Holiday 2012 Trend Spotting: Save ‘n’ Splurge

August 13, 2012 | Trends identified by Toy Industry Association (TIA) experts at the 109th American International Toy Fair are piping hot this summer and expected to sizzle well into the 2012 holiday shopping season.

giftOne of the year’s top trends – “Save ‘n’ Splurge” – indicates that post-recession wallets are expanding, but that consumers are also staying mindful of what they buy and who they spend on. Recent toy industry data confirms that parents are making purchasing trade-offs – spending more on their own families than they do on friends.

“Buying a less expensive gift for a classmate’s birthday allows parents to shell out more for their own child’s ‘Big Ask’ during the holiday season,” says TIA trend expert Adrienne Appell. “Toymakers are rolling out products that hit both ends of the spectrum … We’re seeing toys that have a certain “WOW” factor for those who are willing to loosen their purse strings a bit, but there also continues to be a wide range of products that offer big play value at an affordable price.”

The following are some examples of toys in the Save ‘n’ Splurge category that were identified from among 100,000+ products on display at last February’s Toy Fair:


  • Distraction – Think Fun ($12.99): This quirky all-play game is fun for the whole family, providing hours of entertainment. Players take turns drawing number cards and remembering a growing sequence of digits … but if a distraction card is drawn, they must answer a quirky question before reciting the numbers in order.

  • Star Wars Anti Gravity Balls – Uncle Milton ($9.99): These high-bounce anti-gravity balls feature new Star Wars caricatures that will excite collectors of all ages. Perfect gifts for stocking-stuffers or “just because.”

  • Waverly and the Magic Seashells – The Bridge Direct ($3.99): Mini-collectible seashells that contain little “pets.” The seashells are part of a larger universe of “play” that includes mermaid dolls and play sets. Fun for kids to collect, display, and trade with friends.

  • National Geographic Puzzles – Techno Source ($9.99): These unique National Geographic puzzles are great for puzzle fans (10+) who love animals and nature. Puzzles come in four themes: Into the Wild, Natural Wonders, Monumental Marvels, and World Travel.

  • My Very Own Kitchen Set – American Plastic Toys ($19.99): A kitchen play set that offers tons of role-play opportunities at an affordable price. The “kitchen experience” is made complete thanks to a microwave, range, grill, conventional oven, dish organizer and shelf space. Includes a 19-piece kitchen set so little ones can “cook” just like Mom and Dad.

  • Crazy Cubes – Spin Master ($4.99): A collectible that transforms traditional marble play into something entirely new. Each Crazy Cube comes with its own unique combination of marble brain and collector card, which doubles as a blocking wall or shooting target. More than 50 to collect and 10 teams to choose from – each team has one rare cube with changing eyes or mouth.

  • Super Builds – WABA Fun, LLC ($9.99): Plastic and foam pieces are connected to create vehicles using the illustrated construction guide. Fun construction play for children aged 3+.


  • Video Spy Surveillance System – JAKKS Pacific ($69.99):  A part of the company’s recently expanded “spy line,” this role play toy includes a video camera operated by a remote control that enables kids to view their subjects from 250 feet away.

  • Desk to Easel Art Cart – GuideCraft USA ($199.99): Children as young as three can explore their creativity with this classic, versatile arts and crafts unit, which can be positioned as an angled easel or folded down into a flat workspace. Features easy-to-clean laminate surfaces, a write-on/wipe-off surface, a chalkboard and plenty of storage space. 

  • Wi Spi Helicopter – Interactive Toy Concepts ($99.99): Tweens and teens will get a kick out of this remote control helicopter, which can be flown using an iPhone or Android app and includes a built-in camera that beams live feeds to the mobile device. “Spy” videos can also be recorded and uploaded to social networking sites.

  • Kid Tough Portable DVR Player – Fisher-Price ($149.99): From the popular “Kid Tough” line, this new, touch-screen device plugs into a dock that connects to a set-top-box and acts as a DVR, recording a child’s favorite television shows for them to enjoy on-the-go. The player can record two hours of live or pre-set programming, with the option of using a microSD card for additional memory. Holds a charge for 4-6 hours.

  • Electric Guitar – Schoenhut Piano Company ($129.99): Kids ages 6+ can rock out with this 36-inch classic electric guitar. An ideal “first guitar” for kids, and a great, lightweight travel guitar for musicians of all ages.

  • Radiate Skateboard – Rockboard ($99.99): This cutting edge skateboard incorporates an internal integrated LED wiring harness system – simply hit the “on” switch and the 48 lights will turn on. Projects an explosion of color that has older kids riding in style. Includes a rechargeable battery; available in 10 different color combinations.

  • Buddy Pedal Go-Kart – BERG Toys ($299.99): A rugged, four-wheel pedal kart with air-filled pneumatic tires and a wide wheelbase, this ride-on is perfect for kids aged 3-8. Riders can pedal forward, backward, and brake without taking their feet off the pedals. Thanks to an adjustable seat, kids can continue to ride as they grow older.

These are just some of the fantastic “save” or “splurge” toys rolling out through fall 2012. For round-the-clock toy safety and trend information, visit