Why are Parents Telling their Kids that Hatchimals are Going Extinct?
Since bursting onto the scene in early October, Hatchimals have quickly been established as the hottest toy of the holiday season – much to the surprise of the toy’s maker, Canadian-based Spin Master.
The fuzzy toys (which resemble a Furby) come in five different ‘species’ and arrive in a brightly spotted egg. Rubbing, tapping, and warming the egg results in the toy eventually ‘hatching’. “[Coaxing a creature out of its shell] resonates very well with kids,” remarked James Martin, Senior Vice President and Head of Global Business at Spin Master. “They don’t know what’s inside and they get excited about what they may get. There’s this anticipation that builds.”
So far, the toys have caused a veritable frenzy, with parents of children up to 12 years old finding themselves in a desperate hunt for the increasingly elusive toys. “By all analyses, we thought we had enough,” continued Martin. “We had no idea that it would be this big. It’s been exciting but it’s also been daunting as we try to catch up and fill that demand.”
Indeed, visitors to the Hatchimals site are greeted with a pop-up message from Spin Master thanking them for their interest (which has far exceeded expectations), stating that while the toys continue to sell out quickly, it is not their intention to disappoint and that “in the meantime, [Spin Master has] created an online resource center to help kids and their parents during the wait.”
While the thrill of the chase is certainly a contributing factor to the making of a hit toy, the scarcity of the product and the overly-inflated prices is driving consumers to other methods of purchase. Not only are desperate parents willing to wait in long lines, but they’re signing up for waiting lists, downloading apps to notify them of restocks, and even buying lottery tickets for a chance to snag the popular toy. Spin Master is even partnering with some of their retailers to develop pre-sale and/or rain-check programs for redemption in January. Meanwhile, profiteers on Amazon and eBay are asking for up to three times the retail price.
Some parents are pulling themselves out of the race entirely though, by curbing their children’s expectations for Christmas. A ‘message from Santa’ himself went viral last week, asking children to protect the ‘species’ from going extinct by asking for something else instead:
Image via Facebook
For those still hopeful, Spin Master’s remaining stock is currently on its way via airfreight from factories in China – a rare occurrence in retail, as it costs the company a ton of money up-front. As Gerrick Johnson, Equity Research Analyst at BMO Capital Markets in New York explains, this is par for the course when it comes to a holiday fad. “It’s a hit-driven industry and this is an expensive item, which really tend to sell only at holiday time. That’s why the company is willing to airfreight… in order to capture those spending dollars now; rarely do you have an item like this that works two seasons in a row.”
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