Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What Frantic Mums Have Their Eye on; with Christmas Shopping Well under Way, the Race Is on to Acquire the Must-Have Toys. Kevin Rawlinson Looks at the Gifts Parents Are Desperate to Get Their Hands On

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

What Frantic Mums Have Their Eye on; with Christmas Shopping Well under Way, the Race Is on to Acquire the Must-Have Toys. Kevin Rawlinson Looks at the Gifts Parents Are Desperate to Get Their Hands On

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin Rawlinson

LIKE thousands of children in the North-East, The British Association of Toy Retailers (BATR) writes its own Christmas list.

Dubbed the "Dream Dozen", it is the definitive indicator of how the year's Christmas shopping will pan out. Some of the BATR's hot tips for this festive period are the Blanket Time Iggle Piggle doll, from the BBC's In the Night Garden, Vivid Imaginations' Roary R/C Car and Baby Annabell from Zapf Creation.

Amid the usual fears of stores selling out before frantic parents can get to the favourites, local retailers are already announcing high sales of these toys.

Hi-tech toys are predicted to dominate children's Christmas lists this year, according to industry experts.

These are making an appearance alongside their more traditional cousins. But what are the most sought after gifts this year?

Argos in Northumberland Street, Newcastle, is reporting that items such as Zapf Creation's Baby Chou Chou doll as well as the Transformers, Fireman Sam and High School Musical ranges are particular favourites with the "frantic parent faction".

The Christmas rush always takes its toll and with Argos staff predicting that stocks of it are likely to be low, the Nintendo wii is oddson favourite to be the first to run out this year.

Newcastle University consumer psychologist Dr Joan Harvey believes the shortages of toys such as the Nintendo will be caused by two things every parent can identify with: "pester power" and the agitation caused by apparently dwindling stocks. This, according to Dr Harvey, can increase the product's desirability.

But she says the pressure is on retailers to get their approach right as mistakes in pricing or in advertising strategies can leave them with egg on their faces as word of poor sales gets round.

She also flagged up the controversies attached to advertising aimed at children, particularly at this time of year.

Dr Harvey believes "children, as consumers, are quite persuadable" and estimates that children start to distinguish between adverts and television programmes at the age of five and "at age eight, they still believe adverts are true". …

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