What’s new in Toyland

Consumer Reports News: February 20, 2009 03:27 PM

At Toy Fair 2009 this week, the annual toy industry trade show held in New York City, a colleague and I met with Gareb Shamus (pictured), publisher of Toy Wishes magazine and Web site, who monitors trends in the toy industry. He shared his views on what’s ahead for 2009.

What does Shamus expect to be hot for summer ’09? Sports toys, outdoor and beach toys, and other activity toys. Also hot will be board games, including old standbys--some with new twists--such as Monopoly’s World Edition, Travel Scrabble for portability on the road, Clue, and others. Games for the iTouch and iPhone will also be popular.

Toys with tie-ins to summer movies will be big, too, says Shamus, especially if the movie becomes a big hit. Blockbuster hopefuls include this spring and summer’s “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” “Star Trek,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” and “Watchmen.” Shamus says the popularity of toys tied to a successful movie will likely be unaffected by the economy, in part because many adult fans may buy them, too.

Nevertheless, in this economy, price does matter. “$30 is tops right now,” Shamus says, referring to how much people might be willing to spend on a toy.

For the December ’09 holidays, Shamus predicts that retailers will go with toys that are proven sellers with reliable track records that offer good play value.

--Artemis DiBenedetto, Web associate editor

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