Parents choosing high price tag toys, says NPD

Children play with LeapPad Ultra
Image caption Children's tablet devices are a growing part of the toy sector

Parents are buying more toys with a price tag of over £50 as electronic devices continue to be a hit with youngsters, analysts suggest.

Sales of these more expensive toys have grown by 6% in the year to mid-October compared with the same period a year earlier, the NPD Group said.

This came despite a 1% drop in total UK toy sales over the same period.

The figures were published as the industry revealed its predictions for the most popular toys for Christmas.

Pre-school tablet devices - The InnoTab 3S and the LeapPad Ultra - have made the annual Dream Toys list released by the UK Toy Retailers' Association (TRA).

They form part of an £80m market in children's tablets that will reach more than one million sales by the end of the year, according to Frederique Tutt, a global toy industry analyst at NPD.

That means greater costs for parents, despite a financial squeeze for many families.

"In the UK, as in the rest of Europe, people are influenced by a difficult economic climate. Impulse toy-buying for instance is experiencing significant declines," said Ms Tutt.

"However, in this environment of cautious consumerism, our research shows that items with high price tags sell very well, especially good quality brands and innovative concepts."

The leading toys this year have been named by the TRA as:

  • City Coast Guard, by Lego
  • Doc McStuffins Doctor's Bag Playset, by Flair
  • Flying Fairy by Flutterbye, by Spin Master Toys
  • Furby Boom!, by Hasbro
  • InnoTab 3S, by Vtech Electronics
  • LeapPad Ultra, by Leapfrog Toys
  • Monopoly Empire, by Hasbro
  • Monster High 13 Wishes Doll, by Mattel
  • Nerf N-Strike Elite RapidStrike CS-18, by Hasbro
  • Robo Fishbowl, by Zuru-Geemac
  • Teksta Robotic Puppy, by Character Options

Toy sales have fallen in general this year, according to Ms Tutt, owing to a combination of post-Olympics sales declines, poor outdoor toy sales during bad weather in the spring, and the absence of a summer film blockbuster with linked toys.

Image caption Lego has featured regularly in the Dream Toys list - this year it is the Coast Guard version
Image caption Doc McStuffins Doctor's Bag Playset brings a whole new meaning to the concept of a junior doctor
Image caption It flies, it is a fairy. It is the Flying Fairy by Flutterbye
Image caption The Furby Boom! includes an exclamation mark in its official name. It talks and lays eggs
Image caption Two children's tablet devices are on the list. The InnoTab 3S and this LeapPad Ultra
Image caption A new version of an old game is next, with this updated version of Monopoly
Image caption Dolls have been a Christmas favourite for many, many years. This is the Monster High 13 Wishes Doll
Image caption And for boys, the traditional shoot-em-up game can be played with the Nerf N-Strike Elite RapidStrike CS-18
Image caption Animals, that do not need feeding or cleaning, might attract parents, like this Robo Fishbowl...
Image caption ...or the Teksta Robotic Puppy, which is another sign that electronic games are key to retailers' sales.

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