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Surveys: Youth Covets Tech Toys for Xmas

28 Nov, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone but most children and Gen Y (ages 13 to 28) continue to polish Christmas wish lists top heavy with electronic gadgets, according to new retail surveys.

About 46% of Gen Y respondents put tech-related items at the top of their gift lists, with 12.5% of respondents identifying an Apple iPod or iPod accessory as their most desired gift, according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) in New York.

“Gen Yers typically engage in a variety of media at one time,” said Mike Gatti, executive director of RAMA. “As a result, Gen Y usually knows about the next big thing before it even hits the stores.”

Weekly Reader Research, a Philadelphia-based data firm that tracks retail interests from more than 3,000 kids between the ages of 5 and 18, found that video game consoles (13.9%), MP3 players (11.7%) and handheld game systems (4.7%) topped respondents' Christmas lists.

Movie DVDs and cell phones rated tops among 1.5% of respondents — half a percentage point above music CDs and iTunes gift cards at 1%.

When asked which of the new video game systems they most wanted for Christmas, 40.3% of all respondents said they preferred the Sony PlayStation 3 system compared to 25.4% for Xbox 360 and 21.6% for Nintendo's Wii.

Almost half (47.6%) of boys preferred PlayStation, compared to about a third (32.6%) of girls. Meanwhile, 27.8% of boys (22.9% of girls) opted for Xbox and 21.8% of girls (21.4% of boys) liked Wii.

Mike Fassino, director of research at Weekly Reader, said interest in electronics and video games among kids and teens has always been high but skyrocketed this year due to the simultaneous release of two new game systems.

He said the fact that the new systems were home entertainment systems versus just gaming systems had help usher in new devotees.

Analysts believe that entertainment budgets among young girls have risen to the point that previously considered ancillary interests such as video games are receiving more attention compared to arts and crafts fare.

Fassino said the influx of young girls in gaming has resulted in the release of software titles across all systems based on ballet and dancing niches beyond the TV dance shows.

“Particularly with Wii, we see a lot of movement of girls towards it,” Fassino said. “And girls have notoriously not been gamers.”

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