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When eager consumers begin shopping at midnight on Black Friday, they may be disappointed to find that the toys on their children's wish lists are not available on store shelves. According to data from trade intelligence provider Panjiva, only a few of the items on this year's hot holiday toy lists experienced shipment spikes in the months leading up to the holiday, and the total number of shipments was far lower than in previous years.
Typically, August through October is when most holiday shipments arrive at U.S. ports in order to be at retailers in time for the holidays. During this period, the "it" holiday toys generally receive at least 300 shipments. In 2009, shipments of toys associated with the popular Toy Story franchise surpassed 500 and the hyped toys of 2010, Squinkies, Paper Jamz and Zoobles, experienced 305, 312 and 312 shipments, respectively. Shipments have yet to reach this level in 2011.
Monster High products, which are a brand of fashion dolls and accessories inspired by famous monsters, have the most shipments, with 277. Lalaloopsy dolls and the butterfly-catching game Elefun are also projected to be big this year, but received only 167 and 98 shipments, respectively. Angry Birds merchandise, Pillow Pets and the perennial favorite Elmo - which introduced a new version this year - are among other toys that have been receiving buzz but may lack the shipment volume necessary to fulfill needs.
However, shipments of classic toys, including Barbie, Lego and Hot Wheels, experienced record growth in shipments in 2011. In fact, shipments of Barbie dolls and accessories far surpass the popular dolls on this year's list - Barbie saw almost 10 times as many shipments of Monster High and over 15 times the number of shipments of Lalaloopsy.
"Children will have to be extra good - and really lucky - to be unwrapping this year's hottest toys," said Panjiva CEO Josh Green. "Shipments of the most-talked-about toys are unusually low, which not only means that eager parents may have trouble finding the goods, but also that retailers may be playing it safe by putting the majority of their investment into proven toys they know will sell."
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