Children’s Books and Games for Video Consoles Are Tops in Toy Buying Intent This Holiday Season

    New York, N.Y. – November 16, 2011 – The stores’ circulars are out and the commercials have definitely started. It’s the time of year when kids start their holiday gift lists and are sometimes more interested in the commercials rather than the television shows themselves. And, those who purchase gifts for kids are listening. Half of Americans (51%) say they will be purchasing toys as gifts this holiday season, while two in five (40%) will not and one in ten (9%) are not sure. As one might expect, whether there is a child in the household does impact purchase intent – three-quarters of those with a child in the household (72%) say they plan to purchase toys compared to 42% of those without a child in the household.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,463 adults surveyed online between October 10 and 17, 2011.

    Toy manufacturers should expect slightly less in terms of sales when compared to the last two years. In 2009 and 2010 over half of Americans (54% and 53% respectively) said they were planning to purchase toys as gifts, so this year is just slight decline.

    Spending on toys compared to last year

    In terms of how much people will spend, the economy is still taking its toll on holiday spending. While more than two in five toy purchasers (46%) say their spending will be no different than last year, over one-third (35%) say they will spend less than they did last year while 16% say they will spend more than they did last year. Among those toy purchasers with a child in the household 16% say they will spend more than they did last year, over two in five (43%) say their spend will be no different and two in five (39%) say they will spend less than they did last year.

    Toys to be purchased this year

    When it comes to the toys children will be unwrapping this holiday season, it seems books, video games and arts and crafts projects will top the list. Over two in five toy purchasers (45%) say they will purchase children’s books, while one-third will buy games for consoles (33%) and three in ten will buy arts and crafts (29%). One-quarter (25%) will purchase board games and dolls (25%) as gifts. Just over one in five will purchase building blocks and bricks (23%), one in five will purchase handheld electronic games (20%) and sports equipment (19 %) while 7% will purchase game consoles. One-quarter will purchase something else in terms of toys for kids (25%) and one in five are just not sure (20%).

    For those with a 0-2 year old in the household, children’s books clearly top the list (69%), followed by dolls (52%) and building blocks and bricks (51%). For those with a 3-5 year old in the household, children’s books are tops (62%), then arts and crafts (44%) and dolls (41%) while for those with a 6-9 year old, it’s still children’s books on top (59%), then games for consoles (52%) and board games (45%). Looking at those with a tween (ages 10-12) in the household, they are purchasing games for consoles (67%), then children’s books (43%) and board games (41%) while those with a teen (13-17) are buying games for consoles (62%), sports equipment (37%) and children’s books (34%).

    Where people are shopping for toys

    In terms of where these toy dollars will be spent, over half of toy purchasers will be mostly shopping for toys at large discount stores (56%), while over one-quarter (27%) will mostly shop online for toys this year. One in ten (10%) will mostly shop at a national toy retail chain store while 4% will shop at a local, privately owned specialty toy store. Women are more likely to shop mostly at a large discount store for toys (61% vs. 50% of men) while men are more likely to shop for toys at a national toy store retail chain (14% vs. 6% of women).

    So what?

    While the holiday season is a joyous time for so many, it is an especially happy one for the children. And, one of those reasons is that it is when their holiday wish lists get written and, if they were good boys and girls, answered. This year, books and games are top for purchasing so hopefully those are on the top of the wish lists!

     

    TABLE 1

    HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING

    Thinking now of this holiday season, are you planning on purchasing toys as gifts this year?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Child in household

    Households with children

    Households without children

    %

    %

    %

    WILL PURCHASE (NET)

    51

    72

    42

    Definitely will purchase

    26

    48

    16

    Probably will purchase

    26

    24

    26

    WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

    40

    22

    48

    Probably will not purchase

    20

    14

    23

    Definitely will not purchase

    20

    8

    25

    Not sure

    9

    6

    10

    Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 2

    HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING – TREND

    Thinking now of this holiday season, are you planning on purchasing toys as gifts this year?

    Base: All adults

    2008

    2009

    2010

    2011

    %

    %

    %

    %

    WILL PURCHASE (NET)

    47

    54

    53

    51

    Definitely will purchase

    19

    26

    24

    26

    Probably will purchase

    28

    28

    29

    26

    WILL NOT PURCHASE (NET)

    41

    36

    40

    40

    Probably will not purchase

    22

    18

    19

    20

    Definitely will not purchase

    19

    18

    21

    20

    Not sure

    12

    10

    7

    9

    Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 3

    HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING SPEND COMPARED TO LAST YEAR

    Compared to the amount you spent for toy purchases last year, will the toy purchases you make this year be…?

    Base: Will purchase toys

     

    Total

    Child in household

    Household income

    With children

    Without children

    $34,9k Or less

    $35k – $49.9k

    $50k – $74.9k

    $75k-$99.9k

    $100k+

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    MORE THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

    16

    16

    15

    18

    7

    18

    17

    16

    Much more than last year

    3

    4

    1

    3

    1

    2

    3

    3

    Somewhat more than last year

    13

    12

    14

    14

    7

    16

    14

    13

    No different than last year

    46

    43

    48

    36

    40

    46

    51

    56

    LESS THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

    35

    39

    33

    41

    52

    35

    27

    27

    Somewhat less than last year

    27

    29

    25

    24

    31

    29

    26

    24

    Much less than last year

    9

    9

    8

    17

    21

    6

    1

    3

    Did not purchase toys last year

    3

    3

    3

    5

    1

    1

    5

    1

    Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 4

    HOLIDAY TOY PURCHASING SPEND COMPARED TO LAST YEAR – TREND

    Compared to the amount you spent for toy purchases last year, will the toy purchases you make this year be…?

    Base: Will purchase toys

     

    2008

    2009

    2010

    2011

    %

    %

    %

    %

    MORE THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

    16

    16

    15

    16

    Much more than last year

    2

    4

    5

    3

    Somewhat more than last year

    13

    12

    11

    13

    No different than last year

    36

    41

    44

    46

    LESS THAN LAST YEAR (NET)

    44

    39

    37

    35

    Somewhat less than last year

    26

    25

    25

    27

    Much less than last year

    18

    14

    12

    9

    Did not purchase toys last year

    4

    3

    3

    3

    Note: Percentages may not add up to exactly 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 5

    TYPES OF TOYS TO BE PURCHASED THIS YEAR

    What types of toys will you purchase this year?

    Base: Will purchase toys

     

    Total

    Child in household and age

    Gender

    2 years or less

    3-5 years old

    6-9 years old

    10-12 years old

    13-17 years old

    No child in HH

    Men

    Women

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Children’s books

    45

    69

    62

    59

    43

    34

    39

    40

    49

    Games for consoles

    33

    21

    34

    52

    67

    62

    26

    36

    30

    Arts and crafts

    29

    38

    44

    33

    30

    28

    27

    27

    32

    Board games

    25

    22

    38

    45

    41

    26

    21

    23

    28

    Dolls

    25

    52

    41

    29

    27

    27

    20

    24

    26

    Building blocks and bricks

    23

    51

    33

    21

    16

    22

    21

    23

    23

    Handheld electronic games

    20

    19

    26

    29

    35

    22

    16

    25

    15

    Sports equipment

    19

    18

    20

    25

    36

    37

    15

    23

    14

    Game consoles

    7

    3

    9

    10

    16

    13

    5

    8

    7

    Something else

    25

    32

    34

    34

    27

    35

    21

    22

    28

    Not sure

    20

    9

    6

    7

    11

    10

    26

    20

    20

    Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

     

    TABLE 6

    WHERE TOYS WILL BE PURCHASED THIS YEAR

    Where will you shop the most for toys?

    Base: Will purchase toys

     

    Total

    Child in household

    Gender

    With children

    Without children

    Men

    Women

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Large discount store (such as Walmart or K-Mart)

    56

    55

    56

    50

    61

    Online

    27

    27

    27

    28

    26

    National toy store retail chain

    10

    11

    9

    14

    6

    Local, privately owned specialty toy store

    4

    5

    3

    4

    3

    Other location

    4

    2

    5

    4

    4

    Note: Multiple Responses Allowed

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between October 10 to 17, 2011 among 2,463 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40806

    Q955, 960, 965, 970, 975

    The Harris Poll® #119, November 16, 2011

    By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research