Here are the Hottest Toys This Holiday Season

With Black Friday fever in full effect, the official start of the holiday shopping season is upon us. Despite a weak economy and lingering high levels of unemployment, retail sales are expected to increase year-over-year. The latest high-tech gadgets are expected to be popular, but some classic gifts are still in demand.

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, recently released its Top Toys survey for 2012, conducted by BIGinsight. The survey polled more than 9,000 consumers and is designed to gauge consumer behavior and shopping trends related to the holiday season. Popular gifts this year range from LEGO and Hot Wheels (NASDAQ:MAT) to video game consoles such as Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360 and Nintendo’s Wii U. Surprisingly, Furby (NYSE:HAS) came in the top ten toys for boys, and ranked number three for girls.

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NRF explains in a press release, “Furby became a must-have item and child favorite in the late 90s but has since undergone a digital makeover complete with LCD eyes and compatible iPad apps. Video games also appeared on both lists this year.”

According to NRF, 45.1 percent of consumers plan to buy toys this holiday season. The most popular items for boys and girls are listed below.

2012 Top Toys for Boys…

  • LEGO
  • Video Games
  • Hot Wheels
  • Cars (generic)
  • Xbox 360
  • Nintendo Wii U
  • Transformers
  • Remote Controlled Vehicles
  • Furby
  • Truck (generic)

2012 Top Toys for Girls:

  • Barbie
  • Dolls (generic)
  • Furby
  • Monster High Dolls
  • Disney Princess (NYSE:DIS)
  • American Girl
  • Video Games
  • Dora the Explorer
  • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad
  • Apparel

“Toy trends are ever changing, sometimes proving challenging to parents who want to make their kids happy while staying on budget,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. ”This year’s top toys are trendy and new, but also have some staying power, meaning children won’t get bored with them within a few weeks.”

The NRF predicts that holiday sales this year will grow 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion, which is above the 10-year average holiday sales growth rate of 3.5 percent. Although Black Friday receives the majority of attention during the holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday sales are set to surge as value-minded shoppers take to websites such as Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) to find deals. Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE) predicts that sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving will top $2 billion, representing an 18 percent jump year-over-year.

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