PhotoWhat's going to be the hot toy this holiday season? Amazon.com says it's hard to narrow it down to one or two items. The online retailer has released its holiday toy list, with hundreds of items covering a wide range of interests.

Instead of individual toys, Amazon has recognized several trends. The first centers on toys in the STEM category.

Since young people are being encouraged to explore careers relating to science, technology, engineering, and math, toy companies are providing toys that may get kids excited about learning. Earlier this year, Amazon said it launched a STEM Toys & Games Store which features the Meccano Mecca Noid G15 KS, the Thames & Kosmos Remote-Control Machines: Space Explorers Science Kit, and many more STEM products.

Hollywood influence

There will also be plenty of toys connected to popular movies. Products include the Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda Toy and Play-Doh Star Wars Millennium Falcon, which Amazon says are already big hits with customers.

In addition, the summer blockbuster movie Jurassic World and holiday release of Disney’s Good Dinosaur are expected to stoke interest in dinosaur toys like the Playskool Heroes Jurassic World Dino Tracker and WowWee MiP Robot Miposaur.

Kids might seem completely uninterested in their parents' childhoods, but Amazon says it knows better. It's predicting a line of retro-themed toys will be hot this season.

The company says it expects to sell classic arts and crafts kits like the Spirograph Deluxe Kit and ride-ons like the Radio Flyer Deluxe Steer and Stroll Trike, if not for kids then maybe for a few parents.

“We are super excited about the products featured on our Holiday Toy List this year, from popular STEM toys that educate and inspire the young scientist to our favorite movie characters that ignite the imagination in your aspiring actor or author,” said Eva Lorenz, Category Leader of Toys & Games for Amazon.com. “The Holiday Toy List, which now features Amazon Wish List functionality and even more editorial content, makes shopping easier for parents and gift-givers so they can spend more time with their loved ones during the busy holiday season.”

Sales expected to rise

While the toys are waiting, it remains to be seen just how many end up under the tree this year. Retail sales have hit a sluggish patch lately, as consumers have been saving, not spending, the money they are saving on gasoline.

Maybe they're saving up for a Christmas shopping spree. Then again, maybe not.

In its latest forecast, the National Retail Federation said it expects sales in November and December to rise a modest 3.7% over last year. While that's significantly higher than the 10-year average of 2.5%, it doesn't keep pace with 2014, when sales were up 4.1%.

The news is better for online retailers like Amazon, however. The Federation forecasts online sales to increase between 6% and 8% to as much as $105 billion.


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