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Mattel And Hasbro ‘Terrified’ As Kids Turn To High-Tech Toys

Mattel And Hasbro Terrified As Kids Turn To High-Tech Toys

Mattel and Hasbro are “terrified” of the growing popularity of high-tech toys with kids.

That’s according to Sean McGowan, managing director of equity research at Needham Company, who told the Financial Times:

“The top two guys, Mattel and Hasbro, they are terrified. They should be terrified, but the official party line is they’re not terrified.”

Beneath Christmas trees everywhere this year, more kids have unwrapped high-tech gifts such as iPads, Kindles, and portable game consoles than ever before. Meanwhile, demand for more traditional toys such as dolls, board games, or action figures is down.

Consequently, analysts are lowering their forecasts for fourth-quarter toy sales, currently estimated at $1.41bn for Hasbro and $2.29bn for Mattel. Those predictions are being lowered after sales from the first three quarters of 2012 were down on last year.

Concerns about the appeal of traditional toys are backed up by the very toys sold by Mattel and Hasbro: Mattel’s top-selling product in 2012 is a plastic cellphone case rather than a traditional toy. The Financial Times writes:

“[…] the amount of time children are spending with technology devices has skyrocketed [because they can] watch free content online and play free video games for hours on end.”

The increasing number of younger children playing with tablet computers and game consoles may have allegedly left Mattel and Hasbro terrified, but the companies still had some popular toys this Christmas. Hasbro’s Furby toy, a cuddly electronic critter, has made a successful comeback, with the newest version (complete with LCD eyes) selling 20 per cent above expectations this holiday season.

However, chief marketing officer for Hasbro John Frascotti recognized the need to move with the times when he told the Daily Mail:

“Clearly young people have an aptitude for and expectation with digital platforms that we need to recognize.”

The trend for more high-tech toys is not stopping at kids. Even family pets are being treated to more technological gifts.

Did you buy gifts for kids this Christmas, and were they of the traditional or high-tech variety?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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43 Responses to “Mattel And Hasbro ‘Terrified’ As Kids Turn To High-Tech Toys”

  1. Curtis Andrew Hedrick

    Many Children today do not wish to use their imaginations but have things acted out for them. I played video games as well as a child (I'm 29) but action figures were my go to toy. I would spend hours building forts, developing story lines, enacting battles etc. all outside in the fresh air and sunshine. Look at the state of entertainment right now. Not much truly new being brought forth. That is the Direction it is headed when children are not encouraged to use their imaginations.

  2. Jeanette Diaz-Neave

    This is very true. I don't think parents understand the importance of imaginary play, it is very important in child development.

  3. Jim Cavello

    These companies must progress with technology today. Borders made the same mistake and is now defunct. Keep up with the times or be shut up with the times.

  4. Heather McCollim

    My kid throws here Leapstet down & rarely uses a computer. She perverse her dolls & Batman Toys & Loving Family Dollhouse. She is still in love w/ her VCR TV! Hey if its not broke don't fix it! She even plays w/ my old toys from the 70's! Today's kids need to go outside & use a pogo stick like my 5yr. Instead of texting ur friend that lives 3 houses down the street. Go knock on the door & play! Its sick when 7yr old has a better I-Phone than u and spends all day on it!

  5. John Ross

    You should be, because your collectors are leaving you also. I stopped buying when you tooks collectables up to 100 instead of twelve per years and then sets of four special sets, to more. I know why to get the mighty dollar, well guess what, you stopped getting mine!

  6. Aaron S Grincewicz

    So get the auto-transforming Transformers out already! Seriously, Hasbro.

  7. Heather McCollim

    $15 fir a action figure alone. I can goto the $5 & Below store and buy 3 or 4 Action Figures for. $15 and that's the WALMART. Price!

  8. Anonymous

    Was it me this year or the fact that I was going to buy my son which is 9 some legos for christmas and those little piece of plastics are high as crap. It was cheaper to buy a tablet for him rather than paying that much for something he will lose pieces to…. The fact is that people that retail these have lost their minds so its really matter of pricing and not what you think it should cost its how much we want to spend we was the generation that didn't pay much for stuff like that and to see prices of today for the same stuff pushes us away from it…. It cost much of nothing to make things of plastic or even electronics from china or overseas why make us pay for it at your crazy cost that is why you will fail and go bankrupt.

  9. Jacky Pedrosa

    lol, boy do u need a lesson in spelling you better go pick up that leapfrog and use it yourself I mean damn girl I'm not a spelling nazi but your comments is all f'd up lmao you didn't misspell u just used all the wrong damn words altogether!

  10. Jacky Pedrosa

    Well to be honest hasbro and mattel need to get technoligized ( not a real word I think, I made it up sue me) Its the parents fault letting their little kiddos play with adult toys ( get your minds out the gutter) when I was young no one would let me play with their big kid toys but back then there was no technology( this was before cellphones, pcs and consoles) wait chill out I'm not that old. my caretakers wouldn't let me play me with things that weren't age appropriate. When I got older that's when Nintendo came out and boy I was hooked but I was monitored (something NO ONE DOES THESE DAYS) so when I couldn't play super mario I still had my she-ra dolls and barbies.the kids these days come out the womb connected to the internet chit I think u can download sperm now. (no u can't stupid) I see babies walking around on better phones that I got lmao. It's the parents, they want their kids to be down so they buy them all this expensive crap. my son is 15 and NOW he's into nothing but electronics.I remember when the xmas tree USE to be full of presents back then. The tree was all empty and lonely this year cuz videos games cost so damn much and are so small its not like u can see them under the tree. But these are the times we are in now where babies come out wired so soon dolls and actions figures will be obsolete, aren't board games obsolete yet , chit I haven't heard of any of those games in a minute that are in this article but now I'm just rambling you got my point right.

  11. Arlene DayumrightIgotanopinion Jones

    I watched this evenng as my daughter's boyfriend's 6-yr-old played with a bow and arrow from Brave as well as wearing the frilly red wig. Her imagination was on overload as she claimed to be hunting a bear, then a Xmas tree. I watched while another even younger child enjoyed playing more with the empty boxes than the toys. I must concur with others that it is up to parents to expand the children's imagination and most video and electronic games are just minature boob tubes.

  12. Edwin Lamb

    The point of toys it to teach and entertain, if higher technology can do both why would you not allow your child do it? As long as you keep in it check so its not over used and potentially hurts their attention span, then do it. As far as imagination goes, a barbie doll tells you or suggest what you should be, something like a furby teaches you what you can learn or teach to something. The furby wins, the ipad, smart phone win. They allow us to be more than what is being told to us to be.

  13. Ben Stewart

    It's guardians' flaw, perhaps assuming that they could stop hinging on tech and urge youngsters to utilize their visions…

  14. Sourabh Sharma

    I must concur with others that it is up to parents to expand the children's imagination and most video and electronic games are just miniature boob tubes.
    WOW Kart

  15. Jamie Basch

    I don't want them to bring technology to what should be simple and good pretend play fun! My child needs creativity, not an I-Pad, I-Phone, I-don'tliketoparentsoiwillgivemykidtechnologytomakeiteasier, device. You know, the other day on the radio I heard a commercial for the Kindle Fire where the parent says, "I can drink a cup of coffee and read the newspaper, while he watches that Fish movie for the thousandth time". Come on! Parent your children instead of allowing electronic devices to do this for you! That's one of the many problems with America today!

    P.S. I'm not some anti-electronics person, my child watches some TV, has used the I-Pad (ours NOT her own) — but all in moderation!

  16. Anonymous

    Good Job Parents! Raise those zombies! I am pretty sure a nice chunk of todays parents would rather force mid numbing video games or movies onto their children rather than make them cook, draw, read a book or be creative. I have seen more and more people with children hand over cash or pawn their children onto someone else rather than raise their children… Keep it up good parents of America!

  17. Mike Chary

    Surely Mattle will just upits production of the M-16 in preparation for the NRA panic stockpiling…

  18. Eileen Regan Dilbeck

    I tell my children all the time to use their imaginations. Don't have that $130 playhouse-build your own using books. No hot wheels racetrack- line up crayons and use rulers for ramps. I did! Kids have to be introduced to creativity and imagination and it's up to their parents to START the process! I did not buy my kids HD Tablets so they could look @ books, I sit down and read to them. It's PARENTS who have to quit being lazy!

  19. Heather Johnson

    Not in my house! My daughter did get a toddler case for the iPad that we, her parents, already own. But she also got building blocks, alphabet blocks, rubber ducks, pound-a-peg, puzzles, books, a tricycle, a toddler drum set, bells, a xylophone, and a plethora of other non-tech toys. I very much dislike overly-tech toys, so my daughter will be getting very few.

  20. Suzi Satterfield Simola

    I love tech toys, and there was a new iPad this year… For my husband. With a LifeProof case. I got the older iPad and awesome case, and my kid will share it with me… but it's not his. For Christmas, we did a whole lot of Thomas the Train stuff and Fisher Price.

  21. Johnny Brist

    Texting their friends all day is not imagination, nor is watching movies or playing video games. Also they are way overused! You see kids out at lunch or dinner, and guess what the whole time they are playing a game or doing something on a phone or tablet. No talking to their siblings, no talking to their parents, no just enjoying a restaurant. It's sickening and part of the downfall of society. Everyone may think these gadgets are the most, but they are turning people into zombies, lowering IQ, and causing ADD!!

  22. Johnny Brist

    The gadgets are making zombies of adults and children, I don't know why you would say that. I bet these kids will need glasses by the age of 9 because of looking at tiny phone or tablet screens. These devices, as will social media, are not the savior of mankind, instead they are it's downfall. Look at Rome, and learn from what happened! But no, let's all drink the Koolaid!!

  23. John Smart

    two great companys I grow up on is mattel and hasbro, what, s going on , i don, t no, there, s one thing i, m going to keep on doing is keep buying mattels and hasbro toys.

  24. Chris Greenhough

    With respect Johnny, I think you're being a tad hysterical here. Nobody's suggesting it's right to plop a kid down in front of a screen for 12 hours a day, but I believe movies, video games and other media – in moderation – can greatly aid kids.

    My partner's children (4 and 6) usually have anywhere between 1 – 3 hours of "screen time" a day, and they're far from "zombies". They also love crafting, painting, playing outdoors, being taken to the park and playing on their own or together. The 6-year-old has a considerable love for reading (don't worry – she reads print books as well as screens). They're generally very outgoing and verbose children. We talk to them a lot and don't hold off bigger words. We're definitely not perfect guardians, but eh, they seem healthy, happy and curious about the world.

    Movies can inspire, introduce moral concepts and, yes, entertain (we're not against entertaining, right?), while video games are great for teaching kids sportsmanship, sharing, lateral thinking and can be fun when played as a family (personally, I like playing alone as well – I'm just saying, they can be great for bonding).

    Again, I'm not a believer in putting kids in front of a TV for 12 hours a day, but your own perspective, IMO, leans too far the other way. Just because our 4-year-old uses an iPad for (on average) 30 minutes a day doesn't mean he automatically becomes a mute zombie.

  25. Suzanne Rosenorn

    Both companies have made zillions. Time to go quietly into the nite.

  26. Anonymous

    Johnny Brist First of all, eyesight being ruined by screens is a myth today. It's based on the incredibly high amounts of radiation from early TV sets in the 1960s. But tablet and smartphone screens are very, very safe; worst case scenario is eye strain. It's common sense for the parent there.

    Secondly, interactive entertainment has been scientifically proven to BOOST the imagination, creativity, and intelligence of a young child. Compare this to the age of static "cartoons" (and the promotional supplements known as "action figures"), I'd say we're in a pretty great time, with loads of potential. Children will continue to display imaginative minds with make-believe and role-playing behavior.

    So when comes down to it, it's the responsibility of the parent, and globally the responsibility of society, to make healthy environmental decisions for our posterity.

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