A summary of the six top trends follows:
- 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 and make impressive gifts for special occasions. They don't all come with hefty price tags, either – the value-conscious shopper will find many "BIG" toys at affordable prices.
- 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 and promote active and imaginative play.
- 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: ZOMBIES, MONSTERS AND MORE!
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. These toys not only have the ability to transport children to mysterious worlds – they also teach them that it's OK to be different and stand out from the crowd.
- RETRO / 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.