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Hottest Toys This Year Have video Tie-Ins

21 Oct, 2002 By: Hive News

While many analysts expect overall sales of traditional toys to be flat this year, there is some positive news for the $25 billion industry according to market analysts firm NPDFunworld.

Sales from January through August show some hot-growth toy categories, brands and licenses, many of which present opportunities for cross marketing home video titles.

Hot new growth categories include card games, action figures, building sets, dolls and special feature plush. In 2002, these top categories reflect the increased upward growth of licensed products, fueled by hot movies and nostalgic properties.

Star Wars items by Hasbro and Lego, and Spider-Man products by ToyBiz drove first-half licensed product sales growth in action figures and building sets. MGA Entertainment's Bratz dolls stole the top three spots in the doll category in August 2002 with three items: Bratz Assortment, Bratz Funk N Glow Assortment and Bratz Boyz Assortment. Mattel's Barbie as Rapunzel introduced in June is climbing the charts. Fisher-Price's Chicken Dance Elmo, the number one plush toy in July and August, is expected to be another must-have product during the 2002 holiday shopping season.

Licensed products have been popular this year, accounting for 25 percent of all first half 2002 sales. Seven of the top 10 bestselling toys introduced in 2002 are licensed products, with five Star Wars items ranking in the top 10.

"Star Wars is an excellent example of a license which appeals to both the younger and older collectors. We can expect to see more adult collectors sharing nostalgic trends with their children and adding a few prime pieces to their own collections," said Reyne Rice, director of marketing and communications, NPDFunworld. "An interesting twist in the market place is everything that is old is new again.”

Most of this year's top growth licenses have been around for more than 10 years: Star Wars, Spider-Man, Scooby Doo, Batman, Barbie, Power Rangers and NASCAR. All of those franchises have home video products. Second half 2002 re-introductions of 20-year-old franchises like Masters of the Universe, Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake will continue to develop the trend, according to NPD.

The emerging license, Yu-Gi-Oh!, based on the anime franchise, is gaining momentum in the U.S. and will be a top choice for kids' gifts this holiday season. The Yu-Gi-Oh! Metal Raiders card game introduced in June has already secured the number six spot on the list of top 10 toys introduced this year.

Yu-Gi-Oh!, is predicted to equal or surpass the Pokemon craze among kids, with tweens as the primary target audience. Yu-Gi-Oh! was ranked 144th among top licensed properties in the U.S. in April and by July, it had skyrocketed to the number five top licensed property for the month.

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