The Top Toy Trends for 2014

Santa’s got nothing on the Toy Fair. The exhibition space of the American International Toy Fair stretches over 412,000 square feet—that’s 7½ football fields filled with toys. Almost half of the toys from our pre-holiday spotlight won awards for “Toy of the Year” in various categories, with hands-on innovators Rainbow Loom and Goldieblox among the best and brightest. While digital natives are growing up with technology at the forefront of their everyday interactions, emphasis this year was not on digital play. Technology is rather being integrated into playtime as a base element for building and creating. Though the video game and toy hybrid market continues to rise, dominated by Skylanders and Disney Infinity, the biggest trends we saw coming out of the Toy Fair involved kids stepping away from screens and interacting hands-on with toys to create their own environments. Here are some of the major toy trends we picked up on:
 
#1—Super Sized Play
In the past few years, small figurines have dominated in the toy market, which has been a reflection of recession production and pricing. As the market rebounds and kids become more laissez-faire about new inventions than ever, companies are looking to “wow” them with the sheer size of toys, from life sized and beyond.
 
Product Standouts:
KidKraft Dollhouses
The interior of these life-sized homes for dolls are decorated down to the last detail, making Barbie’s Dreamhouse look like a starter home. Young girls can use their own dolls to play in the house, and competitor My Girls’ Dollhouse is just plain enormous, allowing for larger 18” dolls to fit.


 
Super Mario Kart Ride-On Vehicle
Millennial parents everywhere are wishing that they had real sized Mario Karts to ride around in instead of plastic vans. So, feeding into their…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without buying something and watching holiday movies.” –Female, 29, CA 

Yesterday news that Budweiser would be dropping their traditional Clydesdales in order to appeal to Millennials made the rounds—but the brand says not so fast. In response to the rumors, Budweiser has released their “drink responsibly” ad featuring the iconic horses “earlier than planned” and tweeted that they “aren’t going anywhere.” But they are giving the campaign a twist that could appeal to young consumers, partnering with LYFT to give holiday partiers safe rides home in Boston with the help of the Clydesdales. (Brand Channel)

The appeal of toy unboxing videos may be a mystery to some, but they’re viewed millions and millions of times on YouTube, and Disney wants a piece of that popularity. In case you’ve missed it, these videos consist of opening up toys and talking about what’s in them. The brand’s Maker Studios has signed five toy unboxing digital stars, including HobbyKidsTV, DisneyCarToys, and ToyReviewToys. However, the most popular unboxing channel, DC Toys Collector, who generated 104 million views last week, was not included. (Recode)

Totino’s is continuing their weird, weird marketing campaign to appeal to young consumers’ absurdist humor. In a follow up to “the oddest pizza ad ever,” the brand has taken a BuzzFeed post called "50 Completely Unexplainable Stock Photos No One Will Ever Use" and turned each one into an off-the-wall bizarre ad. They’ve posted the entire collection on their site with the explanation, “We obviously had no choice but to use them. Poorly.” (Adweek)

What influences teen drinking behavior? Recent research has found that ”close friends” are far more influential than the “broader peer group” when it comes to teen alcohol use. This means the idea of  “everyone thinking that everyone else (in a whole school, say) is drinking a lot” being a reason behind drinking might not hold as much water. (NYMag)

The next-generation is growing up hyper-monitored from the cradle, but it’s possible that the high tech baby monitors that have become more and more common don’t actually offer benefits. Onesies and other items that track babies heartbeats and body metrics might be offering parents “false reassurance,” as they haven’t been proven to work. However, makers of those products say that new parents are buying them not to combat specific health issues but for peace of mind. (Mashable)

The Ypulse Back-To-School Special Report is here! The holidays might be starting, but we know retailers, marketers and brand managers are already planning for next year's big shopping seasons. To deliver a forward looking perspective, we surveyed high school and college students throughout 2014, combed that data for insights, and compiled all of the must-know data into a rich BTS special report. Gold subscribers can access the full report and data in the My Documents section of Ypulse.com. One-off pricing for this report is $1,250, contact us here. (Ypulse)

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