Transformers, a smart watch and Frozen dolls will top children’s wish lists this Christmas, according to toy experts.
Other most-wanted gifts include an interactive DJ game, a Lego spaceship and figures from cult computer game Minecraft.
With the big day just weeks away, the Toy Retailers Association (TRA) has unveiled the top toys children hope to find under the tree on Christmas morning.
Toys on the list are priced from £7.99 to £99.99 and are part of a wider list of 72 toys and games predicted to be most popular this festive season.
Gary Grant, chair of the DreamToys committee which compiled the list, said the choices reflect the diverse range of entertainment available to today’s youngsters.
“It’s great to see creative and sharing toys sitting alongside more traditional toys or toys that facilitate a bit of rough and tumble,” he said. “And with nearly half priced under £25, the DreamToys list is relevant for all consumers this Christmas.”
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Ian Ellis, toy buyer for department store John Lewis, backed the predictions. He said: “We’re witnessing a real trend towards traditional play patterns.
“We expect this to continue into Christmas, with cuddly toys, wooden toys, crafting products and retro toys such as the Fisher Price Record Player expected to be among our best sellers.
“In addition, the world of film is continuing to influence toy trends, with toys inspired by the big screen topping Santa’s list for 2014.
“These include the Princess Elsa and Anna dolls from Disney’s Frozen and Benny’s Spaceship from The Lego Movie.”
But Catriona Thomson, who lives in the Borders and has daughters aged nine and 12, warned that an increasing obsession with “things” was spoiling the ethos of the festive season.
“It is outrageous that we have become so materialistic,” she said. “These ‘must-have’ toys will sadly not guarantee children will have a perfect Christmas. No matter how much you can afford to spend, the best gift you can give is your attention – spend time playing with your kids, not snoozing on the sofa or downing sherry.
“It will make your Christmas all the richer and truly magical.”
Christmas is also expected to bring cheer to the toy industry as it seals the biggest annual sales in four years. The latest retail figures show UK toy sales are up 6 per cent on last year, the best results since 2010.
Industry analysts NPD Group predict that an increase in spending on toys this Christmas will take annual sales above £3 billion, an increase of £166 million in 12 months.
The firm said the growth was due to continued interest in interactive and internet-connected toys, strong sales in classic categories such as building sets and crafts, and new, highly anticipated products coming to the market in time for Christmas.
Increased interest in low-priced and collectable toys such as loom bands, Panini stickers and Lego mini figures also spurred strong growth in impulse-buying and lowered the average price for toys from £7.69 to £6.95.
Frederique Tutt, toys analyst for NPD Group, said: “Impulse sales of collectibles and lower-priced toys are up, as well as licences from movies including Frozen, and this year’s craze, loom bands. These two factors combined delivered the fastest growth rate in toy sales since 2010, which suggests that Christmas 2014 might be the best for some time.”
THE TOP TOYS
Most-wanted Christmas gifts, rated by Borders mother Catriona Thomson, who has two daughters aged nine and 12.
1. Bop It! Beats, £21.99
Who would knowingly inflict the repetitious sounds and tunes of this toy? Completely pointless, but utterly addictive.
2. Disney Frozen Snow Glow Elsa, £34.99 and Disney Frozen Sparkle doll (assorted), £16.99
Luckily nine-year-old Hope is a bit of a tomboy so we won’t be rushing to get these. I say “let it go“, unless your kids are massive fans of the movie.
3. Vtech, Kidizoom Smart Watch, £39.99
Samsung and Apple could learn a thing or two from this gadget, but I’m old-fashioned and cruel so a real watch that only tells the time might be on the cards.
4. Little Live Pets Bird Cage character, £19.99
This is my idea of hell.
5. Minecraft Figures (assorted), £7.99
As if kids don’t spend enough time living in an alternative world. There is no need to populate our world with these useless pieces of plastic, which will end up in the charity shop by summer.
6. My Friend Cayla doll, £58.99
I think I would have nightmares if this appeared under the Christmas tree - a doll that likes to chat, sing and answer general knowledge questions. Show me the off button.
7. Nerf Demolisher 2-in-1 gun, £44.99
Now you are talking. Eve, my 12-year-old, would love this to put her younger sister firmly in her place. Just what you need in the season of goodwill and peace.
8. The Lego Movie - Benny’s Spaceship, £79.99
This one is a winner. I’ll be frantically trying to track down the last one on the shelf come Christmas Eve.
9. VTech Toot-Toot Animals Safari Park, £39.99
Although it plays three sing-a-long songs and a range of other sound effects that I would detest, young kids will love it.
10. Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock, £89.99
This toy might not be forever but kids will love it until you trip over it and transform it permanently into roadkill.
11. Zoomer Dino-Boomer Spin Master, £99.99
He’s a remote-controlled dinosaur you can train, and if you pull his tail he gets mad and his eyes change colour. I want one, or better still one for each of us. But at £99.99 each, maybe not.
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