LeapPad, other toys hot commodities this holiday season

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** FOR RELEASE ANYTIME ** Susanna Buff, age 6 from Brooklyn, N.Y., uses a LeapPad from LeapFrog, at the PlayDate Toy Fair in New York, Tuesday Oct. 22, 2002.  Given the backlog of merchandise on the docks because of the 10-day West Coast port closure, some analysts believe shipmants may not arrive in stores until right before Thanksgiving weekend.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Photo by RICHARD DREW

** FOR RELEASE ANYTIME ** Susanna Buff, age 6 from Brooklyn, N.Y., uses a LeapPad from LeapFrog, at the PlayDate Toy Fair in New York, Tuesday Oct. 22, 2002. Given the backlog of merchandise on the docks because of the 10-day West Coast port closure, some analysts believe shipmants may not arrive in stores until right before Thanksgiving weekend.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Manadatory Credit: Photo by Jonathan Hordle / Rex Features (1480202v) 
 LeapPad childrens computer 
 Dream Toys 2011, top 10 toys for Christmas, London, Britain. - 26 Oct 2011 
 (Rex Features via AP Images)

Photo by Jonathan Hordle / Rex Features

Manadatory Credit: Photo by Jonathan Hordle / Rex Features (1480202v) LeapPad childrens computer Dream Toys 2011, top 10 toys for Christmas, London, Britain. - 26 Oct 2011 (Rex Features via AP Images)

TRA top 12 toys for Christmas 2011. A LeapPad Explorer, one of the top 12 toys for Christmas 2011 predicted by the Toy Retailers Association (TRA). Picture date: Wednesday October 26, 2011. See PA story CONSUMER Toys. Photo credit should read: Georgie Gillard/PA Wire URN:11934965 (Press Association via AP Images)

Photo by Georgie Gillard

TRA top 12 toys for Christmas 2011. A LeapPad Explorer, one of the top 12 toys for Christmas 2011 predicted by the Toy Retailers Association (TRA). Picture date: Wednesday October 26, 2011. See PA story CONSUMER Toys. Photo credit should read: Georgie Gillard/PA Wire URN:11934965 (Press Association via AP Images)

— They're leaping off the shelves faster than retailers can restock them.

LeapFrog's LeapPad is one of the hottest Christmas toys this holiday season, say Southwest Florida retailers.

Chris Eddy, team leader for the Target store at Pine Ridge and Airport-Pulling roads in Naples, said consumers line up outside the store each morning to see if the LeapPad is in stock. Eddy thinks the LeapPad — made by LeapFrog — is popular because of its features.

"You get a lot for your money although it is $99 it does more than any other educational toy does," he said.

LeapPad is a child-friendly learning tablet with a built-in camera and video recorder as well as eBooks, games and learning applications.

The LeapPad has been a leader of multiple top holiday toy lists including the Toys R Us 2011 Hot Holiday Toy List and has been followed closely by other sought out toys such as the Fijit Friends, Lalaloopsy dolls, Fisher-Price's Doodle Bear and Monster High Dolls.

Eddy said the Pine Ridge Target receives about 30 to 50 calls per day from consumers looking for the LeapPad.

Bill Campbell, LeapFrog president of America Sales, released a statement about the shortage of the LeapPad in early December.

"Major retailers and online stores will receive additional weekly LeapPad shipments prior to Christmas," Campbell said.

"In the meantime, we continue to remind our customers to check their local retailers and websites regularly, and to shop early in the day if possible. LeapPad has been a hot item since it hit shelves in August, so it comes as no surprise that we continue to see high demand."

With availability of the LeapFrog being low, product tracking sites such as Zoolert.com and NowInStock.net have been busy tracking the stock availability of hot toys at retailers for consumers. Those websites check retailers websites and provide consumers with a list of which retailer has a popular item in stock.

Tony Cao, owner of product tracking website Zoolert.com, said he knew in February when he went to a toy fair and first saw the LeapPad that it would be the most popular toy this holiday season.

"Now everybody is trying to get their hands on a LeapPad for their kids," Cao said.

According to Cao, LeapFrog reached out to his tracking website encouraging him to help customers find the LeapPad. LeapFrog's Twitter and Facebook also links followers looking for the LeapPad to the Zoolert.com website.

Cao said when retailers do receive shipments of the LeapPad, the online stock only lasts about 10 minutes before it's sold out.

"Parents have to be fast with their mouse clicks when they see the tracker notification that the product is in stock," he said.

According to Cao, Fijit Friends is another toy on Zoolert.com that retailers have had a difficult time keeping in stock.

Margaux Vega, a representative for Mattel, said the Fijit Friends product is one that has resonated with today's consumers and that its popularity has made it difficult to keep on shelves.

"I think that Mattel has hit a sweet spot with Fijit," Vega said.

Fijit Friends is an interactive and engaging toy that sings, dances and tells jokes.

"When you play with her she really comes alive and she tells really funny jokes and she dances and her wobble is adorable so I think it was a winning combination," Vega said.

Justin Vavrick, owner of product tracker NowInStock.net, said that there seems to be a major toy shortage this year and he attributes it to the fact that companies may have dropped their output of products due to the recession.

Holiday shopper Linda Corbitt of Naples agreed there's a shortage. Corbitt said she visited the Pine Ridge Target and the nearby Toys R Us in Naples looking for the Nabi Kids Android tablet, another hot item according to Zoolert.com.

Corbitt said Target and Toys R Us were sold out of the toy. She said she usually shops early during the holidays and was able to buy other hot holiday toys this season such as the iPod Touch and Mario 3D Land for Nintendo's 3DS.

Vavrick, who said that he has received more toy requests on NowInStock.com this year than in the previous six years, said that because of high demand some consumers may not have a LeapPad to put under the tree this year.

"In reality, we have one week left to the online holiday shopping season," Vavrick said.

"I believe there will be quite a few left without their LeapPads this year unless stock starts to fly onto store shelves or larger inventories are released online."

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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