AP

Holiday trends to watch: Adult Play-Doh; stores that ship

Nov 26, 2020, 2:27 PM
Holiday shopping 2020...
A KidiZoom Creator Cam by VTech is displayed at the Toy Fair, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in New York. The digital camera comes with a green screen and animated backgrounds allowing kids to go to outer space, get chased by T-Rex, or make things disappear. The camera comes with a tabletop tripod, which can also be used as a selfie stick. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK (AP) — The pandemic is turning this into a holiday shopping season like no other.

Toy companies are targeting stuck-at-home grown-ups with latte-smelling Play-Doh and Legos that turn into Warhols. Those who added a puppy to their family during the pandemic will see tons of gift options for their new furry friend. And with more people shopping online, stores are doing double duty as shipping centers to try to get gifts to doorsteps as fast as possible.

Here’s what to expect:
___

TOYS FOR ADULTS

Kids aren’t the only ones who need some fun. Toy companies are targeting bored adults stuck at home during the pandemic. Need something to fidget during your next Zoom meeting? Hasbro has new moldable Play-Doh varieties that smell like stuff grown-ups would recognize: lattes, fresh cut grass and smoked meats.

Lego, meanwhile, wants adults to put on their headphones and “forget about the rest of the world” while turning the plastic pieces in their new kits into hangable art, like Andy Warhol’s famous Marilyn Monroe portraits.

Marissa DiBartolo, editor in chief of toy review site The Toy Insider, says she’s seen more coloring books and challenging puzzles being designed with adults in mind.
___

FROM YOUTUBE TO THE TOY STORE

The canines on “Paw Patrol” better watch their tails. YouTube stars with millions of viewers are heading to the toy aisle, a place where TV cartoon characters used to rule.

It’s all because kids are spending so much time watching YouTube instead of cable TV, says DiBartolo. That’s made stars of the video-streaming site just as recognizable as those on Nickelodeon.

Figurines of Blippi, a man who wears orange suspenders and hosts educational kid videos on YouTube, are being sold at Target and Amazon. At Walmart, toys featuring Ryan Kaji, a kid who reviews toys on his Ryan’s World YouTube channel, have been hot sellers. Toy company VTech is playing into the trend in another way, selling a KidiZoom Creator camera that comes with a green screen so kids can add special effects and pretend to be YouTube influencers themselves.

And if you need another sign of just how big YouTube stars have become, a 42-foot-tall (13-meter-tall) balloon based on Kaji from Ryan’s World appeared Thursday in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, floating next to TV icons like SpongeBob and, yes, Chase from “Paw Patrol.”
___

STORES AS SHIPPING HUBS

Retailers including Walmart and Best Buy that were already using their locations as hubs to ship e-commerce orders are now coming up with new strategies to get even faster. The moves come as they face a holiday crunch expected to tax shipping networks and likely result in delivery delays.

Walmart this week launched a special program for the holidays. It has some of its online orders being fulfilled directly from stores using delivery services like Postmates and DoorDash instead of carriers like FedEx or UPS. The aim is to ensure customers will be able to get their orders quickly, even on the same day.

Meanwhile, Best Buy says that 340 of its stores are being specially designated to handle a higher volume of online orders, though all its stores ship e-commerce packages. Its goal: to have the 340 stores ship more than 70% of its ship-from-store units during the holiday quarter.

And then there are many small-to-medium-sized businesses increasingly turning to operators of micro-warehouses — mini-shipping hubs that are located in urban areas — to help pack and delivery goods. Ben Jones is the CEO and founder of Ohi, which operates five micro-warehouses for various brands like sparkling tonic Olipop, or provides software for third parties at 115 locations for e-commerce fulfillment across the U.S. He says he’s seen more brands using his software because many aren’t able to guarantee delivery by Christmas via standard shipping if items are ordered after the first week of December.
___

GIFTS FOR THE POOCH

More people adopted puppies and kittens during the pandemic, and stores are pouncing to cash in. Petco is selling matching pajamas for dogs and their humans with snow flakes and Christmas trees. And Chewy, the online pet store, is getting more personal, inscribing pets names into bandanas, bowls or beds.

Consulting firm Deloitte expects half of shoppers to spend some of their money on pet treats and other supplies this holiday season.
___

FORGET ABOUT IMPULSE SHOPPING

It’s not just frenzied crowds that will be absent this holiday season. So will impulse shopping — the practice of throwing in extra items like toys or bath balms as shoppers go in and out of the aisles.

Typically, 25% of holiday shopping is based on impulse, according to Marshal Cohen, chief industry advisor at NPD Group, a market research firm. This year, Cohen said he expects that figure to drop to about 10% as shoppers dramatically shift their buying online to avoid physical stores. And when they do go to stores, customers will be buying with a purpose, picking up things they need as they try to minimize exposure to COVID-19

“Impulse shopping is the icing on the cake,” Cohen said. “It is the difference between a successful profitable holiday and a ho hum holiday.” ___

This story has been updated to correct that Petco is offering matching pajamas for owners and dogs, not matching sweaters.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

The U.S. Coast Guard ship Bernard C. Webber, leaves the coast guard base, Monday, July 19, 2021, in...
Associated Press

‘Miracle’: Missing cruise ship passenger found OK in water

The U.S. Coast Guard says a passenger who went overboard from a cruise ship in the Gulf of Mexico was rescued on Thanksgiving after likely being in the water for hours.
22 hours ago
FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
2 days ago
Debbie, left, and Chet Barnett place flowers at a memorial outside of the Chesapeake, Va., Walmart ...
The Associated Press

Walmart shooter left ‘death note,’ bought gun day of killing

According to authorities in Virginia, the Walmart shooter bought his gun just hours prior to killing six employees.
2 days ago
Dry lakebed...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Lawsuit looms over tiny fish in drought-stricken West

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Conservationists have notified U.S. wildlife officials that they will sue over delayed decisions related to protections for two rare fish species that are threatened by groundwater pumping in the drought-stricken West. The Center for Biological Diversity sent a formal notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service last week […]
4 days ago
Hand-written messages cover the heart attached to the cross to honor a victim of the mass shooting ...
COLLEEN SLEVIN, THOMAS PEIPERT, JESSE BEDAYN and BRITTANY PETERSON

Colorado gay club shooting suspect held without bail

The alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was ordered held without bail in an initial court appearance Wednesday.
4 days ago
Four Dead University of Idaho...
NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press

Coroner: Idaho students were stabbed to death in their beds

Four University of Idaho students who were found dead in a rental house Sunday were stabbed to death in their beds and likely were asleep.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Holiday trends to watch: Adult Play-Doh; stores that ship