Monday, January 18, 2010

Yo-Yo: Biggest Toy Craze in 2010

The yo-yo is set to be this year’s biggest playground craze, according to retailers who have reported a ten-fold increase in sales over the past year.  The simple toy, which first became popular during the decade following the Wall Street crash of 1929, is taking off once again as the recession encourages children and parents to turn to “pocket money toys”.

Some modern yo-yos also offer new features such as gears, which make it easier for users to perform tricks.
Sales of Yo-Yos have increased in the past year.
Retailers and yo-yo manufacturers are gearing up for 2010 to be the biggest year for the toy since 1998, when nearly four million were sold in Britain – the equivalent of one for every three children in the country.
David Strang, the managing director of Wicked Vision, the distributor of Duncan yo-yos, said: “Since November they have been selling ridiculously well. We are up about 1000 per cent at least – ten fold on the sales we were having a year ago.
“Yo-yos, generally over the last 80 years, have gone in seven to eight year cycles. It’s a generational thing. A ten-year old has never really seen one, but his older cousins, father and grandfather have. But this time around we haven’t seen a proper global craze since 1998. I think video games and the internet left yo-yos behind.”
However, manufacturers have been pouring money into new, sophisticated models that allow children to perform tricks with their yo-yos, according to Peter Jenkinson, who runs the industry website, toyology.
“You can master the basic skills with a simple 99p yo-yo, but the new £8 and £10 models that the likes of Duncan and Yomega are bringing out are pretty amazing. The companies are pushing them hard and I wouldn’t be surprised to see yo-yos being played in every playground of every primary school by the summer.”
Yomega’s £8 Fireball yo-yo has two gears. A player can flick a switch which allows the yo-yo to spin for far longer than normal once it has hit the bottom of the string. This makes it far easier for children to perform classic yo-yo tricks such as ‘walk the dog’, or ‘around the world’.
John Lewis said its £2 wooden yo-yo was one of its best sellers in December and The Entertainer chain of toy shops said one of its stores sold more than 1,000 last week.
Sarah Hobson, toy buyer at Argos said: “It looks like Yomega is going to be the next big craze in boys toys for 2010 following its recent success. In the week after Christmas Argos witnessed demand for the toy shoot up by more than 700 per cent, as kids rushed out to spend their Christmasmoney.”
Yo-Yos have been in existence almost as long as any toy, with terra cotta examples from 500BC discovered in Greece. The modern version took off in 1929 when an entrepreneur Donald Duncan took over a successful Californian toy company, and started Yo-Yo competitions to encourage the craze.
In the 1940s his factories were making 3,600 yo-yos an hour and by 1962 the Duncan Company alone sold a record 45 million yo-yos in the USA – a country at the time with just 40 million children.

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