Spielwarenmesse: Hot holiday toy sellers 2018 in the US

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Hot holiday toy sellers 2018 in the US

from Reyne Rice

This Holiday Season 2018 is certainly shaping up to be an interesting one across both, North America and many international markets. Retailers are devoting more shelf space than ever to toys. Here are just a few hot toy categories that are the toy hot sellers in the 4th quarter 2018.

LOL Surprise Eye Spy Series
LOL Surprise Eye Spy Series by MGA Entertainment

LOL Surprise toys, across multiple segments, are still causing quite the frenzy at retail. When they hit shelves, they are scooped up quickly, by adoring fans, and early Holiday shoppers. The L.O.L. Surprise House is already sold out in many global locations, with the $170-$190 product selling at 2 to 3 times that price on eBay.

New squishable and tactile toys continue to be hot-sellers, including all of the varieties of slime, dough-like compounds of all colors and iterations are currently available, including neon, glitter, glow-in-the-dark, magnetic, and more. Slow-rise soft squishables and slow-rise plush toys include brands such as: Squishables (Squishables, USA) , Rainbocorns (Zuru, New Zealand)), Soft N Slo Squishies (Orb, Canada), Smooshy Mushy (Redwood Ventures, USA), and Squish-Dee-Lish (Shopkins brand, Moose Toys, Australia).

Unicorns, sloths, llamas, hedgehogs and narwals are new creatures of choice.

ZURU Rainbocorns Unicorn
Plush RainbowCorn by ZURU are full of surprises.

Unicorns, sloths, llamas, hedgehogs and narwals are new creatures of choice. Newer fabrics and materials offer tactile sequin-changing plush, squishable play and surprise-inside-toys. Blind packaged brands delight boys and girls, although across different spectrums.  For some collectors, there are shimmery, glittery, winged, sequined and rainbow-colored versions of plush and blind bag collectibles. And then there are the potty humor trending collectible products, tied to poop emojis, slimy, gross and disgusting versions of collectibles that appeal more to an irreverent or off-color sense of humor. All co-exist on the collectible shelves, until they are scooped up by kids’ using their pocket money.

Scruff-A-Luvs (Moose Toys, Australia) are appealing to boys and girls who want a pet. The unique reveal play pattern for adopting a rescued pet is selling well with parents and gift-givers who are looking for innovative and interactive products to delight kids, and to keep them entertained and engaged. On the other hand, more diverse plush such as Fugglers (Spin Master, Canada) and Feisty Toys (WMC Toys, USA) appeal to tweens and others with a sense of humor, versus a nurturing instinct.

Most species of dinosaurs are on the rise, following the popularity of the latest Jurassic World movie. Dragons are on the horizon, teasing the next How to Train Your Dragons theater release in 2019, and following the Game of Thrones popularity.  Expect more in 2019. Lots more amazing creatures.

Hogwarts‘ castle built with Lego bricks.
Harry Potter fans can built the Hogwarts’ castle with Lego bricks.

Other winged creatures, Fantastical Beasts themes, and Harry Potter themed products are hard-to-find on shelves as kids conjure up wand spells and magical sorcery with Harry Potter Coding wands (Kano, USA) Jakks Pacific wand selections (Jakks Pacific, USA) and Wow-Stuff spell-inducing wands. Kids are also perfecting their magic skills with the Harry Potter Mystery Flying Golden Snitch (WowStuff, UK), and gathering characters with Funko action-themed collectible figures (Funko, USA) or constructing their favorite Hogwarts Castles or Hogwarts Great Halls, with deluxe LEGO replica building sets, complete with themed mini-figures. Even the new just-released Fantastical Beasts movie: The Crimes of Grindelwald, has a new set of dedicated LEGO mini-figure blind packs (LEGO, Denmark).

The popularity of nostalgia, video game licensed characters and gamer franchises are fueling sales of Nintendo Labo, and Nintendo Switch, Mario Bros video games and licensed products, Pokemon plush and interactive pets, licensed FUNKO action figure collectibles, and Zelda and Spyro merchandise.

Board game Cluedo as farcial copy.
Hasbro relaunches their board games classics as farcical copies.

Gaming for adults as social games: Fortnite Monopoly (Hasbro, USA), for ages 13+, is in short supply, as are many social games for adults such as Relative Insanity (Play Monster, USA) and farcical copies of classic Hasbro games, selling exclusively at Target this holiday season, re-invented as:

  • Game of Life: Quarter Life Crisis Parody Edition,
  • Clue: What Happened Last Night? Lost in Vegas Parody Edition,
  • Mystery Date: Catfished, Parody Edition,
  • Botched Operation, Parody Edition
  • Sorry! Not Sorry! Parody Edition,

All of these re-invented versions of iconic games are designed with an edgy appeal, for players aged 12+.  Secrets are confessed, risks are taken, and stories are revealed by players, all in twisted new versions of these once classical children’s games. They appeal to millennials, who remember the tamer versions, from their childhood memories.


Visit the Toy Business Forum at the Spielwarenmesse® 2019. Reyne Rice shares a whirlwind view of the newest trends and products found across the toys, games and technology spectrum, as we enter 2019, and beyond. Listen to her at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 30 January 2019. Read the complete program of the Toy Business Forum.

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