Friday, December 17, 2010

Lamest Year Yet for Kids Holiday Shopping

Presents!! Who wants presents? Everyone, right? All year long, my kids beg for stuff they see on TV, whine while I whisk them past the toy aisle at Target and pour through catalogs, circling their coveted items with red crayon. My canned response for 11 months out of the year has always been: “put it on your Christmas list.” Well, the time has come. What do they want to see under the tree? Not much.

It’s not they don’t want stuff, it’s just that there’s not much of anything that they are excited about. And as a parent and a children’s marketer, I have to agree. In terms of kids products, this just may be the lamest year yet.

I challenge you: name one hot toy for December 2010. The gotta-have item of the year. Something –anything-- that causes you to drive out of your way or engage in an online bidding war. The one thing that your child just can’t live without.

Yeah, I couldn’t think of anything either. Apparently, neither can my kids.

Back in October, the National Retail Federation issued their top 10 retail holiday trends, one of them being “Kids today are a walking contradiction” though they were referring more to Gen Y habits, not parental spending. Earlier, in July, an NPD study found that spending for young kids is on the decline. And the day before Black Friday, Kidscreen cited more NPD research on 2010 holiday trends.

"Among parents asked what's on their child's holiday wish list, 34% said toys, 15% answered video games, 9% said consumer electronics (with laptops and iPod Touch devices being the most popular), 7% said clothing and 6% answered sporting goods. Other noteworthy categories include footwear, gift cards, books, entertainment and cash.

Among toys, top categories are dolls, vehicles, building sets and arts & crafts. The Top 10 properties specifically coveted are American Girl, Barbie, Disney Princess, Dora the Explorer, LEGO, Pillow Pets, Star Wars, Toy Story 3, Transformers and Zhu Zhu Pets. Within the video game category, Wii and NDS hardware systems are the most requested items, along with the Xbox 360 Kinect."

See anything on that list that you A. haven't heard of before or B. Don't already have in your home?

I asked my kids again what they want for Christmas. The 8 year-old wants socks (socks!) and the 3 year-old wants a digger truck. At least in my house, ‘tis the season for for kids who want so little. In the midst of the chaos of the holidays and the lingering angst of the recession, I'm taking time to appreciate the simple gifts, mainly the intangible ones.

How about you- what's on your wish list?

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