Children aged just three will be given kindles and iPads this Christmas as their parents upgrade leaving toymakers worried
Toymakers Mattel and Hasbro said to be 'terrified' by trendAmount of time children dedicate to gadgets has rocketed



14:25 GMT, 24 December 2012

Mattel's Barbie dolls

iPads and Kindles are said to be more in demand than traditional children's toys such as Mattel's Barbie dolls

The toys have been well and truly thrown out of the pram this year as children's Christmas lists are dominated by iPads and Kindles, analysts said.

Top toymakers Mattel and Hasbro are said to be 'terrified' at the thought that children no longer plump for traditional presents such as dolls and toy cars, but rather the latest technological gadgets, including iPads and Kindles.

'Up against tech groups that make such engaging entertainment, toymakers cannot compete', said managing director of equity research at Needham & Company, an investment banking firm.

The report in the Financial Times this morning said that although toy companies had seem the trend coming they had struggled to adapt.

Some analysts are said to be lowering predictions for end-of-year toy sales, estimated at $1.41bn for Hasbro and $3.29 for Mattel, after sales to date for the year are down on last year.

In April Mattel reported that its first-quarter profit dropped 53 percent, pulled down by costs tied to an acquisition and lower sales for Barbie and Hot Wheels.

The problem faced by toymakers is that children as young as three are taking more of an interest in the latest gadgets and therefore spending less time with toys.

The interest is fuelled by the likelihood that many can expect to get their hands on their parents' older iPad and Kindle models as they upgrade this Christmas.

As their parents look to upgrade to the next iPad or Kindle this year, their children are expected to benefit from the hand

Mattel faced financial difficulty in the 1980s when it attempted to move into the video games market, while Hasbro, the maker of Monopoly and Scrabble have suffered fierce competition from the social gaming company Zynga, built of Facebook.

John Frascotti, chief marketing officer for Hasbro, said: 'Clearly young people have an aptitude for and expectation with digital platforms that we need to recognise.'

But it wasn't all bad news for Hasbro. The Furby, a cuddly electronic owl, has made a startling comeback. It sold 40million across the world at
the height of its popularity in the 1990s and the new version, with LCD eyes and costing 59.99,
now has LCD eyes has sold 20 per cent above expectations.

A Hasbro spokesman said: 'The response to the new innovation on Furby has been terrific in markets
around the world.

'In the UK, we not only delivered 20 per cent more product than we had initially planned, but we also flew some additional Furbys into the country to try and meet demand. We are ramping up production.'

The Toy
Retailers Association refuted the claim that traditional presents are in decline, and said that toys popular in the 1980s are on this year's list of 'must-have' presents.

Cabbage Patch Kids sold in their
millions after they were first launched in 1983. The dolls, which cost
29.99, are supposedly found in vegetable patches and adopted by

Twister, the classic game which was
hugely popular in the 1970s and 80s, is expected to sell well this year
too, in a modern form called Twister Dance and priced at 26.99.

Apple iPad

Kindle Fire HD

Analysts predict children as young as three will be unwrapping gadgets such as the Apple iPad tablet (left) and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD (right) at trendsetting rates this Christmas

There are also two Lego sets on the list, one of which, called Olivia's House, is aimed specifically at girls. It costs 69.99.

Frederique Tutt, an industry analyst,
said: 'There are a lot of toys that have re-launched this year as they
have a long lifespan and are nostalgic to parents.'

But the list, compiled by the Toy
Retailers Association, isn't entirely nostalgic. It also includes two
hi-tech children's tablets.

Mattel was unavailable for comment.


1. Cabbage Patch Kids, Jakks Pacific, RRP 29.99

2. Furby, Hasbro, RRP 59.99

3. InnoTab 2, VTech, RRP 84.99

4. Jake And The Neverland Pirates – Pirate Ship Bucky, Mattel, RRP 49.99

5. LeapPad 2, Leapfrog Toys, RRP 89.99

6. Lego Friends: Olivia’s House, Lego, RRP 69.99

7. Lego The Lord of the Rings: The Mines of Moria, 68.99

8. Mike The Knight’s Deluxe Glendragon Playset, Character Options, 29.99

9. Monster High Ghouls Rule Dolls, Mattel, RRP 22.99

10. My Moshi Home, Vivid Imaginations, RRP 39.99

11. Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire, Hasbro, RRP 44.99

12. Twister Dance, Hasbro, RRP 26.99

13. Web Shooting Spider-Man, Hasbro, RRP 34.99

VIDEO: Remember these ads The 1990s toys that are making a comeback

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