You may think it’s still to early to be talking about Christmas, “Halloween hasn’t even happened yet!” we hear you cry. But many brands have in fact been counting down since July, preparing for an incredibly important sales time and lining up the hottest (or coolest) toy trends this year. Back at Toy Fair earlier this year, we got a glimpse of the collectable, squishy and dino-tastic toys tipped to be big on Christmas lists this year.
The Christmas toy market has certainly changed a lot over the years. This week we popped along to Argos’ 45 years of toys exhibition showcasing some of the most popular toys from the past few decades. Aside from reminiscing about Furbees and how hard it was to keep a Tamagotchi alive, seeing the change in toys side by side was fascinating. The way marketers run Christmas campaigns has changed a lot too.
In this blog, we look at the toys tipped to be top this Christmas, as well as what’s new in campaigns in 2018 vs 2017.
Top 2018 Christmas toys
The Year of the Unicorn
We haven’t been able to get away from unicorns all year and Christmas is no exception. From glitter pooping unicorns, to one’s big enough to ride to make-up toys, there’s a unicorn for everyone. If you were in any doubt, 2018 is the year of the unicorn.
Second time lucky for LOL surprise?
LOL Surprise gifts were a huge hit last year, despite negative comments around value for money, and they’ve caused a fuss again. This time round kids must break codes on 15 layers to reveal the doll inside.
TV & Film licenses
A Christmas must-have list wouldn’t be complete without Harry Potter or Lego and this year the Hogwarts Express set is tipped to be the big one. Dinosaurs, like the extremely popular Fingerlings Untamed Dinos, also made an appearance, as the new Jurassic World movie generated interest once again in these extinct creatures.
It’s a little surprising not to see as many film or TV products dominating lists from the biggest retailers. There are no Star Wars or Marvel toys as we have seen over recent years, though that’s probably because they’re waiting for their next big film releases. A break might be welcomed to avoid customers getting jaded from an overload of character toys, as we have seen happen with fans of the Star Wars films franchise when the movie Solo was released earlier this year and be deemed a flop.
Christmas campaigns in 2017 vs 2018
- Gift guides
Getting your product in those all-important gift guides is still a key part of any Christmas campaign as it was last year. Getting your product on inspirational lists puts you front and centre of shopper’s minds and contributes to an important part of the buying cycle.
These product roundups have expanded beyond gifts for him or her. Think about gifts for all your different types of friends, different budgets, favourite colours, tech enthusiast… be creative and different from the normal categories.
The world of influencers has changed drastically since last Christmas, with Instagram and Snapchat playing a role in that change too. People have woken up to the issues of fake followers and are scrutinising audiences and ROI much more closely than 2017.
But 25% of consumers would still consider buying a product endorsed by someone with over 1 million followers are still likely to buy from a product promoted by a micro influencer (Zine). Micro influencer partnerships are a big marketing trend of 2018, so we expect to see them feature more in the run up to Christmas 2018.
- Help out mums and dads with video
Video content was key tactic for Christmas campaigns last year and they have only gone from strength to strength this year. Digital video is the new window shopping, instruction manual and more. It is now a regular part of the buying cycle.
Google stats show the amount of time people are spending watching “does it work?” videos on YouTube has increased by 12 times over the past two years. According to Google, 86% of millennial dads use YouTube for guidance on using a product or assembling gear too. A positive video review, how-to guide or unboxing can really make a huge difference to campaign results.
- Voice search
Smart speakers are much more prominent now vs 2017 and have changed the way we search for information. Companies this year will be making sure online content ranks highly for voice as well as text search results by considering how they answer customer queries online. It’s no longer good enough to make decisions based on how you think customers behave, but tune in to how they actually do behave.
We’re looking forward to seeing all the Christmas campaigns this year, particularly the competition between John Lewis and co. which should be kicking off very soon!