TIA Reports on Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Trends

New York, NY (December 1, 2008) – Toy Industry Association (TIA) representatives were in the stores all day on “Black” Friday, November 28th – checking store merchandise, sales activity, special sales offers, and other indicators of seasonal  toy sales trends.  TIA representatives were also closely following economic reports on behalf of the trade association’s members, more than 500 North American toy manufacturers and distributors.

“Activity was brisk in all of the stores that we visited in the early morning hours on Friday, and the toy department seemed to be one of the busiest departments at all of the mass market retailers, with people literally packing their shopping carts,” said Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Specialist for the New York–based Toy Industry Association (TIA). 

Rice noted that shoppers seemed particularly organized this year, many shopping in pairs, dividing and conquering departments, communicating via cell phone, and most with store flyers, computer print-outs or other “deal lists” in hand.

“According to the National Retail Federation survey, Black Friday kicked off the holiday shopping season quite energetically, with shoppers spending an average of $372.57 this weekend, up 7.2% from last year,” added TIA President Carter Keithley.  “Expectations were for a loss, so these numbers are encouraging, and toys sales are expected to be near the top of lists for top sellers at the mass market retailers.” 

Three specific trends noted by TIA during its on-site retail research:

  • Trend #1:  Home for the Holidays
    “We’re seeing a real increase in ‘hunkering’ down at home with home-based entertainment options,” said Rice.  “The ‘staycations’ which began in the summer months, and continued throughout Thanksgiving weekend, are entering another chapter in the stay-at-home trend.”  Rice noted empty shelves in the family friendly board games and electronic entertainment aisles. 

    “People are buying products that entertain them less expensively at home, and provide multiple use, for the entire family, offering a stronger price-value benefit,” added Rice. 

  • Trend #2:  More Sales, More Often
    Good news for shoppers who missed Black Friday sales -- many retailers have indicated intentions to run consistent promotions all the way through New Year’s Day. 

    “In the toy retail sector, Wal-Mart started sales in October, and Toys “R” Us big book sales beginning on November 2nd.  These sales are from 50% off on many items to 25% off on bundles or exclusive merchandise.  Many retailers say they will continue to promote sales and specials throughout the holiday season,” said Rice. 

    “Target, KB Toys and Kmart all had door-buster sales on Black Friday, and continued special sales through the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend,” she added.  

  • Trend #3:  Online Shopping
    “While today, or ‘Cyber Monday’ is often considered the start of the  online shipping season, many industry analysts point   to ‘Green Monday,’ December 15th, as the largest online shopping day of the year, as it is the last day consumers can typically order online and get guaranteed shipment in time for Hanukkah and Christmas holiday celebrations,” said Keithley. 

    “Therefore we think that today’s online sales results will be an indicator of what to expect later this month,” he added.

About TIA
TIA has a long history of leadership in the development of toy safety standards, and US standards for toys are widely used as models around the globe.  As the trade association for North American producers and importers of toys, games and entertainment products for the youth market, TIA represents over 500 manufacturers and importers of toys who account for approximately 85% of all toys distributed in the North America. Those toy manufacturers are committed to providing safe, fun and innovative playthings for children.  TIA is committed to making important safety information widely available to parents and caregivers free of charge in order to ensure safe play.  

Adrienne Citrin / Tania Zamorsky
Toy Industry Association / G.S. Schwartz & Co.
646-520-4863 / 212-725-4500 ext. 310/328