Furby tops Christmas toy sales as retailers warn of quiet pre-Christmas week

A Furby toy and a game where players are hit in the face with a foam 'pie' are the best selling toys in the run up to Christmas, retail data has revealed - while a separate report shows that consumers are set to spend significantly less than last year on one of the calendar's busiest shopping days.

Shoppers are expected to spend less this Christmas Eve than in previous years.

Analysis from market research firm NPD, found that children will this year receive around nine toys each, with an average of £105 spent per child.

The £79 interactive Furby toy topped the charts of toys bought in the first two weeks of December, with a £124 robotic racing set Anki Overdrive taking third place, behind the Pie Face game, which also appeared at number four with spinoff Pie Face Showdown.

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Frederique Tutt, Global Industry Analyst for toys at NPD, said: “While connected toys like Furby account for less than one per cent of the UK toy market value, they tend to do well at Christmas as high ticket items which form main presents for children.”

The NPD figures showed that almost one third of 2016’s annual sales will be recorded during the Christmas period.

However, a report from Sainsbury’s Bank found that shoppers will spend just £726 million on Christmas Eve this year - a significant drop from last year’s poll in which consumers said they expected to splash out £1.4 billion.

The findings will be especially troubling for retailers hoping for a bonanza Saturday after Christmas Eve last year fell on a Thursday.

This season’s last full day of shopping falling on a Saturday should have been perfect timing for stores, which have seen their margins squeezed between rising business costs and consumer demand for rock-bottom prices.

Supermarkets expect their busiest shopping day to be Friday, but the Sainsbury’s poll also found that Christmas shoppers’ total spending over this week will reach just £191 each, significantly down from last year’s £272.

Meanwhile, post-Christmas shoppers are predicted to go on a £3.85 million bargain hunt on Boxing Day, spending £2.95 billion on the high street and another £900 million online, according to VoucherCodes.co.uk and the Centre for Retail Research.

VoucherCodes managing director Claire Davenport said: “Although the high street is still the favourite for discount shoppers, online spend is steadily increasing year on year.”