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: “There are so many places I would love to go! I’ve never been to Greece. I would like to go with some close friends and just take in the local culture and food and relax.” –Female, 30, IN

According to Ypulse’s May monthly survey, 41% of 13-32-year-olds regularly use Spotify to listen to music. But the app wants to be their one-stop-entertainment shop, and has just added video and podcasts to the platform. Media partners, including Slate, BBC, Conde Nast, and Adult Swim, will offer clips of video content to be streamed by users. The move puts Spotify in the ranks of other social platforms “determined to become everything to everyone.” (TechCrunchWired)

While some social media giants (Facebook, Snapchat, and now Spotify) want to be young consumers' portal for all media, others are becoming more and more focused on single functions. New apps Catchpool and This. (with a period) allow users to post only one thing each day, pushing only “high-quality content” into feeds. The approach gets rid of overwhelming social clutter in favor of those things users are most passionate about. (Fast Company)

Pizza Hut is the latest brand to use selfies in marketing—but they’re taking a slightly different approach. Their new two foot pizzas are too big to be captured in a regular selfie, so the chain has created a selfie stick parody PSA, warning against the “dangers of selfie stick abuse.” Branding in the video is purposefully secondary to the entertainment, but the spot does walk a fine line between winkingly acknowledging customers’ behavior, and making fun of them for it. (Adweek)

We’ve told you that Millennials are embracing wine, and that big beer is struggling to win over the new generation of drinkers. Morgan Stanley Research has found the number of Millennials who say beer is their favorite alcoholic drink actually fell over 5% since 2012. In response, we’ve seen beer brands roll out new products, flavors, and campaigns attempting to provide new exciting beverage options for these potential industry killers. (Business Insider)

American Eagle is hoping their new label will help them to win back teens. The brand, Don’t Ask Why, follows the recently popular trends of “soft dressing, restricted sizing, [and] a California aesthetic.” Those qualities make it very similar to the Brandy Melville brand, which has had a lot of success with young female shoppers. Don’t Ask Why is being used to test and experiment with concepts that could be applied to AE products if successful. (Racked)

What if you could collect all the young consumer insights, data, and news most relevant to you in one easily accessed spot? Oh wait, you can! On Ypulse.com, Bronze, Silver and Gold subscribers can click on the star icons next to any insight article or news feed item to immediately store them in the Library tab, creating a repository of relevant information—curated by you. (Ypulse)

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