-Selling Toys Heading into Holiday Season, September 2017

Toy Item (Corporate Manufacturer) - Subclass
1.    L.O.L. Surprise! Doll Assortment (MGA Entertainment) - Playset Dolls & Collectibles
2.    Fingerlings Monkey Assortment (Wow Wee) - Robotic/Interactive Playmates
3.    L.O.L. Surprise! Lil Sister Assortment (MGA Entertainment) - Playset Dolls & Collectibles
4.    Barbie Dream House Playset (Mattel) - Fashion Accessories
5.    Hovertrax 2.0 (Razor) - Skates/Skateboards/Scooters
6.    Hatchimals Pengualas Pink Egg Assortment    (Spin Master) - Special Feature/Interactive Plush
7.    Hot Wheels Singles 1:64 Assortment (Mattel) - Mini Vehicles
8.    L.O.L. Surprise! Big Surprise Ball (MGA Entertainment) - Playset Dolls & Collectibles
9.    Star Wars App Enabled R2-D2 (Sphero) - Robotic/Interactive Playmates
10.    Star Wars E7 Black Series 6" Assortment (Hasbro) - Action Figures
*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, September 2017, Ranked by Velocity (Items with at least 40% weighted distribution)

“As consumers make their holiday lists, it is equally important for retailers and manufacturers to manage theirs – and these are the toys that should be on it,” said Juli Lennett, senior vice president and U.S. toys industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Looking at the toys currently gaining the most traction at retail, retailers can use this information to understand safe bets for early re-orders, and manufacturers should ensure that retailers are keeping these items top of mind.”

Looking at the most productive toys, it is a mixed bag of lower and higher priced items across categories. As more activity typically takes place within the higher price-points getting closer to the holiday season, overall it was lower-priced toys that drove year-to-date growth through September 2017. While the industry grew its dollar sales by 3 percent in the first nine months of the year, unit sales grew by 4 percent. Sales of toys priced under $5 increased by 7 percent, and represented about one-third of the total toy industry dollar gains.

Despite running the risk of a sell-out situation, many consumers may still, nevertheless, wait until the week before Christmas to shop, as they did last holiday season, in anticipation for better bargains. This is especially likely this year because there is more time to wait; with Christmas falling on a Monday, there is a full weekend directly before it to shop.

“I believe we will see aggressive pre-Black Friday toy promotions at retail, more so this year than last and amplified by the current retail environment,” said Lennett. “Getting shoppers in stores earlier and shopping more frequently will be the key to success for the toy industry this year.”

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, January-September 2017

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Marissa Guyduy
The NPD Group
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