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2019 Kids Holiday Wishes

Mary McIlrath

This year, much like 2018, marked continuous evolution, even upheaval, in retail environments for youth.  In the summer, Amazon once again hosted Prime Days, also known as “Black Friday in July,” which accelerated the Back-to-School Shopping season.  Other top retailers, such as Target, Walmart, and 200 other companies, jumped on the bandwagon with some offering up to a week’s worth of bargains. In the fall, Gamestop announced the closing of upwards of 200 stores.  And while Toys ‘R Us announced plans to open a few flagship stores by the end of 2020, they’re unlikely to reverse the flood of young consumers and parents who are relying more and more on online shopping and purchasing.

That said, the holidays approach.  Thanksgiving is as late as possible this year, shortening the shopping season by six days from last year—an eternity for retailers who depend on each day of spending.  Still, shoppers are again expected to spend over $1 Trillion on gifts this year in the U.S.*

Without abundant brick and mortar options for finding and trying out new toys, what are kids supposed to do to figure out what to ask for, and how are parents meant to shop?!?  We’ve got you covered.  Kids can visit Walmart’s Interactive Toy Lab to “test out” toys and create hints for their folks (though who are we kidding, everyone knows it’s Santa who checks the lists).

For the first time in our Holiday Wish List survey, we asked kids to choose which of 21 toys they’d like to receive after we let them tell us what they want top-of-mind.  We culled our list from the Toy Insider, Amazon’s Top 100, and submissions from panelists in our ParentSpeak community.  Interactive transportation action is where it’s at for boys, with the Monster Jam Mega Grave Digger RC (Remote Control) Truck and Mattel’s app-enabled Hot Wheels id the most-desired toys.  For girls, it’s all about doll play and arts + crafts.  Girls would be happy with an LOL Surprise! Toy, a Barbie Dreamplane, or Crayola Scribble Scrubbie Pets or Color Chemistry set.  Plus, stuffed animals (think Myla the Magical Unicorn from VTech or a trip to Build-A-Bear Workshop) grew significantly in popularity over last year in the unaided wishes.

Lots of gifts were popular but didn’t quite make the Top 5 for kids, tweens, or teens.  Other good choices that are sure to please are Apple Airpods, smartwatches, virtual reality devices, and a good old-fashioned bicycle (not a surprise if you noticed the uptick in our YouthBeat® data in youth’s interest in cycling this year). 

Gift cards remain a popular item for tweens and teens—and they’re never scratchy or ill-fitting.  Aside from the usual suspects (Amazon and Visa), gaming options are popular (sorry, boys, about the Gamestop locations who have shut their doors).  Kid girls would also love a card from Justice or Claire’s, teen girls would love a Starbucks card, and boy tweens and teens would dig a Best Buy card.

Two other things to note—if you’re looking into a gift for kids or tweens, think about a Nintendo Switch.  And our favorite item this year at YouthBeat®, which didn’t quite make it into any Top 5 lists, is the Booty Shakin’ Llama from Pets Alive.

Learn much more about how kids, tweens, and teens are feeling about this holiday gift season in our 2019 Holiday Wish List infographic.  Get it now by clicking the "Download Infographic" image below.

*Source: eMarketer (October 2019)


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