Here’s what will be filling Santa’s bag this season.

License Global

December 16, 2021

3 Min Read
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License Global

Toys are virtually synonymous with Christmas; Santa brings toys to all the good little girls and boys. Yet, as with all things in an ongoing pandemic, consumer trends regarding holiday toy sales are difficult to predict. When holiday shopping began in earnest around Black Friday, the Adobe Index reported that toys were among the categories that saw some of highest online spending. Toys were up 954% over pre-holiday levels of September, books were up 671% and video games were up 648%. (Source: Forbes). Digital Commerce 360 projects that online toys sales from the top toy-focused retailers will increase 19.5% year-over-year in 2021.  

License Global encouraged readers in early November to start Christmas shopping early, partly due to supply chain issues. The NRF says there are still some toys stuck on boats or just in short supply. Retailers did stock holiday merchandise earlier to try to help mitigate the impact of the supply chain issues. But with fewer than two weeks until Christmas, shoppers should get those gifts now before it really is too late.   

New York Magazine has released a list of toys moving especially fast that consumers should plan to buy before they sell out, including “Rainbow High” dolls, “Ada Twist” toys, “Bluey” plush, “Batman” playsets and all things “Pokémon.”  

If you’re not sure what to buy that nice-not-naughty kid on your gift list, several retailers have released their lists of the hot holiday toys and the NRF has broken them down by gender. For boys, the list includes LEGOs, Hot Wheels, PlayStation, Nerf, Paw Patrol, Xbox and Pokémon. Girls also want LEGOs, but dolls feature prominently, especially Barbie, LOL Dolls, American Girl Dolls and Disney Princess. Gaming girls are looking at the Nintendo Switch. 

During its third quarter earnings call, Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer, Macy’s, explained that toys and games are helping to fill the gap on “occasion-based” shopping opportunities that Macy’s has missed in recent years. Macy’s has already launched an online Toys ’R’ Us store just in time for the holiday season and plans to roll out Toys ’R’ Us shop-in-shops in 400 Macy's department stores over the next year.  

According to Macy’s, this year’s must-have toys are: 

  • Jenga GIANT Puzzle Game 

  • “PAW Patrol” Marshall Transforming Vehicle 

  • Barbie Color Reveal Holiday Party Set 

  • Beyblade Burst Speedstorm Battle Set 

  • Razor A5 Kick Scooter 

  • Discovery Mindblown Toy Kids Model Engine Kit 

  • Melissa & Doug Pizza Counter 

  • LeapFrog 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch 

Walmart’s top-rated toys list features character-driven toys including “PAW Patrol,” “Spirit” and “Star Wars.” Top brands like LEGO, Nerf and Barbie also rank high. Plenty of licensed toys are being eyed by kids of all ages, including Lego Marvel “Avengers,” Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Jurassic Park” play sets. 

Amazon’s Toys We Love list is longer than Santa’s naughty list, but it includes gifts for all ages and across all price points. Shoppers can find plenty of Funko POP! figures, LEGO sets, dolls and Amazon exclusives like Disney Princess Dress-Up Trunks, a Monopoly Junior Dinosaur Edition Board Game and National Geographic Science Kits. 

Target’s list is also rather extensive, featuring the 50 most-wished-for gifts for kids. No surprise to see some of the top licensed toys leading this list. “Jurassic Park,” Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Bluey,” “Peppa Pig” and of course, Grogu from “The Mandalorian” are all high on Target’s list. 

As LG reported earlier, more people than ever have already begun, if not completed their holiday shopping – many of them shopping from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. For those who still have gifts left to get, there’s still Super Saturday. According to the annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics, more than 148 million consumers plan to shop in-store and online on the last Saturday before Christmas this year (Source: NRF). 



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License Global

License Global is the leading news source for the brand licensing industry, delivering award-winning editorial content including news, trends, analysis, and special reports about the global consumer product and retail marketplace.

Through its print edition, website, daily e-newsletter and event publications, License Global reaches more than 150,000 executives and professionals in all major markets. The magazine also serves as the official publication for the sector’s trade events, which include Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe, Licensing Expo Japan, Licensing Expo Shanghai and the Licensing Leadership Summit.

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