Toy companies plan to reboot old favorites and lower prices to lure shoppers who are struggling to pay for necessities like food and electricity.
At The Play Date trade show in Manhattan on Wednesday, toy makers touted the return of past hits like Fingerlings and the Littlest Pet Shop at discounted prices.
One of the hottest toys six years ago, Fingerlings will be on shelves this summer for $14.99, the same price that Montreal-based WowWee charged in 2017.
“We were going to charge $19.99 for the new Fingerlings and made the decision very recently to lower the price,” said Sydney Wiseman, WowWee vice president of brand development.
“The world has changed and people are very price conscious.”
The lower price comes as the new Fingerlings will feature more bells and whistles than the original version, including 70 different sounds compared with 40, a fuzzy exterior and a glowing heart that lights up when the toy is on a finger.
“It’s expensive to make this,” Wiseman said. “We are taking less margin.”
WowWee will also bring back a robot dog it stopped making in 2019. The toy, which used to be called Chip and sold for $200, will return this summer as Dog-E with an $80 price tag.
Another toy making a comeback is the Littlest Pet Sho, which was first introduced in 1992 and again in 2004.
Basic Fun, which has a licensing deal with Hasbro to produce the collectibles, will charge the same price as 19 years ago — $3.99 for a single figure and $7.99 for a two-pack.
Basic Fun’s production costs for Littlest Pet Shop are also lower than they were years ago as there are more machines making the figures, including one that decorates the formerly hand-painted dolls, said Jay Foreman, the company’s chief executive.
“Toy companies and retailers are working on tighter margins to continue to offer value to consumers in this challenging environment, which likely will continue through the end of this year,” Foreman said.
Toy sales soared during the pandemic as homebound families stocked up on everything from board games to trampolines.
But last year, inflation reached record levels and demand for toys tapered off as the price of staples like eggs soared 70%.
The $40 billion toy industry grew by just 2.7% last year, according to the Toy Association.
“There are real headwinds in 2023,” and the industry is concerned about “the impact on consumers’ discretionary spending,” TA president Steve Pasierb said.
Some companies are even tossing unwanted inventory.
Just last week, Funko said it would “eliminate” up to $36 million worth of their once popular Pop collectibles because people aren’t buying them.
Other toy companies that are launching new products this year are taking a harder look at the Dollar stores.
“A lot of consumers are shopping at those stores first,” Spin Master spokesperson Tammy Smitham told The Post.
“We didn’t have a strategy for [those stores] but we are looking at designing products for that retailer 1678319040.”