Still deciding what to get the kids for Christmas? Call off the search, as the official list of this year’s must-have toys has landed.
Every year, the Toy Retailers Association predicts which 12 toys will be festive sell-outs with their DreamToys list. Chosen by an independent panel of small and large retailers including Argos, Selfridges and Hamleys, the list has a proven track record of anticipating the year's biggest hitters. "I’d say we normally get 9 out of 12 of them right," says Gary Grant, who chairs the DreamToys committee.
The hunt for the year’s best toys starts with an original list of more than 300, from which 70 are then put forward to a panel of toy retail experts, who analyse them, test them and come up with the final twelve. To avoid bias, any toy deemed too obscure, or only recommended by one retailer is ruled out.
So what have these toys got in common? For DreamToys, the biggest indicators of success are ones associated with movies, collectibles and big brand names such as LEGO and Barbie, which both have products on the list. According to global toys industry analyst Frédérique Tutt, while a toy needs to be original to catch people’s attention, its chance of success skyrockets if it’s from a well-known brand.
Barbie, whose Dreamplane Playset appears on the list, has been a top seller for over 40 years and this year, sales are up 30 per cent. But it’s LEGO that continues to fly off the shelves, and the panel believe the Harry Potter Knight Bus will be 2019’s best-seller from the LEGO range. With film-licensed toys comprising 10 per cent of all toy sales in 2019, they’re predicting success for our favourite Toy Story 4 characters, too.
So if you want to make sure the kids' faces light up on Christmas morning, don't hang around, as these toys sell out — fast.
Best kids toys for Christmas 2019
1. Barbie Dreamplane Playset (Mattel)
Barbie has consistently been a top seller this year. Tutt says: “Mattel has been focusing on women’s empowerment, reinventing the message around Barbie. With Barbie, you can be anything.” To reflect this, the dolls have been remodelled in all shapes, colours and sizes. The Dreamplane Playset includes a transforming plane, a puppy and snack cart among other accessories.
2. Blume Dolls (Skyrocket)
The Blume doll is by far the cheapest item on this year’s list. Add water and a new fashion-forward friend “blumes” in front of you. It comes in 22 different, over-the-top characters with clothes you can mix and match.“For me, I love the Blume doll and at a £10 price point, I think it’s really great value,” Ward says. Six-year-old Trilyna, who was given a chance to try out all 12 top toys, picked the Blume Doll as the one she would most love to take home.
3. Frozen 2 ‘Into the Unknown’ Elsa Doll (Jakks Pacific)
Elsa’s singing doll from the original Frozen movie was the most successful doll in the Frozen Disney range. DreamToys believe history will repeat itself with the new movie, which hits the big screen later this month. “Frozen was the second most successful movie of all time in the UK in terms of toy sales so people's expectations are high,” Tutt says.
4. Harry Potter Knight Bus (LEGO)
“A Christmas Day that didn’t involve tripping over bits of lego while I go and get the turkey out of the oven would not be Christmas,” Ward says. And, as LEGO is such a dominant force in the toy industry, this is probably true for families across the UK. Head of Marketing UK/Ireland Marius Lang believes kids will love the chance to keep building on what they’ve already imagined from the Harry Potter books: “You can take LEGO bricks from 60 years ago and just click them together and let your creativity run wild.”
5. L.O.L Surprise! 2-in-1 Glamper (MGA Entertainment)
As the most expensive item on the list with a RRP of £99.99, this Glamper Fashion Camper includes a lot of ‘surprises.’ Trilyna, 6, loves the swimming pool and bunk beds picking it as her joint favourite item of the 12. “L.O.L. has been strong for three years now, so we already knew that this would be a top 12. It’s already looking as if there’s not going to be enough,” Grant adds.
6. Nerf Elite Fortnite SP-L (Hasbro)
This dart blaster brings the huge success of online game Fortnite into the real world. Peter, another young tester, loves that it has an aid to help you aim and shoot.
7. Owleez (Spin Master Toys)
Interactive pets have been a buoyant sector in the toy market for the past few years but Owleez is the first interactive toy pet that can also fly. It can make over 100 sounds and movements and is touch-responsive, making it an innovative and quirky option for kids this Christmas.
8. PAW Patrol Mighty Pup Super PAWS MightY Jet Command Centre (Spin Masters Toys)
This vehicle transforms from a jet into a mobile command centre for all the PAW Patrol pups to use on their missions. According to Grant, if you’ve got a two to five-year-old, this is likely to be your number one toy. With real lights and sounds, it might be a noisy addition to Christmas morning but the kids will thank you for it.
9. Peppa Pig Peppa’s Stage Playset (Character Options)
With this stage set, children can re-enact their favourite Peppa Pig episodes, and put on shows to delight their family and friends. It includes props, Peppa and George, three double sided backdrops card, six scenes and more.
10. Rizmo (Tomy)
This singing and dancing alien-come-owl evolves the more it’s played with. It starts off as a baby, but the more you cuddle and play with it, the faster it will grow. There are seven fun activities you can do with it, and it can even join in with dancing along to your favourite music. “Outside of the evergreens, it’s really great to see something really new and exciting,” says Ward.
11. Ryan’s World Super Surprise Safe (Flair Leisure Products/ Just Play)
Kids love unwrapping surprises and once kids unlock this safe, there are 30 more surprises to discover including figures, mix and match build characters, treasure and even an ‘ultimate surprise.’
12. Toy Story 4 True Talkers (Mattel)
Toy Story 4 did well at the box office this summer so it’s no surprise these True Talkers have made it on to this year’s list. There are four to choose from, and all come to life with phrases from the film.
All the products mentioned in this article are selected independently by our journalists. The Telegraph makes money by adding affiliate links to some of the products.