Pi Attitude Zone: Material Status

“When I Was Your Age, Christmas Was All About...”

Can economic downturns and consumer uncertainty cause some kind of collapse in creativity?  Do recessions make consumers misty-eyed and nostalgic for favorite old products? 

The answers to these questions matter to America’s toy industry, in the run-up to the Christmas sales season. 

Usually the holiday toy-shopping season is dominated by a few “must-haves”.  In previous years, kids were clamoring for Cabbage Patch Dolls, Zhu Zhu Pets, or maybe a Tickle Me Elmo.  So this year, what’s the new Furby?

Um... there probably isn’t one single one.  Classics like Hot Wheels cars and Disney Princess products have floated back to the top of parents’ shopping lists.  In a survey, a quarter of all present-buyers for girls said they’d be getting the little dears Barbie dolls this year.  Over ten percent of those looking for boy gifts were settling on... Lego.  These are toys that have been around, virtually unchanged, for decades.  What on earth is going on?

Ask the industry analysts, and they’ll talk about shoppers reverting to the basics, by-passing glitz, and rediscovering their nostalgia for toys from bygone times.  After weathering a punishing and painful recession, consumers may be reconciling themselves to a “new normal”, in which aspirations are throttled back and warm backward glances are stolen in the direction of happier times past.

On top of that, the toy industry has not really bet big on any particular toy line this year.  Maybe Santa Claus just failed to anoint any particular new toy fad with his North Pole fairy dust.

A by-product of the traditional toy trend is that indulgent seniors who ask the little ones what they got for Christmas this year will, for once, probably understand their answers.  There’s nothing baffling about bicycles, Barbie dolls or footballs...

Zone: Material Status Country: USA / North America Product – Consumer Products