This year, toy shopping has a split personality. Those watching the business of say shop early, take a break, then shop late. The stores are already filling up with shoppers. They seem anxious this year and nowhere is the anxiety higher than in the toy isle. "Little girls want certain things. So right now, 'Princess and the Pop Star' is what she wants and that's harder to find," mom Karen Cox said. She and her daughter Ella are on the hunt already.
Target says it has figured out what the hot sellers will be and says it will have plenty of them, but the Wall Street Journal says inventory will be tight this year and that when it comes to toys, adults don't always know everything. "Even if they've predicted that it's the Monster High dolls, it's going to be hard to say, at least this early in the season, is it a particular doll that the girls want more than another? Is there one accessory or two that's really new that's going to sell out very quickly?" said Kelli B. Grant with the Wall Street Journal.
"It's true, yeah, and I'm not quite sure which one's going to be hot either but usually, we find out very soon though. I'm not sure which character, but usually everyone's looking for the same one, depending on which one it is," explained John Saddi with Target.
Grant says for most toys, shoppers will do better financially holding back and waiting for sales, but this is the holiday season and finances aren't everything. "If there's that one thing that you know they would be really devastated if they didn't see it there for the holidays, might as well go and get it now while you know you can still try to get it," she says.
The stores are making that easier this year. For instance, Target has an app that allows you to sneakily order a gift right in the toy aisle with your child standing there, and your kid will never know it. "And it'll take you right to the website. It's easy as that, and ther's the toy we're looking at right there. So, as a parent you can order it right here. Free shipping on all of our top toys," Saddi explained.
Analysts that spoke with 7 On Your Side recommended shopping early for the must-haves then hanging back for the secondary gifts. Two weeks before Christmas, they expect a fire sale. One week before Christmas, there will be slim pickings.