Christmas toys 2015: this year's top 12 revealed
Disney's Elsa from the hit 2013 film Frozen and new Star Wars Force Awakens characters hold hands with old favourites from Thunderbirds in this year's list of "Dream Toys" for Christmas.
The list, compiled by the Toy Retailers Association, highlights the toys the industry believes children will be begging Santa (and parents) for this year.
The main list features plenty of technology-fuelled toys but also contains traditional sets from the likes of Lego as well as a fun new twist on the board game in the form of "Pie Face" - a game of suspense in which people compete not to be the unlucky one who ends up slapped in the face with a custard pie.
But notably absent from this year's top 12 toys are children's tablets, cameras and smart watches - categories that have been prominent in previous years and dominated by manufacturers VTech and Leapfrog. Perhaps children have had enough of pretending to use tablets and are now using the real thing, in the shape of Mummy and Daddy's iPad!
This year's toys are now dominated by blockbuster licenses, with Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Marvel superheroes, and the Minions all featuring across different toy manufacturers - either on the main list of 12 dream toys or the other categories of toys expected to be popular in Christmas 2015.
Sing-A-Long Elsa allows children to sing Let It Go alongside a toddler doll version of Elsa (complete with glittery microphone), while evil villain Kylo Ren's command shuttle from the forthcoming Star Wars film should also get young movie fans excited.
Each year, the list of Dream Toys has proven an uncannily accurate barometer of the festive season's hottest toys. It's no surprise when the panel of retailers surveyed include Argos, Boots, Selfridges, Smyths Toys, The Entertainer, TK Maxx and Toys R Us.
Toys are indeed big business. Frederique Tutt, Toys Global Industry Analyst for the NPD Group, explains: "The British toy industry enters Christmas peak season hoping for a record year after Disney's Frozen, Minions, and Minecraft have boosted sales by 6% since the beginning of the year. With other licensed merchandise such as Star Wars still to come, the market could grow by over £100 million to reach £3.2 billion by the end of the year."
No wonder toy manufacturers are coining it in: while the cheapest toys on the list of 12 this year cost £19.99, the most expensive is £119.99. Moreover, the TRA's separate lists of other popular toys (across a range of categories such as "Make it, play it, love it" and "Cute, Cuddly & smart") include games, robots and play sets costing up to £349.99.
The TRA says creativity and play value are an important part of the main list this year. Gary Grant, chair of the Dream Toys committee, says: "2015 is going to be a vintage year for toys. While the blockbuster licenses may steal the headlines, it is exciting to see innovation throughout the list, with manufacturers successfully combining this with traditional play in, for example, the IDO3D craft set, and Shopkins has become the new craze of the year."
IDO3D allows kids to draw in 3D, effectively creating their own toys; while Shopkins is a range of fruit and vegetable-themed characters that have a large range of (expensive) accessories, such as this year's Ice Cream Truck dream toy.
The TRA's 2015 list does not exactly mirror the top 10 best-selling toys in the week up to 3 October 2015. That included Lego Minifigures, a Star Wars advent calendar, a Nerf gun and Match Attax trading cards.
However, parents can be fairly sure that the following 12 toys will be the ones to seek out before they fly off the shelves - at least that's what the toy industry hopes.
Christmas 2015 Dream Toys
- Lego City Deep Exploration Vessel: £79.99
- Disney Frozen Sing-A-Long Elsa: £39.99
- IDO3D Deluxe 3D Design Studio: £39.99
- Little Live Pets Cleverkeet: £59.99
- Paw Patrol Paw Patroller: £59.99
- Pie Face: £19.99
- Shopkins Food Fair - Scoops Ice Cream Truck: £19.99
- Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber: £49.99
- Star Wars Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle: £99.99
- Star Wars The Force Awakens Millennium Falcon: £119.99
- Thunderbirds Interactive Tracy Island: £79.99
- Toot-Toot Friends Busy Sounds Discovery Home: £44.99