The Toy Industry Association gave its predictions for the trends that will drive the toy industry this year including supersized and classic toys, innovative RC vehicles, custom-built creations and zombie-inspired playthings at New York Toy Fair earlier this week.
"Personalization and open-ended play are definitely the buzz words of 2014," says Adrienne Appell, trend expert, TIA. "Whether kids are building with classic blocks, designing their own dolls, playing in virtual worlds, or 'mashing up' play patterns, toymakers are giving them more freedom than ever to play exactly how they want.”
The TIA’s six top trends of 2014 are:
- Larger Than Life Large-sized toys are becoming increasingly common in just about every category, from plush and play sets to RCs and building toys. As a counter-balance to the micro-sized trend seen in years past, these toys engage kids in imaginative role-play activities.
- RC Rampage Playtime will shift into high gear thanks to an influx of innovative remote-controlled vehicles for various ages and at varying price points. Older kids with a 'need for speed' will have plenty of options to choose from, including helicopter RCs and vehicles that launch projectiles. Animal-themed and licensed RCs based on popular entertainment properties will engage younger children.
- Full STEAM Ahead Educational toys, games and crafts that teach kids STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) are heating up in the toy aisle and getting kids of all ages, interests and abilities excited about learning. Toymakers are increasingly incorporating storytelling and other artistic components into science, engineering and building toys to get more kids than ever on board with STEAM.
- Frightfully Fun Vampires were hot ... but now zombies and monsters are all the rage, thanks to a rise in popularity of zombie-themed movies, TV shows and video games. Ghoulish action figures and dolls with relatable characters and back stories are less frightening for younger kids, while older boys and girls will get a kick out of 'gross out' toys.
- Back to Basics First identified by TIA in 2013, the retro and back-to-basics trend is alive and well this year thanks to a huge abundance of classic toys and games slated to hit store shelves. Today's parents and grandparents fondly remember these playthings from their own childhoods and are excited to share them with the little ones in their lives.
- Custom Built 2014 will take building to a whole new level. In addition to building and construction toys, this trend extends across several toy categories–from arts and crafts to action figures–and encompasses playthings that allow kids to create, customize and personalize to reflect their unique tastes, styles and imaginations. Includes two sub-trends: "Mash-up" toys, which incorporate many uses or ways to play in a single toy or game and "Fashion Forward" toys, which include DIY sets that allow kids to create their own accessories, fashion dolls that can be styled in a personalized way and realistically-designed dollhouses and building/play sets.