Top Xmas Toys

Based on the top selling items they are missing the "zhu zhu pets" audience and many of the other items listed on their competitors websites as popular selling products.

So Christmas Day 2009 is 5 days away but does that doesn’t mean its too late for online retailers who are trying to push guaranteed delivery spots for last minute buyers.  We focus was made on the US market as it is far ahead in online retail and also has a larger amount of search traffic for analysis.
What is interesting is that with all this discussion around Toys R Us making this years Zhu Zhu Pets hot and also securing the most available stock was hot little this affected online interest in search queries.
Another interesting point is that Zhu Zhu pets unlike Eyeclops Night Vision did not generate a significant amount of interesting outside of the US/Canada.
Also we can see that of the top search terms, or even the rising search terms for the past 7 days it didn’t feature, so have parents given up on trying to buy them or were they just over hyped?
Top Toys search terms last 7 days in USA
  1. toys for tots
  2. kids toys
  3. christmas toys
  4. best toys
  5. toys for kids
  6. toys for christmas
  7. toys for boys
  8. top toys
  9. girls toys
  10. baby toys
Rising Toy Searches
  1. Avatar toys
  2. Parents toys
  3. Salvation army
  4. RC toys
  5. Haba toys
  6. Green toys

Avatar Toys?
It is surprising that considering the amount of money spent on advertising Avatar that more wasn’t spent around the promotion of its toys as it was released so close to Christmas.  Even a google search for “Avatar toys” only shows 1 AdWords campaign running by MR Toys.

With the initial hype in July 2009 around Mattel’s New Web-Enabled “Avatar” Toys Will Offer Augmented Reality very little appears to have been pushed or promoted and a must have toy for Christmas might have been missed by Mattel.

It does show the official Avatar i-Tag website but they have failed to use any descriptive title tags or meta descriptions to explain its relevance. The only retail toy sites to show are:


Best way to sort toys?

So having the ability to sort and filter toys is one of the areas that many of the local online retail stores fall down. Even some of the bigger US sites still seem to struggle to match the usability of or upcoming sites like

While eToys & Walmart miss 2 key features “best seller” and “top rated” toys filter that can make shopping for presents that much easier.  But both which is owned by Toys R US and do actually follow a very similar process for finding gifts, using age based avatars. But eToys does a better job at selecting images and making them large enough to be able to see the child.

But while eToys does as a much better job as visually displaying the options its website also goes about breaking almost all onsite guidelines for search optimisation, but because of its design they likely convert online sales higher than Walmart.

The one store that seems to excel at combining both is that while dropping the graphically shop by age pictures, does use a gradient colour scale to that darkens at the age/price increases.  They also have the ability to sort toys by age brackets with pricing guidance selectable from a top level which reduces an extra step in the search process.  The 3 large shop by price buttons are very clear and easy to find as is the ability to find best selling toys by category which and eToys don’t offer.

It is likely that the price breaks have changed since last year with many clients seeing a decrease in average price of items purchased but an increase in total number of items purchased.  It would be interesting to find how many of’s online sales are above $50 and have they even got the price breaks correct?

Shown below is the Australian online store for Toys R Us which falls well short of its competitors, and its selection of Top 10 picks don’t seem to be supported by any other data such as top selling items, most popular items, more of a staff/company list of the crap they want to offload online. The website design standards is far below its competitors, and for a company looking to increase profitability I would expect more than 50 cents spent on webdesign….

The website that continues to offer the best online experience for filtering and sorting its vast inventory with a single click is Amazon, and it also provides a helpful sales chart.  This chart of top items is ranked, complete with indicator of current trend increasing/decreasing popularity and also how long it has been featured in the top 100.  This is useful for being able to ensure you don’t buy last years version of the toy by accident and also shows the continuing popularity of items such as Lego that have been in the top 100 for almost the last 2 years.

The next best website to be able combine both easy filters to find the right toys by price/gender/age and also include “top sellers” information was  The cool point is the easy and quick loading “quick info” mini-detail pages that are available which don’t require you to leave the page to view product information. The let down is the Google Adsense that is showing in the bottom at the “narrow by” filters which may distract from the user experience.

The final site that seems to fail to follow its eToy model of making it easy to find toys is Toys R US.  One of the more useful features “top sellers” is hidden at the bottom of the “top rated” page.  While the website tries to be basic, it seems to lack any actual business model, and seems to be more of an land of banner ads and confusing cross promotion offers.  The only saving grace is the easy to view and fast loading “top sellers page” as it informs you if the product is in stock and what unique promotion is relevant to that item.  The “top sellers” page also like the Australian version doesn’t provide any filters or any details about how the top sellers data was generated.
Based on the top selling items they are missing the “zhu zhu pets” audience they have been promoting and many of the other items listed on their competitors websites as popular selling products.  It is likely that this relates to the typically demographic that visit Toys R Us stores, not looking for high-tech just the basics at a reasonable price.  It seems that along with their recent purchase of a number of specialty/traditional toy stores they have also attracted more of these shoppers online and missed out on the high-tech high profit toys like the Amazon Kindle or iPhone.

One followup blog post we have discovered while doing research for this post and will have written up is around how WalMart fails at online marketing. So remember don’t believe all the hype that you read about what is the must have toy of the year, and remember to use the online stores that offer you the best value and easiest experience.