SOURCE: Panjiva


November 19, 2012 10:43 ET

Merry 1990s: Retailers Bet on Throwback Toys This Holiday Season

Panjiva Research Finds Elmo, Furby and Gak Are Hot Again in 2012

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 19, 2012) - Retailers apparently have one word for the droves of American consumers ready to spend millions on the latest gadgets, toys and other hot, new holiday items: "Whatever!" According to data released today from Panjiva, the B2B platform powering the business of global trade, retailers do not think new items are da bomb, but have instead stocked their shelves with some of the most popular toys from the 1990s.

Panjiva found that many toys that debuted in the '90s saw a resurgence in shipments from August through October, the months when most shipments arrive at U.S. ports in order to be at retailers in time for the holidays heading into the 2012 holiday season. Elmo, who drove many parents to wig out at retailers during the 1996 holiday shopping season, is again a retail favorite. The red furry monster led the '90s toys with 285 shipments this holiday season, though he regularly appears atop Panjiva's holiday rankings. Furby, a top seller from 1998, is another furry friend that has been re-introduced in 2012, going from zero shipments over the past five years to more than 171 this year. 

Other 90s trends coming back include:

  • Oh Snap! Toys related to popular '90s action figures made the biggest comebacks in 2012, with Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) toys experiencing a 91 and 1420 percent increase in shipments over the same period last year, respectively. 

  • Gak is (Not) Wack. The popular squishable, squeezable, squashable, stretchable, bounceable, ploppable, poppable compound is back. With 45 shipments, the Nickelodeon "stuff" is one of the more affordable items on the list.

  • An iPhone? As if! Despite the overwhelming popularity of smartphones, tablets and other modern-day technology, Nintendo systems and games continue to be one of the toys attracting high shipment volumes.

  • You Go, Girl. First introduced in 1998, the small plastic doll Polly Pocket is among the most popular '90s toys this year, with 177 shipments -- topping Furby, Gak and Razor.

According to Panjiva, the uptick in many of these old school favorites can likely be attributed to the brands introducing new variations of the toys ahead of this year's holiday season, though it may also be that retailers are putting their money on nostalgia. "Parents who played with some of these toys as kids are now out shopping for their own children and may be willing to put their precious holiday budget behind the toys they knew and loved themselves," said Josh Green, CEO, Panjiva. "It's probably a safe bet for retailers, and we'll find out in the month ahead whether it was a smart bet as well."

About Panjiva
Panjiva powers the business of global trade. The company's B2B platform combines content and communication to fuel 21st century trade by enabling serious buyers and sellers to connect with one another quickly and easily. By combining diverse data sets that enable decision making with robust technology that makes the process of analyzing the data more efficient, Panjiva provides an unmatched level of insight on the companies, products and trends shaping global trade. With more than a million unique online visitors each month and 5,000 paying users across a wide variety of industries, Panjiva is a trusted resource to gain insight into, and make contact with, more than 6 million companies that make 35 million unique products. Panjiva was founded by CEO Josh Green and CTO James Psota. Panjiva has received equity investments from Battery Ventures and Harrison Metal. For additional information, visit:

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