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Holiday Toy Mania Overlaps Home Video

22 Oct, 2002 By: Hive News

Mattel's Barbie as Rapunzel doll, complete with footlong tresses, will be this year's must-have gift for girls, according to a survey of toy industry retailers released today.

“Barbie, which first hit store shelves more than 40 years ago, remains a hot commodity among young girls, who love the doll's themed incarnations, and their moms, who are attracted to Barbie's classic appeal,” according to PlayDate Inc., an independent marketing services firm that produces the premier media event showcasing the Holiday season's hottest toys, board games, collectibles, video games and PC games.

Results from PlayDate's exclusive annual survey of mass market and specialty toy and game retailers predicting 2002's hottest Holiday gifts show that Santa will also deliver plenty of video games, interactive toys and products featuring popular licenses, often toys with companion videos.

Other No.1 toys and games from the retailer survey include PlayStation 2 (bestselling video game hardware), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (bestselling video game software), The Sims Online (bestselling PC game), Yu-Gi-Oh trading cards (bestselling collectible), the LeapPad Learning System (bestselling toy in specialty stores), Cranium Cariboo (bestselling board game) and Dora the Explorer (bestselling brand family).

"Barbie again proves to be a great evergreen gift," said Sean McGowan, toy industry analyst with Gerard Klauer Mattison and co-founder of PlayDate Inc. "But a lot of what's under the tree this year is changing. More and more, parents are focusing on educational products, like LeapPad, or PC games like Dora the Explorer. Yet advanced technology is making video games more popular than ever, and the latest editions of Grand Theft Auto, Tony Hawk and WWE: Smackdown will be most in demand. On the console front, PlayStation 2 is still the dominant leader, with Nintendo's Game Boy Advance the uncontested portable unit of choice."

McGowan added, "The country is still experiencing 'cocooning' -- when families choose to stay home together -- which has led to a surge in the popularity of new-fangled games, such as Cranium, as well as classics like Monopoly and Risk, even if they've been modified with the hottest licenses, like Spider-Man and Lord of The Rings."

Video game software is expected to experience its best holiday sales season ever this year. The spring 2002 price drop on video game consoles from all three manufacturers -- Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Nintendo of America and Microsoft -- will help video gaming go mainstream this year. Expanding the entertainment value are online capabilities for console play and the continuous introduction of new titles that offer something for everyone. The PC category will also benefit from increased interest in youth-oriented licenses like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Retailers polled by PlayDate expect Dora The Explorer to be the most successful toy license for Holiday 2002. Like other popular television licenses, including SpongeBob SquarePants and Thomas The Tank Engine, the product line for Dora ranges from dolls to PC games to card games.

Blockbuster movies will also be popular, especially Spider-Man and Star Wars.

Finally, the brand power of both LeapFrog and LEGO have made these two companies expected best sellers across multiple product categories.

More than two dozen retailers participated in the 2002 PlayDate retailer survey, including Sears, KB Toys, Toys "R" Us, FAO, eToys, Electronics Boutique, Gamestop, Imaginarium and numerous specialty stores.

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