In most years, shopping for the most popular toys might present a challenge. But in spite of all the early sales, shoppers may find some of the most sought-after items may still on store shelves.
Just before Black Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that stores were overflowing with Barbies and Lego sets, the holiday season's perennial favorites.
New research from Premium Joy shows that Squishmallows, plush toys that were released in 2017, have apparently surpassed the popularity of several other more established toys like Hot Wheels and Nerf for this holiday season.
Data, based on Google search volumes and Google Trends for the past six months, show that Squishmallows are the most popular holiday toy in 21 states. Hot Wheels and Nerf are the favorite toys in only 10 and six states respectively.
"Each Squishmallow model comes with a unique personality, including a name and a background story, which makes these plush toys distinct and highly collectible," said Hassan Alnassir, founder and owner of Premium Joy. "Knowing that, I wouldn't be much surprised to hear that Squishmallows have become such a hit during the holiday season."
The Toy Insider breaks down the most popular toys in 2022 by age group:
Infants and toddlers - Fisher-Price DJ Boouncin’ Beats; Level Up gaming chair
Pre-school: Barbie Dreamhouse; Bluey Ultimate Lights and Sounds Playhouse
Elementary school - Addison Rae, Delux Music Fashion Doll; Akeda Triple Strike Tag Team Arena
Tweens - Airtitans Jurassic World Massive Attack T-Rex; LEGO Super Mario Adventures with peach starter course
Target has its own list of hot toys that start in price at $14.99. They include the Yahtzee Frenzy Dice & Card game; Kinetic Sand Swirl N' Surprise 2lb Playset; Cool Maker Stitch 'N Style Fashion Studio Sewing Machine toy.
Watch out for scams
In the event that merchants run low on the most popular toys, last-minute toy shoppers need to be aware of dangerous scams. A common trick is to post a fake ad for an in-demand and hard-to-find toy online at what seems like a heavily discounted price.
One consumer posted their experience on a scam-tracking website after they thought they were purchasing a popular Squishmallow for $40. They said they received the product in the mail but said it was counterfeit.
“There are no tags on it and it is of very poor quality,” the consumer reported. I have tried to use the email provided to request a return label and it is not a real email.”
Shoppers can avoid this experience by only shopping at known and trusted stores and online merchants. A discounted price on one of the season’s hot toys could indicate that the seller is not legitimate.