Parents who came up short hunting for a Hatchimal, the hottest toy of the last holiday season, are about to get a second chance.
A newer version of the toy egg that hatches a host of magical creatures is expected to be in-demand again this year when it comes to gifts under the holiday tree, says Walmart in making its predictions for the top 25 toy picks for 2017.
And there's more: Kids who like makeup will be able to create their own child-friendly nail polish with the Num Noms Nail Polish Maker. And "The Force'' is likely to be with Star Wars toys once again with another film installment of the series due out before year's end.
Walmart, the biggest toy retailer in the nation, based its list on the preferences of children ranging in age from 18 months to 12 years. The most popular are again expected to include toys based on favorite television and film characters or one that children could engage with, collect, or hop on for a ride, said Anne Marie Kehoe, vice president of toys for Walmart U.S.
Ultimately, holiday shoppers will have more than 1,000 new toys from which to choose. "This list is just beginning,'' says Kehoe. "It doesn't stop until the doors close on Christmas Eve.''
A few of Walmart's choices were in line with the predictions of Amazon, which for the first time released its own top 25 holiday toy picks last week. Both retailers included the Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway and Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower.
Hatchimals became hard to find last year by mid-December. Walmart says details on the new version are due Oct. 6.
Star Wars, with a raft of toys based on the release of new films in the franchise over the past two years, will once again be on prominent display with a line of licensed toys crowding store shelves in connection with The Last Jedi debuting later this year.
Walmart, locked in a battle with Amazon, says about a quarter of its top toys will be exclusives. They include a sleigh, based on the animated feature Frozen, and the Adventure Force blaster which propel darts as far as 80 feet.
Walmart will again offer a holiday layaway program, which started Friday. Gift givers will need to put down $10 or 10% of their items' overall price, compile a basket worth at least $50 and have until Dec. 11 to pay off their account.
"We know many of our customers use it for a number of reasons whether it's to stay on a budget or to buy now and avoid the holiday rush,'' Kehoe says.
For an industry that has been rocked by shrinking foot traffic as customers increasingly shop online, a lot is riding on the trove of games and gadgets that are starting to hit store shelves. The weeks leading into the winter holidays are typically the most lucrative part of the year for retailers, with many reaping as much as half of their annual revenue during those crucial months.
E-commerce giant Amazon and Walmart have sought to one-up each other with cheaper, faster delivery options, and Walmart has scooped up niche e-commerce sites, while leveraging its extensive fleet of storefronts.
Despite many major retailers closing stores amid faltering sales, the industry saw its best holiday sales period in four years in 2016. Shoppers spent $270.1 billion — a 3.4% uptick — on purchases pegged to Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas, according to retail research firm GlobalData.
That upward trend is expected to continue, with GlobalData preliminarily forecasting a 2.3% uptick in spending this holiday season to $279.1 billion.
Walmart's Top 25 Picks
o Hatchimals Surprise (*Coming soon, details to be released on Oct. 6)
o littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit
o Num Noms Nail Polish Maker
o FurReal Friends Roarin’ Tyler The Playful Tiger
o Barbie DreamHorse and Doll
o Fisher-Price Zoom ’n Crawl Monster
o L.O.L. Surprise Fizz Factory
o Soggy Doggy Board Game
o Mayka Toy Block Tape
o Frozen Sleigh (*Walmart exclusive)
o Adventure Force Light Command Light-Up Motorized Blaster (*Walmart exclusive)
o Monster Jam Grave Digger (*Walmart exclusive)
o Huffy Electric Green Machine Trike
o Nerf Rival Nemesis MXVII-10K
o RECOIL Starter Set
o New Bright Radio Control Tumblebee
o VTech Pop-a-Balls Drop and Pop Ball Pit (*Walmart exclusive)
o Radio Control DashCam (*Walmart exclusive)
o Dusty the Super Duper Garbage Truck
o Imaginext DC Super Friends Batman Batbot Xtreme
o Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower
o Disney/Pixar Cars 3 Ultimate Florida Speedway
o Mickey and the Roadster Racers Transforming Hot Rod Mickey
o Disney Junior Doc McStuffins Baby All in One Nursery