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Top Retailers Tag Holiday Toy Favorites

The holiday shopping season is firmly upon us, with more retailers revealing their top picks for this year’s holiday season.

By the 7th of September—54 days before Halloween, 78 days before Thanksgiving and 108 days before Christmas and Hanukkah (which this year begins on Christmas Eve)—the two largest toy retailers in the U.S., Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us, had announced the toys they expect to be their hottest sellers for the holidays.

We’ve compiled their lists with other top retailers, Target, Kohls, and Kmart and together they reflect the growing strength of licensed brands, which for the past several years have shown even stronger gains than the toy industry overall.

In 2014, North American sales of licensed toys grew 7%, according to TLL’s Annual Licensing Business Survey, compared to 3% toy growth overall (per The NPD Group). By 2015, licensed toy sales grew 8.1%, compared to 6.7% growth overall (NPD). The research firm has predicted that 2016 overall toy sales will grow 7.0%, the industry’s fastest growth rate this century, to be once again fueled by licenses with media content.  While the most prominent brands are movie licenses, led by Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars, the content advantage also extends to properties that gain exposure through television, Internet streaming services, or social media, such as Moose Toys’ Shopkins.

Walmart’s holiday list includes eleven licensed brands (up from seven last year), while Toys ‘R’ Us’ list includes eight (up from five). counts 8, Target 12, Kohls 16 (we included only its top licensed and new toys lists here), and Kmart 6. All in all, licensed properties account for nearly half of this season’s top toy picks.

Licensed properties that can be found across most retailer lists include Hasbro’s NERF, MGA Entertainment’s Num Noms, Nelvana’s Shopkina, Spin Master’s Paw Patrol, and Star Wars. (Disney’s Star Wars and Frozen, notably, are not as dominant as they were on holiday hot lists last year.)

For the top two retailers, Walmart is betting on Batman v. Superman, Disney Princess, Doc McStuffins, My Little Pony, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Toys ‘R’ Us favors Trolls, Pokémon, and PJ Masks.

Of course, the lists are to some degree self-fulfilling prophecies, since the more marketing the retailers put behind specific items, the more likely children are to succumb to the power of suggestion and request what they see marketed. While we’ve listed each retailer’s choices below alphabetically, most retailers ranked exclusives amongst their top picks. For example, it’s not by chance that Walmart’s proprietary My Life As doll brand (My Life as Food Truck) tops its category-organized press release. Toys ‘R’ Us’ top item: PJ Masks Headquarter Play Set, an exclusive item.

Retailer Top Toys Lists for the 2016 Holiday Season
Note: *Licensed.
Walmart’s Chosen by Kids Top Toy List Toys ‘R’ Us’ Hot Toy List’s Holiday Toy List & Anticipated Best Sellers/Exclusives Target’s Top Wish-List Picks Kohls’ Hottest Licensed Properties & Top New Toys Kmart’s Fab 15 Toys
Barbie Rainbow Cove Princess Castle Playset DreamWorks Trolls Hug Time Poppy* 3Doodler Create 3D Pen B. Zany Zoo Wooden Activity Center American Girl WellieWishers dolls Disney Frozen Sing Along Elsa Doll by Jakks Pacific*
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Batcave* Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar American Girl Melody Doll, Book & Backpack Collection Barbie Rainbow Cove Princess Castle Barbie Puppy Mobile* FurReal Friends Star Lilly the Unicorn
Disney Princess Carriage* Hatchimals AquaBeads Ultimate Design Studio Payset Bright Beats Learnin’ Lights Dance Mat BB8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero* Holiday Auburn Barbie 2015 Doll
Doc McStuffins Hospital Care Cart* Little Live Pets Snuggles My Dream Puppy Barbie Dreamhouse CHiP, the Robotic Dog Disney TSUM TSUM Plush & Collectibles* Hot Wheels Ultimate Auto Garage
Fisher Price Imaginext Bat Flight City Little Tikes Light ‘n Go 3-in-1 Activity Walker Barbie Pop-Up Camper Vehicle Disney Frozen Little Kingdom Elsa’s Magical Rising Castle* Fisher-Price Code-A-Pillar Hulk Smash RC Vehicle by Jakks Pacific*
Fisher Price Imaginext Ultra T-Rex NERF N-Strike Elite TerraScout RC Drone Blaster Bloxels: Build Your Own Video Game Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-pillar Funko POP! Five Nights at Freddy’s Collectibles* Imaginext Ultra T-Rex by Fisher-Price
Fisher Price Little People Sit ‘n Stand Skyway Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck Codenames Fisher-Price Thomas’ Sky-High Bridge Jump Funko POP! Marvel Captain America 75th Anniversary Collectibles* LEGO Friends Pop Star Show Stage
FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon Paw Patrol Zoomer Marshall* DreamWorks Trolls Hug Time Poppy* FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon Hot Wheels Mega Garage* MONOPOLY Here & Now by Hasbro
Hatchimals PJ Masks Headquarter Play Set * Fisher-Price Dance & Move BeatBowWow Hasbro Star Wars Rogue One Rebel U-Wing Fighter* Lion Guard Figure 5-Pack* Monster High Boo York Floatation Station with Astronova Doll by Mattel*
Hot Wheels A.I. Racing Playset Pokémon Z-Ring Set* Fisher-Price Imaginext DC Super Friends Super Hero Flight City* Hasbro Star Wars The Black Series Imperial Stormtrooper Electronic Voice Changer Helmet* Magformers Rainbow 30-Piece Set NERF Zombie Strike Doominator
Little Live Pets Puppy Power Wheels 12-volt Wild Thing Fisher-Price Shimmer & Shine Magic Flying Carpet* Hatchimals Marvel Captain America Magnetic Roleplay Set* Paw Patroller by Spin Master*
My Life As Food Truck Selfie Mic Music Set Hatchimals Draggles Hot Wheels Track Builder Power Booster Kit: Rocket Edition* Mr. Potato Head* Playskool Sesame Street Play All Day Elmo by Hasbro*
My Little Pony Explore Equestria Crystal Empire Castle* Shopkins Tall Mall Storage Case* Hot Wheels A.I. Intelligent Race System Starter Kit* Jaguar Sports Car 12V Electric Ride-on* Nerf Modulus Star Wars Signature Lightsaber by Hasbro*
NERF N-Strike Elite HyperFire Blaster Sky Viper v2400 HD Streaming Drone with FPV Headset* LEGO City Airport Air Show Building Kit Our Generation Doll Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck* VTech Kidizoom Action Cam
Num Noms Lipgloss Truck* Star Wars InteracTech Stormtroooper* LEGO Friends Amusement Park Roller Coaster Building Set Our Generation Sweet Shop Ice Cream Truck Paw Patrol Lookout Playset* Zoomer Kitty with Toy Mouse by Spin Master
Paw Patrol Zooming Marshall* Nom Noms Lipgloss Truck Craft Kit* PAW Patrol Zoomer Marshall & Everest* Peppa Pig School and Bus Playset*
Pie Face Showdown! Game* Pie Face Showdown Game Playskool Sesame Street Love2Learn Elmo* Playskool Mr. Potato Head Marvel Iron Man vs. Spider-Man with Hulk Pieces*
Pom Pom Wow Decoration Station Playskool Sesame Street Love2Learn Elmo* Qixels 3D Maker Razor Hovertrax 2.0
Razor PowerCore E100 Electric Scooter Scientific Explorer Magic Science for Wizards Only Kit Shopkins Shoppies Groovy Smoothie Truck with Shoppies Doll* Shopkins Sweet Spot & Shoppie Doll*
Sky Viper Streaming Drone* SELFIE MIC Music Set Star Wars Force Band by Sphero* Squinkies Squinkieville Club House
Star Wars Electronic R2D2* Shopkins Happy Places House Playset* Star Wars X-wing vs. Death Star Assault* Star Wars Mashters of the Galaxy from Playskool*
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mega Lair Playset* View-Master Deluxe VR Viewer TNMT: Out of the Shadows Tactical Truck* Trolls Poppy’s Hair Salon*
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Remote Control Skateboarding Mikey* Wonder Workshop Dash Robot* Wonder Woman Invisible Jet* Y-Volution Y-Fliker Air A1 Scooter
Tyco Terra Climber Remote Control Vehicle
Vtech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Treasure Mountain Train Adventure


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