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: “If I played the lottery tomorrow and won $100,000,000 I would save most of it, donate some of it. And I'd buy my dad a boat, because I promised I'd buy him one if I was ever a millionaire.” –Female, 15, WA

This week, celebrity Photoshopping was debated online when fans criticized Beyoncé for posting an Instagram picture that looked altered to make her look slimmer. The star (and others) have been accused of using Photoshop or other image-fixing apps on social media photos before, a practice that many feel contributes to young female fans’ body issues, and does not align with the imperfection embracing and authenticity that so many young consumers expect. (BuzzFeed)

The Cartoon Network has launched an anti-bullying campaign called “I Speak Up” to encourage kids who have been bullied to reach out to trusted adults. Viewers are being encouraged to submit videos (with the permission of their parent or guardian) to share the anti-bullying message, and some of those videos will be featured in the campaign online and on TV. Visitors to the Speak Up website can also take a pledge to stop bullying, and earn special badges while playing Cartoon Network games. (PR Newser)

Young consumers are screen multitaskers, and second screen use while watching TV is a norm—but it’s not always clear to brands how they should engage in that behavior, and just throwing a hashtag on the screen isn’t going to cut it. Now Twitter says that studios and networks that live-tweet their popular programming (post and respond to viewers while the show is happening) can “dramatically boost followers and Twitter mentions” and even bump up TV ratings. (Recode)

YouTube is coming to the big screen. The digital comedy duo who create SMOSH, a channel with 30 million subscribers, has created a movie that will be distributed by Lionsgate. The movie is being described as a “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventurefor 2014” and will star a slew of other YouTube stars. The news is another example of traditional media embracing YouTube to entice young consumers, and the mainstreaming of the site’s stars. (Fast Company)

New research has found that across all grade levels and subjects, girls get better grades than male students—around the globe. The results have caused some to wonder if schools are “set up to favor the way girls learn and trip up boys.” Male students might be less able to self-discipline themselves, a key ingredient to doing well in classes, which means that the way education is structured plays into their weaknesses. (The Atlantic

Have some lingering questions about Millennials that you need answered for an upcoming meeting? That’s what Ypulse is here for. Silver and Gold subscribers have access to Ypulse's trend and Millennial experts for quick, personalized feedback on any topic. After each insights article, subscribers can submit questions and requests directly to our experts and receive instant responses. (Ypulse)

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