If you are still trying to get your hands on a Fingerling this holiday season, you may need to get creative.
Fingerlings, plastic monkeys that hang on fingers, blink and respond to touch and sound, have quickly become one of the most sought-after toys of the year, selling out at major retailers across the country. Parents have scrambled to get these mischievous monkeys, resorting to online auction sites and entering into social media giveaways.
The toy was a hit with our young testers, who spent time mimicking the monkey's sounds and swinging the critters on their fingers.
Currently, there are six different colored monkey fingerlings, a unicorn and a sloth, but WowWee, the company behind the hit toy, said it plans on unveiling more species next year.
"We are trying to build a whole line with different animals and accessories," Sydney Wiseman, the brand manager of Fingerlings, told CNBC.
The longevity of the toy and the brand will likely depend on WowWee's ability to deliver new iterations and provide additional accessories alongside its jungle gyms and monkey bars.
Fingerlings have hit a sweet spot between two growing trends in the toy industry, animatronic and interactive pets and collecting. Not to mention, the price is right for parent's wallets, something Wiseman said was part of the development process.
"The tech wasn't small enough a few years ago," she said. "Chips have gotten smaller ... we saw the potential for the line."
Slightly larger animatronic animals have been big sellers for brands. Animatronic horses, in particular, are popular this year. Spin Master's Zoomer line has a robotic horse toy, Mattel rolled out Barbie's Dream Horse and Hasbro has a battery-operated My Little Pony Magic Twilight Sparkle toy. These items sell for $99 and up at retail.
While Fingerlings may not have some of the sophistication of the larger toys, they still offer up more than 40 sounds and interactions, but only cost about $15 each, making them much more affordable and easier to collect.
Collectible toy sales surged 33 percent to $1.8 billion in 2016 from the prior year, NPD said. In the first half of 2017, the robust pace softened a bit, but category sales were up 21 percent to $819 million, the market researcher said.
Fingerlings were the second-fastest-selling toy in September of this year, behind the collectible L.O.L. Surprise! toys from MGA Entertainment, according to the NPD Group. And the little critters continue to fly off shelves.
A manager at Toys R Us in New Jersey told CNBC that new inventory sells out quickly, with most of the products disappearing within the first few hours of being restocked, if not sooner.
Wal-Mart was already feeling the pressure from this hot toy, calling inventory "tight" earlier this month. The retailer now limits customers to two items per trip.
Target appears to be taking similar steps, however, the retailer did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.
(Source: Claire Kilbarger)
The toy, which typically retails for about $14.99, is being marketed on eBay for upwards of $20 to $70 for a single Fingerling and up to $799 for a full set. Holiday exclusives like Gigi the Unicorn and Kingsley the Sloth are being marketed at a slightly higher price than the traditional monkeys.
EBay told CNBC that searches for Fingerlings have climbed over the last few months and grown more than 213 percent since the first week of October. In the week ended Nov. 1, eBay said that one Fingerling was being bought every minute.
Parents scrambling to get their hands on these robotic monkeys may want to exercise caution, however. Last year, many parents were scammed while shopping on digital marketplaces and through Facebook while attempting to procure Hatchimals.
A word of caution: Not all of these social media giveaways are legitimate. So make sure to carefully vet a seller before forking over your hard-earned cash or sharing any of your personal information.
Customers have already alerted WowWee and other retailers about third-party sellers hocking fake Fingerlings on legitimate websites. The toy company has secured a temporary restraining order against 165 sellers that it said were selling counterfeit goods, according to court documents.