The stars of the holiday season (2)
Furby is back 14 years after it was first launched and is reaping a similar success - the new version of this electronic pet went on sale in the UK in September 2012 and reached record sales, becoming the best-selling toy last Christmas. And it also dominates the market for electronic toys in Germany and France.
The toy arrived to Spain in early 2013 and since its launch it has been placed in the first position in sales: between January and July, the Electronic category grew 38% in value, driven by Furby, which is indeed the bestselling toy in the total market by value. And the outlook is very positive, both for the doll and for its licensing programme, according to licensees consulted for an special holiday season report to be published in the 59 issue of the trade magazine Licencias Actualidad.
In fact and according to the NPD Group, Furby could become the best-selling toy in Europe in 2013. And probably for Hasbro - in the second quarter, toy sales fell 6% for this company, but the Girls division grew 43% thanks to both Furby and My Little Pony.
This new version features interactive and wireless technology, as well as a smartphone and tablet app, in addition to a new design that is faithful to the original - a mixture of cat, bat, owl, and mouse. In addition, its eyes are now on LCD, which are more expressive.
And this is not the only thing that is remarkable about this curious toy:
1. Furby was designed by Dave Hampton and Caleb Chung, who thanks to Richard C. Levy, sold it to Tiger Electronics, a subsidiary of Hasbro.
2. The toy was presented at the fair in New York Toy Fair 1998 and Time magazine and USA Today talked about it, among other media. The expectation created was such that before its release in October, toy stores had already bought 1.3 million units in advance.
3. Hasbro sold more than 27 million Furbies during its first year. Its price was about $35, but in resale it exceeded $100.
4. Furbies start speaking their own language, furbish , which has its own dictionary.
5. But they gradually begin to speak English, in a process that mimics a child's learning process.
6. Furbies do not reproduce the words and phrases they hear, as was believed by some at first. In fact, the very U.S. security agency, NSA, forbade its employees to go to work with this pet, to avoid the recording of state secrets. Anyway, who brings a Furby to work?
7. Although they do not record (or understand) what they are told, they know the difference if the child speaks or sings to them.
8. The classic version has special editions, such as one for Christmas and another based on the Gremlins .
9. Each Furby has its own personality - Rockin, Sweet, Hyper, Jolly, or Fiesty. And you can change it. For example, if you play loud music, it “ turns into a pop-star kind of personality, or a just a bratty personality." If you spin it around, this pet becomes annoying and rude. And if you caress it for a while, it becomes a nice and loving mascot.
10. The new LCD eyes show this personality. If you treat him right, you can see hearts in them, for example.
11. Although the toy has been very well received, some parents explain that children are frightened by the personality changes, which can be very abrupt.
12. Furbies can communicate between them. If you leave two or more close to each other, they start talking. As they have different personalities, they can sing together or they could also not get along with each other.
13. So far, Furbies have not formed an army to start a war against humans.
Other "Stars of the Season":
1. Playmobil and the importance of long-term thinking (10/03/2013)