Trend Watch:  Toy Fair ’09 Showcases the 4 E’s

TIA toy trend specialist Reyne Rice noted the emergence of Economics, Exercise, Entertainment, and Engagement – the 4 E’s of toy innovations – as she scouted the show floor during Toy Fair ’09: 

Toy makers are introducing toys at tiered price points to appeal to budget conscious families. Many products incorporate multi-dimensional play experiences and grow-with-me features; other games and educational products offer skill-leveling. “Most noteworthy were the slew of products under $25 retail,” observed Rice. 

Today’s parents want their couch-potato kids to get up and move toward a healthier, active lifestyle. New 2009 products include motion gaming, which uses the accelerometer technology (made famous by the Nintendo Wii), plug-n-play options for under $30, and RFID technology for preschoolers.

More than two dozen PG-rated films, many associated with a strong licensed property or entertainment celebrity, will make their way into theatres this year.  Among the upcoming features are Transformers II, DragonBall, Wolverine, Terminator, Star Trek and GI Joe. About forty percent will feature the newest 3D technology and are a natural tie-in to toys and collectibles

Today’s youngsters are digital natives. This has paved the way for a new generation of digital cameras, online internet sharing software, social gaming and web-connected toys, as well as communication and high tech music devices which let kids customize their play list. Mind-bending toys, those activated by human brain waves, are the newest form of intergenerational play and allow participants to levitate objects while exercising the mind.

Watch for regular trend updates from Rice in future issues of Toy News Tuesday.