Every year on the last day of summer the folks at Toys R Us kick off the unofficial beginning of holiday gift shopping with their list of the hottest toys for the upcoming season. The top toys are fondly referred to as the Fabulous 15; and Toys R Us this year has expanded the list to include another 28 must-haves.
Here at ShopAdvisor, we watched ten toys from the 2011 edition of the Fabulous 15, and we saw a lot of price fluctuation throughout October-November-December. From the highs to the lows, we saw prices dip below their initial price when the Fab 15 list first appeared an aggregate of 18%. That means if you had been watching closely enough and had purchased all ten products at their nadir, you would have saved almost one-fifth on your holiday budget, spending $303 instead of $368. Rock Me Elmo was the biggest price-dropper, starting at $60 and regularly dropping for for twelve weeks until it dipped under $30. For Elmo, watching and waiting was the way to go.
Another toy on the Toys R Us Fabulous Fifteen list from 2011 was the Legos Ninjago Limited Edition Set Lightning Dragon Battle, whose price history chart tells an altogether different story. The best deal for this toy was in the mid-$60’s to mid-$70s for almost two months. Then, on the eve of Black Friday, its price path began to resemble that of a battle dragon bobbing and weaving. It could be found for $60 for 2 days (Dec. 15-16), and reached as high as $110 twice (Nov. 30, and Dec. 8).
And, while it would have been nice to be the smart shopper who picked up the Dragon Battle for $60, the more frightful prospect was perhaps pulling the trigger at the heights of $110, overpaying by more than 50% the “regular” price of $72.
Overall, the $368 worth of items we tracked on the 2011 Toys R Us Fabulous 15 list spiked as high as $574 on their worst days, a full 56% over their initial price when the list was first announced.
Consumers differ: some are motivated by the thrill of a shopping victory of getting the right gift at the best price. Others shop in fear and loathing of not knowing if the price they are paying today is at a one-day all-time high. One source of comfort to those who bought the Ninjago Battle Dragon for $110: the price today is $169. Thrill-seekers and pain-avoiders alike use ShopAdvisor to help them get the right deal.
Now that summer 2012 has ended, we’ll be taking another look at the Toys R Us list this season and tracking its up and down path until the end of the year. Keep Watching.