Kmart commercials for its layaway program are not the only signs of Christmas Creep. Yesterday, Walmart released its annual list of hot toys for the season. This year, however, there is one notable difference from the past. This year's top 20 list was chosen by kids themselves.
"We are taking the guesswork out of customers' holiday toy shopping by turning to kids to tell us what the real top toys are," said Scott McCall, senior vice president of toys and seasonal at Walmart U.S., in a statement. "Kids told us they want interactive toys as well as classic brands. After hearing this feedback, we did what we do best. We made price investments to offer absolutely great savings on these holiday toys and more for our customers."
Walmart enlisted the help of 1,000 children between the ages of 18 months and 10 years. The list was broken out into four segments based on age and Walmart plans to keep them grouped together in special in-store displays throughout the holiday season. It will begin promoting special pricing on the items later this month in its circulars distributed around the U.S. The company also has a special section on Walmart.com to feature the kids' choices.
The Christmas selling season is critically important for toy retailers. Educational toys and licensed items were among the most popular choices on Walmart's list. The competition is expected to be intense this year as product supplies should be stronger than in the past.
How effective will Walmart's top toy list be in getting customers into stores earlier this year to shop for Christmas?