No matter who’s on your naughty or nice list, you’re probably already pondering on what you will be adding to your Christmas shopping list. For those who are organised, you might have already started buying gifts for your loved ones!
But for the majority of us, we’ll feel that familiar panic-inducing feeling when we realise the festive season has begun before we even knew it.
Some may already have an idea as to what they will be placing under the tree. Either taking note of their loved one’s favourite things from the last year, or taking inspiration from years gone by.
Throughout the years we’ve seen plenty of different toys taking centre stage on Christmas Day. Grabbing the attention of shoppers who are on the lookout for toys for Christmas and becoming the ‘must have’ thing of the year.
But what kind of toys have captured our interest across the last ten years?
To find out, we took a look at the toys that made it in the Toy Retailer Association’s ‘toy of the year’ for every year, from 2010 to 2018. Due to other years not yet being updated, we looked at the top toy from their ‘DreamToys’ awards in 2019 and 2020.
To get ahead of the trends in 2021, we analysed Amazon’s recently released list of their top toy predictions.
We also looked into Google Trends data for each toy, in their respective years – recording the difference for the biggest, continuous peak in search interest in the months leading up to Christmas.
Analysing the results of each year, we can break down which toy hit the mark, as well as when people were on the lookout for it during the year.
Over a decade ago, the third and final Toy Story movie was released into cinemas across the world. It hit us all in our childhood feels, and captured the imagination of the younger generations.
As a result, the Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear was the most popular toy in 2010. Complete with laser arm lights and sound effects, the toy saw a 99% increase in Google searches, peaking between August and September.
The LeapPad Explorer topped the tables in 2011, being launched the same year with the aim to teach kids in a whole new way. Nowadays, the educational toy is worlds away from the tech we see today.
However, its ability to help kids develop skills in maths, reading and other subjects in a tablet form was incredibly unique. So much so, it saw an increase in searches of 87.5% between September and October.
Despite being launched 14 years prior, the Furby took a hold of the public and found itself under many Christmas trees in 2012.
The cuddly, furry stuffed toy took the top spot this year, but with so many variations created, it’s impossible to know which was the public’s favourite. Regardless, people wanted one and the searches increased by 77% in the last three weeks of December.
Nothing can replace man’s best friend – but in 2013, the Tekesta Robotic Puppy came close. The robotic dog could be taught tricks, respond to commands and would even whine for attention.
It was the most popular toy in 2013, and searches peaked between October and November by 77%.
In late 2013, Disney released the Oscar winning ‘Frozen’, and the public’s love for the film continued into 2014. The Frozen Snow Glow Elsa Doll was on many Christmas wish lists, offering lucky recipients the chance to hear the songs and phrases from the film whilst the dress shines.
Once again, movies captured people’s attention so powerfully, that it translated into its merchandise. In fact, searches for the toy peaked between October and November, increasing by 99%.
Halfway through the decade, the Hasbro Pie Face toy took the top spot. This is the first toy that was in first place on our table that isn’t just for one person, and requires multiple players to get involved.
The toy saw unlucky players getting hit in the face with a wet sponge. But despite this, the game took off and searches peaked between November and December, increasing by 80%.
Launched just two months before Christmas in 2016, Hatchimals were on the top of Christmas shopping lists, as the robotic animals hatched in many people’s homes.
The small, glittery collectibles really grabbed the attention of so many, as kids watched them hatch and then were tasked with raising the small creatures. Searches for this toy peaked between October and November, increasing by 82%.
Despite absolutely no advertising budget, the L.O.L Surprise Dolls topped all other toys in 2017 after a hugely successful launch in late 2016. Similar to the Cabbage Patch Kid frenzy, throughout 2017, people began collecting the three-inch tall figurines, unwrapping them from their paper containers.
The figurines have since expanded, with different ranges on offer. However, in 2017, searches peaked between November and December, increasing by 99%.
The only repeat on the whole list, L.O.L Surprise Dolls had such a hold on the world in 2017, that in 2018 they managed to keep their top spot. This year, L.O.L Dolls were in the top spot and searches peaked earlier this time – between October and November, increasing by 90%.
Five years on, Disney hit the mark yet again. After releasing Frozen 2: Into the Unknown in 2019, they quickly launched another toy, the “Into the Unknown” Elsa Doll. Lucky recipients could sing along with the doll, as it sings the most recent film’s hit song.
The searches for the Christmas ‘must have’ peaked between November and December, increasing by a huge 99%.
As we went into a Christmas like no other in 2020, people may have been in search of some comfort in normality. The top toy of the year was the ZURU 5 Surprise Mini Brands, miniature plastic versions of well known branded products, from household cleaners to cartoon characters.
The collectibles were all the rage in 2020, and searches for the product peaked in October, increasing by 79%.
2021’s Christmas might see the first Nintendo focused toy take centre stage under the tree. The Lego Super Mario Adventures With Luigi Starter Course was released on the 1st of August, 2021. The kit has LCD screens and speakers, making it the first ever physically interactive Super Mario platformer toy.
This toy’s searches peaked in August, increasing by 98%.
As the years go on, what we’ve seen under the Christmas tree has inevitably changed, but the aim is always the same. Putting a smile on your loved one’s face as they unwrap their present is when you know you’ve done a good job.
In fact, the best gifts at Christmas aren’t always the popular toys, and are more often the ones that mean the most. But of course, most of us enjoy having the latest and greatest thing and hope to see something new under the tree each year.
The value in these gifts is unmeasurable when it makes a loved one happy, however, they do cost money, and they can sometimes really hurt your bank account.
But if you’ve missed the last opportunity to snag the toy at the top of Christmas lists this year, how much will it be setting you back if you choose to grab a resale?
We found the resell increase of some of the most sought out items for Christmas 2021. Using eBay, we created an average from that and compared the price to its original RRP, revealing the increase people would have to buy if purchasing via resell.
Those looking to buy a PS5 this Christmas would be set back by the most amount of money if they need to buy a resale. Last minute shoppers can expect it to cost 35.91% more, as the console can be bought for £546.08, compared to its RRP of £349.99
The Fisher-Price Linkimals Cool Beats Penguin are closely behind, selling for 35.33% more on average than its RRP of £35.
If you want your loved one to find a Little Live Pets Gotta Go Turdle under the tree this year, last minute shoppers will be set back 33.15% more than its RRP of £33.
Those on the hunt for a Nintendo Switch OLED will have an easier time with their bank accounts, with an RRP of £309.99, resales are an average 14.34% more.
The LEGO Super Mario Adventures Luigi Starter Course has an even lower return if you resell. You can expect a 1.31% increase if you grab it on a resale – which has an RRP of £49.99.
But out of all the products analysed, it’s the Lego Harry Potter Hogward Chamber of Secrets toy that you shouldn’t worry too much about. Shoppers can actually find it cheaper on a resale, with it making an average -18.54% of its £129.99 RRP.
With so many toys being launched every single year, it’s tough to see what will get the public’s attention first – and hold it.
Clearly, there’s a lot of competition and some brands may not be as excited as we are to hear that a new Disney film is being released close to the Christmas period.
If you want a truly unique present that will stand out against the rest, you can browse our range of personalisable gifts.
But, regardless, there will always be shoppers ready to try out a new toy to give to their loved ones. And whether it’s up to date, the latest tech or merchandise from the latest craze, it’s guaranteed to put a smile on their face.