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…

 
 

Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?


Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: “I like shopping at Trader Joe’s, because it’s a fun alternative to the usual chain supermarkets to pick up specialty items that are tasty.”—Male, 33, MD

This year’s Olympics will be the most social yet—thanks to the digital generation. According to a study, Facebook will be the leading platform adults use converse during the event, but 35% of 18-24-year-olds and 19% of 25-34-year-olds plan to use Snapchat to share Olympic content. Compared to other age groups, Millennials will be two times more interested in human-interest stories and meme-worthy moments during the event. (Business Wire

Promposals aren't just a viral trend, they are now the most expensive prom cost for some. A study by Visa Inc. has found that an American household spends an average of $324 on promposing, and parents are increasingly footing the bill: In 2015, parents paid for up to 73% in of prom costs, up from 56% in 2014. Companies like The Heart Bandits are cashing in on the trend by charging upwards of $1000 to plan promposals, and brands are as well: Men’s Wearhouse Inc. declared March 11th promposal day on social media to sell tuxes for the occasion. (Bloomberg

Gap Inc. has launched a new athleisure line for children ages six to 14, bringing the high-fashion workout trend to the pre-teen set. Athleta Girl, an extension of the activewear brand Athleta, is categorized by activities like “run,” ”yoga and studio,” and “swim.” According to the fitness brand, the label was in demand: “A girls’ line is something our customers have been asking for. Girls today want to dress sporty. They are living more active lives.” Marketing and design for the line is leaning on girl power, with graphic tees showing off slogans like "Dream crazy big." (JezebelRacked)

As esports continues to grow, brands are figuring out to how to tap into the potential marketing goldmine. This year the global esports market will make $463 million, and will reportedly rake in $1.1 billion in 2019. Brands have begun sponsoring teams by adding their logos to players’ jerseys or hats, but they could potentially expand to leagues in the future. The key to effective branding will be “genuinely offering something new or valuable to the audience.” (VentureBeat)  

Can a brand create online influencers? In an approach that could be described as “reverse influencer marketing,” Mars is attempting to revive the classic candy bar 3 Musketeers with young consumers through a digital-only campaign featuring the “Musketeens”—three unknowns they want to turn into YouTube stars. The teens look and act like established YouTube influencers, and have been able to garner 400,000 video views. But the response has been split, with a large portion of users calling out the videos as annoying ads. (Digiday

Quote of the Day: “I consider luxury items as something that is nice to have, but that I can also live without.”—Female, 23, FL

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies