Parents seek holiday toys with long-term appeal
By Dhanya Skariachan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Toy companies trying to win over choosy U.S. shoppers are under more pressure than ever to offer parents something their children will play with after Christmas, according to two industry veterans.
"With the economy the way it is, they are still going to spend on their kids," said TimetoPlayMag.com Editor-in-Chief Jim Silver, "but they are horrified of buying a toy, spending $50, and having it tossed in the closet after 10 minutes."
Silver and Christopher Byrne, the website's content director, have been compiling a list of hot toys for about a decade.
Their closely watched "Most Wanted" list released on Tuesday mostly features playthings that they believe can hold a child's attention. Items range from iStar Entertainment's $10 yo-yo like FyrFlyz toy that lets kids put on a light show to a $100 learning tablet "LeapPad Explorer" by LeapFrog Enterprises.
"Parents want value, and value can come at $10 or a $100," Silver told Reuters, adding that toy companies are increasingly offering marquee brands at a wide range of prices to win shoppers at the high and low ends.
Many are also using technology to boost the perceived value of a toy.
For instance, Spinmaster put 3-D graphics and animation on the trading cards in its Redakai game, while a stunt car by Canada's Thinkway Toys is powered by light. Both made it to the top toy list.
The list, compiled for the website www.TimetoPlayMag.com, gets close scrutiny from executives and analysts ahead of the holiday shopping season, when some toy companies make about a third of their annual sales. Continued...