Consumer Corner: iPads, tablets among top toys for 2013

MICHELLE GROENKE, United Press International
2008 file photo (UPI Photo/Eco Clement)
2008 file photo (UPI Photo/Eco Clement) | License Photo

Here's hoping Santa gets a big Christmas bonus this year to cover the cost of the tech toys that are topping holiday wish lists this year.

The Harris Poll says half of Americans plan on purchasing toys as gifts this holiday season, down from 52 percent last year.


"Judging by what parents will be purchasing, half of kids will be unwrapping games for consoles," The Harris Poll said. Children's books, board games, building blocks, art supplies, dolls and handheld electronic games are also expected to be popular purchases.

The National Retail Federation has said cautious consumers are expected to spend about 2 percent less on holiday items such as gifts, decor and greeting cards than they did last year.

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It appears, however, the toy budget is going to need a boost to cover the cost of some of the items on the top of kids' wishlists.

The NRF's 2013 Top Toys survey, conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics among adults at least 18 years of age, found it isn't just the grown-ups who are coveting new tablets and electronics; their kids want iPads and smartphones of their own.

The survey found iPads are the among the top gift requests made by both girls and boys, with demand among young girls being slightly higher: Girls put the trendy tablet at No. 4 and boys put it at No. 13.

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Girls are still asking for Barbie and other dolls, which came in No. 1 and No. 2 on the list while Lego, video games, toy cars and trucks, and Hot Wheels took the top spots on the boys' list. Significant updates to the just-released Xbox One and PlayStation 4 put the game systems at No. 5 and No. 6 for boys. PlayStaton 4 was No. 10 on the girls' list.

Other items on the girls' list include Monster High Dolls, Disney Princess, American Girl, Lalaloopsy, Furby, Lego, Elmo, Hello Kitty and My Little Pony.

The survey said the hot new item for boys this year is Skylanders, a popular interactive video game that comes with a toy action figure. Other top toys for boys were remote-control vehicles, action vehicles, bicycles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Barbie, Elmo and Furby also made Walmart's "Chosen by Kids" top toys list. New toys on the Walmart list include the VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Train Station Playset, Sofia the First Talking Doll, Animal Friends and the Flutterbye Flying Fairy Doll.

Barbie's Dreamhouse made the list for the fifth year in row, the retail giant said when the list was released earlier in the fall.


"Kids told us they want interactive toys as well as classic brands," Scott McCall, senior vice president of toys and seasonal items at Walmart U.S., said in a statement.

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Experian Marketing Services says the top 10 most searched-for brands and products for the four weeks that ended Nov. 9 included Uggs, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Fitbit, iPhone 5s, iPad air, Rainbow Loom, Kindle Fire HD, iPhone 5c and Call of Duty Ghosts.

Skylanders Swap Force was the most searched-for toy, followed by terms related to the rubber band bracelets that have been a huge hit with kids this fall.

For consumers looking to up the education ante on the toys they buy this year, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, an independent consumer organization, has put out a list of the Top 20 toys that foster interest in science, technology, engineering and math -- known as STEM.

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Stephanie Oppenheim said there is a new generation of toy makers with STEM-backgrounds that are encouraging kids to "play" with the language and tools of their fields.

"While a great deal of the dialogue on STEM education and jobs has focused on the gender-gap, we believe both boys and girls benefit from this type of play experience," Oppenheim said in a statement.


Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine, which made the Oppenheim list for younger children, was the No. 1 selling "toy building set" on as of Friday afternoon and was the No. 6 selling toy overall. The building game is the debut toy by GoldieBlox, a fledgling San Francisco-based toy company whose Rube Goldberg video, a Beastie Boys remake featuring young girls who say they're tired of princesses and pink plastic toys, has gone viral.

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The company was founded in 2012 by Debbie Sterling, a Stanford University engineering graduate, with an "aim to disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers" with toys that "bolster confidence in spatial skills while giving young inventors the tools they need to build and create amazing things," according to the GoldieBlox website.

The construction set, which comes equipped with 16 design ideas, is recommended for ages 4 to 9.

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