NEW YORK (AP) — Lots of retailers come out with “hot toy” lists every holiday season, but this year Walmart decided to try something different: let kids rate their favorite toys.
In a first, about 1,000 boys and girls aged 18 months to 10 years spent a three-day weekend in August in Dallas playing with 50 toys and choosing their favorites. The result is a top 20 list of kid-approved toys, made public Thursday, that includes a new robotic pet Furby, a hugging Elmo and a Barbie dream house.
Retailers place their bets early on which toys they think will be hits and then spend heavily to market them to spur sales during the holiday season. It’s a crucial time because holiday sales can make up to 40 percent of a retailer’s annual revenue.
During planning for the holidays in the spring, one toy buyer came up with the idea to let kids be part of the process, said Scott McCall, senior vice president of toys and seasonal at Walmart U.S. Walmart is the world’s largest retailer and the biggest seller of toys.
Making the list? Lots of new takes on classic toys, McCall said, like a new robotic pet Furby and a new Barbie Dreamhouse playset. TV show-related toys were also popular, including a Sofia the First talking doll and a Doc McStuffins Get Better Check Up Center, both Disney properties.