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SPONSOR: Fractiles

Nobel Laureate and STEM educator, Dr. John Hall,
uses Fractiles in his public school STEM workshops
to encourage creativity and innovation. VISIT Fractiles
Best-Selling Specialty Toys

Products below selected as of 11/24/2015:
Products and vendors reported as best sellers in TD's interviews of specialty retailers.   See Methodology

Groovy Girls Noelle with Celessence

ReCon 6.0 Programmable Rover

Editors' Recommended Specialty Toys

Products below selected as of 11/24/2015:
High-quality products with positive review from retailers, consumers and/or TD staff.   See Methodology

Disney Frozen Ice Castle Dollhouse

Spin Again

New Specialty Toys

Products below selected as of 11/24/2015:
New or upcoming product launches selected as options for specialty retail stores.   See Methodology

Scientific Explorer Ultimate Bubble Gum Fun Kit

Mighty Makers - Home Designer Building Set

Recent Recalls

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Toy Industry News for November 2015

SUBMIT your news to TDmonthly.
See previous toy industry news.

From Land Robotics To Drones - The Future Businesses Set To Impact Retail Deliveries. November 24, 2015 — The last mile is often the most inefficient and costly part of getting online purchases...

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has reported a decline in toy recalls. November 24, 2015 — In fiscal year 2015, CPSC issued 25 toy recalls, way down from 172 in 2008...

After Losing Out to Disney’s Frozen Last Year, Barbie Back on Top of Girls’ Toy Lists. November 24, 2015 — After losing her crown to Disney’s Frozen characters in 2014, Barbie is back on top of the National Retail Federation’s Top Toys list...

Global Toy Sales Rise 7 Percent Heading into the Holiday Season, NPD Group Reports. November 24, 2015 — Around the world, toys are an essential part of the holiday season, for consumers, retailers, and manufacturers alike...

Toys R Us CEO makes a (strong) case for being open on Thanksgiving Day: 'It's what you do'. November 24, 2015 — We've all seen those GEICO ads as part of the company's "It's what you do" campaign...

Hasbro Toy Fair 2016 Sneak Peek. November 24, 2015 — Wednesday night, Hasbro gave us a sneak peek at Toy Fair 2016 - and now we get to pass it on to you...

Chicago Toy & Game Fair plugs in to technology. November 24, 2015 — IBM Watson and robot toymaker Sphero have figured out that technology is essential to making toys kids love...

Hasbro's new robotic cats will make you feel a little less alone, and a little more alone. November 18, 2015 — Hasbro's new Joy for All companion pets are a line of robotic cats that meow, purr, and respond to touch - for the elderly...

Hasbro is already struggling to keep up with the demand for Star Wars toys. November 18, 2015 — Four weeks away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens—and nine weeks after the film’s merchandise hit shelves—Hasbro is running low on inventory...

With Boy In Barbie Ad, Mattel And Moschino Aim To Bust Gender Stereotypes. November 18, 2015 — It’s no secret that Mattel has a Barbie problem. Sales of the fashion doll have slumped...

Chicago Toy & Game Fair plugs in to technology. November 18, 2015 — IBM Watson and robot toymaker Sphero have figured out that technology is essential to making toys kids love...

LeapFrog dives more than 20% after more disappointing results. November 11, 2015 — The long fall of LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. LF, hit another sudden decline Monday afternoon...

Mattel's Revenues Weak, Turnaround Efforts Underway. November 11, 2015 — Mattel’s third quarter 2015 earnings per share of 71 cents missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate...

Unsafe toy lists are flawed, toy industry says, consumer group responds. November 11, 2015 — Every holiday season millions of consumers seek shopping guidance from lists of potentially unsafe toys...

Toy Industry Has Best Year in a Decade. November 10, 2015 — Toys are staging a comeback. The U.S. Toy Industry is expected to have its strongest year in at least a decade...

Toys are getting smarter -- and that means pricey. November 10, 2015 — The "smart" technology that can be found in everything from mobile phones to cars to home appliances is also showing up in the toy aisle...

Toy Laser Pointers Pose Risk To Eye Health: First Case Of Eye Damage Caused By Toy Reported In Germany. November 10, 2015 — In what is being called a "one-in-a-million shot," a bus driver in Germany reportedly suffered from permanent eye damage...

6 tips for a better mobile retail experience. November 6, 2015 — Mobile technology should be a perfect way for stores to enhance the in-store shopping experience...

Twister, Super Soaker and Puppet Join the Toy Hall of Fame. November 6, 2015 — They sunk your Battleship. And the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were sent back in their shells...

Hasbro Has Become A Licensing Giant. November 6, 2015 — It's simply hard not to like Hasbro's licensing portfolio...

Retailers are competing — for holiday workers. November 6, 2015 — Unemployment is at a seven-year low and the number of people working part-time shrank by 1 million since last September

Student-created toy initiative helps disabled children play. October 30, 2015 — The engineering and physical therapy students at the University of North Florida (UNF) helped start the Adaptive Toy Project...

Boys and Girls, Constrained by Toys and Costumes. October 30, 2015 — A web search for Halloween costumes of scientists produces only boys wearing lab coats and goggles...

IKEA Transforms Kids' Drawings Into Cuddly Toys That Raise Money For Charity. October 30, 2015 — This furniture retailer is making a global impact with some cute new products - no assembly required...

Read news from past 3 months:

Toy Industry News for October 2015
Genius Brands International Announces $4.3 Million Private Placement... read more toy news from October 2015

Toy Industry News for September 2015
Kids Learn STEM Through Fashion Design... read more toy news from September 2015

Toy Industry News for August 2015
Why Hasbro wants to crowdfund a gaming hit... read more toy news from August 2015

Good to Know

Solar-powered Airplane Toy
Nov. 17, 2015 ToyLabs, Inc. announces the Volta Flyer project, a DIY science kit packaged with all the prefabricated components necessary to build and fly the solar-powered airplane. The Volta Flyer uses a thin-film amorphous silicon solar "panel-on-wing" design technology and unique power management system to power flights without batteries. By assembling and flying the Volta Flyer, kids discover the world of aeronautics, solar energy, mechanical engineering, and electronics - all through the timeless excitement of achieving flight. The Volta Flyer claims it's the World's First Solar Powered Airplane Science Project for Kids. Kickstarter campaign

The Volta Flyer is the World's First Solar Powered Airplane Science Project for Kids!


MARVEL Future Fight Welcomes New Character Jessica Jones
Black Friday Event Special: Netmarble brings back fan-favorite items in special release SEOUL, Korea (November 19, 2015) – Netmarble Games Corp. announced an update to MARVEL Future Fight, including the release of a brand new female detective, Jessica Jones, new character uniforms and a special Black Friday Sales Event for fans. Netmarble celebrates the mad-dash that is Black Friday with a limited-time special release, and re-release, of fan-favorite uniforms. Extremely popular with fans across the world, each MARVEL Future Fight character uniform released to date offered unique new abilities and skills, and were exclusively available for a short time.

Anime x Video Games Tour on January 16th-17th, 2016 at the Asian American Expo held at the Pomona Fairplex.
The event at the Asian American Expo is the largest Lunar New Year celebration in America. ANIME IMPULSE has confirmed appearances by international cosplay superstars Alodia Gosiengfiao, Ashley Gosiengfiao, and VampyBitMe to headline this first annual event. Attendees will be be able to shop through original artist works, handmade vendor goods, and watch entertainment: panels, music performances, fashion runway shows, and an Itasha Car Show by some of the anime community’s biggest influencers.

Federal regulators in the United States, Mexico and Canada are joining forces to help consumers shop with confidence. Nov. 19, 2015
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Health Canada and Mexico's Consumer Protection Federal Agency (PROFECO) are holding their Third North America Consumer Product Safety Summit in Mexico City this week, and protecting young children from dangerous and illegal toys is a shared goal among the safety agencies. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1973 and charged with protecting the American public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call the CPSC hotline at 1-800-638-2772, or visit http// Further recall information is available at Collaboration among the regulators has taken place through joint industry trainings, consumer outreach and education, and three trilateral recall announcements of harmful toys and children's products. Additional efforts have included joint oversight of product supply chains and timely responses to emerging product hazards. The vision for creating a safer marketplace for consumers across the continent includes: (1) strong safety standards that are enforced, (2) inspections at import, and (3) an emphasis on quality safety manufacturing overseas. "As we approach the holiday season, our three jurisdictions are working as one to protect children in all three nations from harmful toys," said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye. "Despite our real advances in toy safety, we are still finding too many violative toys at our borders. All consumers, regardless of which of our three nations they come from, deserve us working together to protect them. This is why working toward seamless surveillance across North American borders is a critical part of our collaboration with Health Canada and PROFECO."

IBM (NYSE: IBM) today launched the IBM Watson Trend App, a new way for shoppers to understand the reasons behind the top trends of the holiday season and also predict the hottest products before they sell out. The app is available via a free download at the Apple App Store. Nov. 18, 2015
When it comes to must-have tech gifts, wearable accessories top wishlists for both gamers and movie lovers. According to Watson, while excitement around Minecraft continues to be strong, the social conversations aren't focused on the game itself but the new Gameband, which allows people to play anywhere, on any device. The IBM Watson Trend app distills the sentiment of tens of millions of online conversations by scouring 10,000 sources across social media sites, blogs, forums, comments, ratings and reviews. Unlike other apps or lists that provide a static ranking of "hot" products, the Watson app reveals how consumers feel about the products they are considering or have purchased. Using Watson's understanding of natural language and machine learning technologies, the app uncovers consumer preferences to pinpoint patterns and trends to reveal why people are choosing certain products or brands. The app also uses predictive analytics to forecast if a particular trend is a fleeting fad or will continue to remain strong. To uncover insights behind the top holiday trends and products, Watson's natural language engine aggregates insights into distinct trend groups: content, context and sentiment. Each group is given a relative daily Trend Score, ranging from 0 to 100, based on the impact (size of the conversation) and the momentum (the rate of growth of the conversation). Users can view the top 100 trending products and stories behind them across three categories – consumer electronics, toys and health and fitness.
As of November 18, the top trends include: Smartphone Photogs Drive Demand for Professional-Grade Cameras: While smartphones users have one of the most powerful mobile cameras at their fingertips, Watson finds consumers want more. Watson identified standalone cameras like the Nikon D-SLR are the number one choice for amateurs looking to take their photography to the next level due to their greater depth and superior quality. Amateurs aren't the only ones looking to upgrade, expert photographers are setting their sights on Sony's 42 megapixel Alpha 7RII mirrorless camera that allows them to record Ultra HD 4k video.
Whether it's Star Wars or Lego City, Buy Now Before It's Too Late: The new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, has helped make Lego Bricks the "it" toy of the 2015 holiday season and it's likely that many will sell out including the new Millennium Falcon set. However, according to Watson in addition to Star Wars, two other sets will also likely sell out this season: Lego City and Friends. As a result, shoppers should take advantage of early Black Friday deals and make their purchases now. Beyond chatter about impending product shortages, Watson finds that adults and children alike are excited for the new Star Wars line while other products such as Lego City are selling well among both boys and girls, which reinforces the growing trend of gender-neutral toys.
Traditional Toys Go Back-to-School: According to Watson, Mattel's connected-toy, Hello Barbie is at the top of parents' gift-giving lists but it's no longer due to her sense of style. The new Hello Barbie delivers an "engaging and unique play experience" by letting children have a two-way conversation with Barbie. Parents specifically call out the companion app feature that allows for parental control of all conversations. Other "Edutainment" toys leading the pack, according to Watson, include the new PAW Patrol Imagicard Learning Game (for LeapFrog tablets).
Tis' the Season for Wearable Tech: When it comes to must-have tech gifts, wearable accessories top wishlists for both gamers and movie lovers. According to Watson, while excitement around Minecraft continues to be strong, the social conversations aren't focused on the game itself but the new Gameband, which allows people to play anywhere, on any device.
For movie-lovers, Watson identified excitement around the Oculus Rift (OR), a virtual reality wearable that not only enhances the gaming experience but can support made-for-OR movies. As consumers use the IBM Watson Trend app to pinpoint what products are popular and why, IBM also reports on how consumers will shop for these gifts. With the Thanksgiving holiday just one week away, IBM predicts that, for the first time, more consumers will turn to their mobile devices than their desktop to seek out the best buys. Over the five-day holiday period, mobile traffic is expected to increase by nearly 57 percent, up 17 percent over 2014. Mobile sales are predicted to increase by more than 36 percent, up 34 percent over last year. For more information or to download the IBM Watson Trend App, go to | IBM Media Relations: Lizette Kodama 646-675-0750 | | Doug Fraim 617-501-6376

CPSC issued 25 toy recalls, way down from 172 in 2008. Even with the decline in recalls, CPSC continues to detect and detain too many violative toys at U.S. ports. These dangerous imports have excessive lead and phthalates, as well as small parts. Thankfully, these toys never reached the hands of kids. CPSC also receives reports of kids who have suffered toy-related injuries and even deaths. A new report released for calendar year 2014 shows an estimated 183,800 toy-related injuries and 11 deaths. For toy-related deaths and injuries, it is important to note that although a toy was associated with many of the incidents, the toy was not necessarily the cause of the death or injury. Here's what you can do to help keep your little ones safe and avoid these hazards: Choose age appropriate toys by reading the age label on the toy. For children younger than 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. In particular avoid deflated or broken balloons, small parts or small balls. Scooters and other riding toys - Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times and they should be sized to fit. Avoid riding a scooter on a street or roadway with other motor vehicles. Magnets – Children's magnetic toys are covered by a strong safety standard that prevents magnets from being swallowed. High-powered magnet sets, which are covered by a mandatory standard, also have small magnets that are dangerous and should be kept away from children. Whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children. Toy safety continues to be a top priority for CPSC, as we work to keep our most vulnerable consumers safe. So Play It Safe this holiday season by following these safety tips and for more toy and product safety information don't forget to visit

VTech® announced seven of its products received The National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval. Nov. 19, 2015 The Kidizoom® Smartwatch DX, Go! Go! Smart Wheels® Ultimate RC Speedway™, Go! Go! Smart Animals® Grow & Learn Farm™, Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train™, Lil' Critters Soothing Starlight Hippo™, Lil' Critters Roll & Discover Ball™ and Write & Learn Creative Center™ were all recognized by the organization., on Facebook or follow @VTechToys on Twitter

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