If you have ever had to wrestle your iPad from your child’s clutches, you know that kids love playing on tablets and smartphones. The trend has not been missed by toymakers. They know that even before a child can read or speak, they have an affinity for these devices.
Enter the biggest trend at this year’s American International Toy Fair: toys that are either based on apps, or can be used with tablets and smartphones. The trend began last year, but this year the volume of products in this category will explode.
Some see the emerging trend as a way for toy companies to woo children back to their products, but others expect these technologies also can be used to enhance classic children’s play.
Whatever side you’re on, it is still too early to know what kids will think of these products and which ones will stand out in the crowd.
Already, several basic approaches to this market have sprung up. Some toymakers are using physical toys to interact with smartphones and tablets, while others are using apps to strengthen their brands by carving out a space for them in the virtual world. Another group is recognizing that these brands are an important pop culture phenomenon and are developing toys that bring these virtual characters and games to life in the real world.
Click ahead to see some ways tech, toys and tablets are melding together.
By Christina Cheddar-Berk
Posted 21 February 2012
“Play Happens” is the motto you see splattered on signs as you walk around the American International Toy Fair at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York, and indeed it does. That might be why the mood remained upbeat at the 2012 Toy Fair, despite coming off another year of weak sales.
U.S. retail sales of toys generated $21.18 billion in 2011, a 2 percent decline from the $21.68 billion in toy sales rung up in 2010, according to market researcher NPD Group. Of course the decline was not even; sales of licensed toys bucked the trend, rising 2 percent in dollar sales; and there were some brands such as Mattel’s Barbie and Crayola that continued to turn in a strong performance.
Classic toys such as building sets and dolls saw the most significant sales gains, 23 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
But to stay relevant, toymakers are looking to new products to excite shoppers and get them to buy, and that’s what Toy Fair is all about. Click ahead to see some of the coolest toys from Toy Fair 2012.
By Christina Cheddar-Berk,
Posted 15 February 2012
Models wearing cutting-edge designs are hitting the runways at New York's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which is in its fourth season at Lincoln Center.
Thousands of fashion-industry insiders are in New York through Feb. 16 to see 90 of fashion’s most well-respected and emerging designers present their collections for the upcoming Fall season. Fashion trend forecasters expect designs to emphasize simplicity and employ more feminine shapes and fabrics.
Although the economy has shown signs of rebounding, industry experts say consumers still seem cautious about planning their luxury purchases.
High fashion continues to take note of consumers who wish to buy big names on a not-so-big budget. Several designers, including Jason Wu, Missoni, and Nicole Miller, have collaborated with mass-market retailers to offer collections with lower price points.
Click ahead for some highlights from the New York Fall 2012 fashion show.
By Katie LittlePosted 10 Feb 2012
Updated 13 Feb 2012
Love may be blind — but it’s not free. In fact, Americans are planning to spend big bucks this Valentine’s Day to show their significant others that they care, according to a new report.
The National Retail Federation forecasts that love-struck consumers will spend 8.5 percent more on Valentine’s Day this year, bringing the average spending to $126.03 per person, or a total of $17.6 billion.
Men will once again be the big spenders, shelling out almost twice as much for women in the elusive hunt for the ideal gift, the NRF said.
But once Cupid has helped you snag your true love, where do you buy the present that will make your other half swoon. To help you out, we’ve found a variety of “his” and “hers” gifts — for whatever type of sweetie is in your life.
Click ahead to see some Valentine’s Day gift ideas.
By Katie LittlePosted 1 Feb 2012
After the recession hit, cautious Americans were not exactly running to break out the fishing tackle box and shell out cash for a new boat. In fact, new boat sales plunged about 55 percent as boaters scaled back their spending and bought pre-owned models instead.
But as the winter boat show season began in New York City on Jan. 4, manufacturers and dealers have reason to be optimistic. Consumers appear to be testing the boat-buying waters again, and industry officials predict new boat sales will have ended 2011 higher for the first time in five years.
Because industry sales are still slow, this could be an ideal time to take a dip in the market.
Click ahead for highlights from this year's New York boat show.
By Katie Little
Posted 6 January 2012
You’ve done it again. You’ve run out of time and ideas — and you need those gifts now!
I’ve already shared with you my list of the Best Books for the Holidays — but sometimes words aren’t enough. In fact, sometimes words are too much and what you really want from a great book...are great pictures.
What you need, then, is that perfect coffee table book that will sweep those “hard-to-buy-for” people off their feet — transporting them to another place, giving them hours of joy just flipping through the pictures.
Click ahead to see some great ideas for that traveler, cat lover, adventurer, movie fan, nature lover, foodie, or fashionista on your list.
By Gloria McDonough-Taub
Posted 16 December 2011
This holiday season companies are shying away from traditional pricey holiday gift giving, and sticking to an economical approach. With company budgets still tight for some, gift givers are looking for the most cost-effective, charitable, or personal gifts to send this year.
Though skipping client gift giving altogether is not recommended, experts say sending gifts can positively impact client and company relations, and leave a lasting impression on recipients. Saying thanks and taking a moment to spread some holiday cheer can be accomplished in less time than ever this year. It's even easier than ever to find gifts that can be personalized for your clients, and you may want to consider branding your gift. Both of these touches can help form an emotional bond with your customers.
Here’s a look at some of this season's most popular and easily accessible corporate gift giving products that will impress your clients and ensure a timely delivery.
By Jennifer Zabasajja
Posted 06 Decemebr 2011
Please pass the peas — and the wallet — Thanksgiving dinner will cost quite a bit more this year.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s survey, turkey dinner and all the fixings will cost about $49.20, or about 13 percent more than it did last year.
That’s the biggest increase in years. Blame the recent boom in crop and livestock prices, which pushed up the cost of nearly every item on the Thanksgiving shopping list.
Prices for commodities have risen due to poor weather, which shrank the size of U.S. crops, and retailers are being more aggressive about passing those costs along to consumers.
Click ahead to see how the costs break down per item. All costs are based on the prices collected by 141 volunteer shoppers in 35 states, who are asked by the AFBF to hunt for the least expensive prices, but not take advantage of promotional coupons or other purchase deals.
By Christina Cheddar-Berk,
Posted 21 November 2011
Holiday tipping time is here. If you’re looking for advice on how much to give and who should be on your list, we’ve got you covered.
We asked experts including Diane Gottsman of The Protocol School of Texas for some guidelines. Plus, what to do when you can’t give as much as you’d like.
Click ahead to see who gets what.
By Heesun Wee
Posted 18 November 2011
The holidays are a great time to show your loved ones how much you care, but why limit these sentiments to once a year? Instead, you can send them love all year round by purchasing gift-of-the-month specials from retailers such as J. Crew and Jacques Torres.
To join these clubs, there is no secret password or embarrassing initiation process, but be warned: You may have to splurge a little.
Click ahead to see some unique gifts you can give all year long.
By Kirsten Chang
Posted 17 November 2011
Christina Cheddar Berk is assistant managing editor of Enterprise coverage at CNBC Digital.
Courtney Reagan is CNBC's Retail Reporter.
Tom is a Senior Editor and Assignment Desk Manager for CNBC TV. He also writes about the business of beer for CNBC.com.
Stephanie Landsman is one of the producers of "Fast Money."
San Francisco Bureau Chief at CNBC