It is hard to predict consumer buying habits months in advance, but in the toy industry those habits are often greatly influenced by the products that are produced and the marketing that goes along with them. Therefore the toy manufacturers themselves drive the trends that consumers ultimately follow. Of course there are other factors such as word of mouth and viralism that turn otherwise average toys into blockbusters, and vice versa. But to get a view of the year to come it does not take rocket science to simply review what the toy manufacturers themselves are saying.
The zombie theme in the entertainment industry has been growing for years now. Both movies and television shows, most recently The Walking Dead, have propelled zombies past vampires in popularity. Horror-related movies and shows also feed into this subculture. So it is no surprise that zombie-related toys are going to be big sellers this year.
The toys in this category will include zombie-related variations and accessories of existing toy lines (e.g. dolls), and also games and toys geared directly to this category.
It seems that parents are always looking back to the toys and games of their younger years. They hate seeing the old favorites disappear, never to be seen again. They also don't care for the high-tech nature of today's toys and want to capture some of the low-tech goodness of days gone past. Children these days are often obsessed with their digital gadgets and computers, and parents want to interrupt that obsession by exposing them to toys and games that promote education, creativity, and simple fun.
In this category look for old-school family games to make a return, as well as low-tech classic toys that promote classic play patterns.
RC toys are going to grow into a huge toy segment in coming years. In years past simple RC toys always held their own in the toy world, but today's (and tomorrow's) more advanced RC gadgets such as quadcopters offer a different kind of fun that involves more than just driving a small car up and down the driveway. Many parents are more tech savvy these days, and they also will want to explore this new generation of toys.
In addition existing RC toys are becoming enhanced with added features such as shooting projectiles.
Big, Big, Big
Bigger is better, right. Apparently that goes the same for toys. Another toy trend this year is the super-sizing of everything from plush toys to RC toys to building sets. This trend is seen to offset the micro-sizing of many toys in recent years.
Finally, many toys will feature customization features this year. For example action figures will have options to swap out accessories, move and remove limbs, as well as different colors. This is in an effort to leverage the ever-increasing desire for children to have more control over their play experience (and therefore have more FUN), as well as parents wanting to replace passive play with more (inter)active play. Children's imagination is enhanced by giving them an avenue to turn that imagination into action.
In conclusion keep your eye on what you find in the toy stores this year. The toy companies have specific changes that you may want to take advantage of.
Find more information on hot toys and toy trends on http://hottoyguide.info.
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