With just over four months to go until Christmas, Argos has announced its highly anticipated top toy predictions for 2020.
Among the toys expected to feature on thousands of children’s Christmas lists across the UK this year are a LEGO Lamborghini, a flamingo that sits on the toilet and poos, a dancing unicorn and an animatronic doll of ‘The Child’ from Disney’s The Mandalorian – affectionately known as Baby Yoda.
According to new research* conducted by the leading toy retailer, the time we’ve been spending at home has generated a strong sense of nostalgia for our favourite toys. Half (50 per cent) of parents reminisced about their old toys at some point during the nationwide lockdown, and as a result, more than one fifth (22 per cent) plan to gift their child something that conjures memories of their own childhood this Christmas.
As such, franchises that have stood the test of time make several appearances on the Argos top toy rundown, combining classic choices with something fresh and modern. An animatronic doll of The Child from The Mandalorian – affectionately known as Baby Yoda, the diminutive star of the popular Star Wars spinoff that came to the Disney+ streaming service during lockdown – is expected to be one of this Christmas’s biggest hits. The doll (£45.00) moves, gurgles and even ‘summons the Force’.
Nintendo and LEGO, both of which have maintained their popularity for several generations, have collaborated to release the LEGO Adventures with Mario Starter Course (£50.00), offering children – and indeed adults – the chance to recreate the iconic platform games in physical form, collecting coins and squashing enemies.
Playtimes beyond a screen are high on parents’ priorities, with 40 per cent set to purchase more toys that encourage active and imaginative play than they did last year. The Argos top toys list also demonstrates that parents haven’t forgotten about the main reason children play with toys: a sense of fun and escapism. The ‘Little Live Pets ‘Gotta Go Flamingo’ (£33.00) is an interactive flamingo that tells kids when it has to sit on its potty, while Poopsie launches the Dancing Unicorn (£50.00), a new version of Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn – the pooping mythical creature that was one of the biggest hits of 2018.
There are familiar faces (and creatures) on this year’s list, with Toys from L.O.L. Surprise! and Paw Patrol making the list for a third and fourth year in a row respectively. Yet the way they’re being shopped is changing. Last year, 47 per cent of Britons bagged most of their Christmas toy haul online or through a click-and-collect service, whilst 63 per cent plan to shop this way this year.
This increase in digital shopping habits led to the retailer’s recent decision to say farewell to its bi-annual printed catalogue. However, children (and adults!) wondering how they will compile their Christmas wish lists can rest assured, Argos will still be producing its iconic printed Christmas Gift Guide, inspiring families as they get together to circle products they would love to find under the tree.
Rather than presenting children with vast sacks of presents on Christmas morning, parents appear to be more selective with their toy choices, opting for quality, long-lasting items. A quarter of Brits (25 per cent) expect to spend over £200 on their most expensive toy this year, with the LEGO Technic Lamborghini (£350.00) likely to make wish lists across the country. Sales of toys costing over £300 have risen 60 per cent year-on-year** at Argos, with nearly a third (29 per cent) of parents saying they would buy a toy worth more than £100 if they felt they could also enjoy playing with it, and 59 per cent considering a toy’s longevity before making a purchase.
Elsewhere on the list, the unstoppable rise of TikTok and YouTube made its presence felt in the KidiZoom Studio entering the top 12. The high-definition camera kit, perfect for budding influencers wanting to film their very own unboxing videos, cemented its position on the Argos rundown after a 12 per cent increase in orders for kids vlogging equipment on the Argos website this year.
Juliet Ward, head of toy buying at Argos, said: "With so much time spent inside during lockdown, the nation has rekindled its love for toys, turning to them now more than ever to keep themselves entertained during what has been a difficult time for many. This year’s top toys list offers a huge variety of new products, ranging from toys inspired by the biggest TV and gaming franchises to bizarre – but crucially, fun – pooping animals.
“When we craft the list of our top toy predictions for the year, we always try to accurately gauge the ‘toy crazes’ that are set to make thousands of wish lists. This year it’s heartening to see so many toys that will encourage families to spend time together, whether that’s putting together a LEGO Lamborghini or reminiscing over the Mario games of the 80s and 90s.”
Toyologist Peter Jenkinson said: "Argos’s predictions for the top toys this Christmas are based on almost 50 years of experience and expertise in what parents buy for their children, offering not just a shopping list, but an insight into shopper behaviour and how the world around us affects what we buy.
“You can see from the presence of an influencer studio kit and the animatronic doll that the lockdown has had a profound effect on what parents are set to purchase this year, while there are also toys – such as the LEGO Technic Lamborghini – that necessitate parents investing time in building the toy and playing alongside their children.
“This year, children have spent much of their time locked away at home, unable to visit friends their own age and having birthday parties over Zoom. It’s meant a great deal of time has been spent with their immediate family, and while this is a good thing, the toy list also includes products that allow children to get back to simply being a kid – whether that’s a dancing unicorn or a flamingo that chirps about going to the toilet.”
The top toys will be available to buy at Argos now (with the exception of Poopsie Dancing Unicorn, launching this month, and The Child Animatronic Edition, which is available to buy from October 2020).
*Research conducted by Censuswide, who surveyed a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults
**Year-on-year figures taken for the period 1 January to the end of June 2020 versus the same period in 2019.