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Holiday Must-Haves: The 3 Products Pre-Teens, Teens, and Millennials Want

This holiday season, young consumers are creating a frenzy around three very different, highly in-demand products…

Blame Tickle Me Elmo. Every year, there are major predictions, including our own, around what will be the hottest items for the holidays, with forecasters and parents alike comparing every potential craze to that infamous year shoppers lined up around the block at 5 a.m. to get their laughing red Muppet. While few products since have caused the same levels of mania, there is always something that fills the role of the must-have item of the year. In 2015, pre-teens went crazy for Shopkins and teens wanted hoverboards (whether they exploded or not), but nothing caused consumers to lose sleep or line up in droves. But this holiday season, we’re seeing frenzy building around three products that pre-teens, teens, and Millennials are each clamoring for. Here are the items that are selling-out, or re-selling like crazy, thanks to high-demand from young consumers:


Have you heard of Hatchimals? If you know a pre-teen, the odds are you are answering “yes!” For those in the dark, these “Magical Creatures” come in an egg, with the question “Who will you hatch?” on the packaging. Patient kids wait 10-40 minutes for their new friend to break out of the egg from the inside—each hatching experience is unique, and kids don’t know which creature they’ve purchased until it’s hatched. Once out, their creatures move and play, even progressing through three growth stages that kids can supervise. The tech-forward playthings are on track to becoming THE toy of holidays 2016, and one toy expert tells CNBC, “For the last four years, there has been nothing comparable to the instant sales success within weeks of launch as Hatchimals.” The product line is selling out everywhere, and demand is only increasing. Parent company Spin Master reports, “The demand has definitely caught us by surprise, and the team is working very hard to keep up with it. We’ve been dealing with the factories to increase production, expedite shipments and now we’re actually air-freighting products into stores…something like this happens once every 10 years.” Of course, as with every hit product, the re-sales are also contributing to the craze. Hatchimals are selling (probably to desperate parents) for up to $1000 on eBay right now.


We’re presenting this holiday product craze with one big caveat: when we asked teens what’s on their holiday wishlist this year, money/gift cards made it to the top, with 33% saying that’s what they want the most. That said, there is one item made for teens that’s building up a wild amount of demand just in time for the holidays: Snapchat’s Spectacles. But this is no straight-forward sell. Snapchat’s video wearable was introduced in September when they announced that the brightly colored (more stylish than Google Glass) product would be coming soon. A survey by Business Insider found that 31% of Millennials were interested in purchasing the $130 glasses, suggesting a demand for 3 million Spectacles this year. But it soon became clear that these special shades would be hard-to-get: the company decided to take a “slow approach” to distribution, planning to offer only a limited amount of product at launch. And limited it is. Spectacles are available only through Snapbots—vending machines that appear for one day only in locations revealed 24 hours in advance through an online map. Four Snapbots have been placed so far, prompting massive lines of young consumers dying to get a pair. But for those outside the west-coast areas that vending machines have appeared, the online re-sale market is booming. Spectacles are selling on eBay for hundreds, and in some cases thousands of dollars.


Back in July, we predicted that Nintendo might win the holidays with nostalgia, and it looks like it just might be the case. Shortly after the Pokémon app become an international sensation, Nintendo announced that they would be continuing their Millennial-nostalgia-baiting train with the relaunch of their classic NES gaming system. The old-school system has been shrunk down, and comes pre-loaded with 30 retro games—including the beloved The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros.—all for just $59.95. (Need to blow cartridges no longer included.) Millennials immediately began buzzing about wanting the console reboot, and the months of waiting didn’t dim their enthusiasm. The NES Classic was released last week, and according to Forbes, sold out “within moments.” While multiple retailers are promising restocks, and the brand is promising it’s working hard to produce more, Walmart is selling the console in daily flash sales that last just a minute all this week. And if Millennials luck out there, the NES is being sold by plenty of opportunists on, you guessed it, eBay.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.