Interactive toys are a key trend at The Warehouse, “continually pushing the expectations of what kids are hoping to see under the tree.” The recurring themes within this are toys that require care or need to be looked after. This includes Little Live Pets’ 'My Dream Puppy', which needs to eat walk and sleep, and the FurReal Torch 'My Blazin’ Dragon', which moves when touched, makes sounds and has the ability to breathe flame-coloured mist.
The lead category manager for toys, Lonnica van Engelen says: “Kiwi kids love to help, and interactive toys have seen a surge in popularity through their ability to encourage nurturing play.”
Farmers says Hatchimals – large plastic eggs that hatch trainable baby birds –have been flying off the shelves this year and that seems to be a global trend. Forbes has just published an article called ‘The Hatchimal Hunt: How To Snag The Hottest Toy Of The Holiday Season.’
There is even a black market on eBay for them.
PriceMe says gaming consoles are at the top of the Christmas gift purchases every year, and 2016 is no different.
The newly released XBox One S and Playstation 4 Pro are both selling well and Noel Leeming has both of these on their Christmas must-haves list.
Meanwhile, drones are becoming more of a mainstream gift product. The DJI Mavic Pro Drone is expected to sell well by both PriceMe and Noel Leeming.
With a range of frivolous childrenswear brands on the market, Christmas is the perfect time to sell special party dresses. At Smith & Caughey’s, merchandise manager Sue Millar says Tutu de Monde and Rock You Kid are selling well already.
Farmers Trading Co is also picking up on this trend. “In the children’s clothing area this season party dresses are doing very well for girls, the more sparkle the better!,” says group merchandise manager for Farmers, Eula Wood. Gold and silver foil prints and glitter finishes are particularly on trend this year.
“The old favourite is Calvin Klein underwear and lingerie,” says Millar at Smith & Caughey’s. The international brand has recently upped its campaign with Millennial model talent and social media influencers.
At Farmers, Christmas novelty business socks and boxer shorts are also very popular items, perfect for stocking gifts and secret Santa presents at the office.
Makeup and fragrances
Celebrating the official launch of our brand new MOLTON BROWN counter this afternoon! All the fabulous Christmas goodies have arrived as well as the stunning new Rosa Absolute range. Also tomorrow from 4-7pm we have a calligrapher in store personalising the sweet Molton Brown baubles, so be sure to stop by. #MoltonBrownNZ #newcounter #smithandcaugheysbeauty #christmas #giftideas #alittlebitoflondoninnewzealand #exclusivetousinNZ
Farmers says a key Christmas category that sells well and widely is men’s and women’s fragrances and at PriceMe, Christian Dior 'Hypnotic Poison' perfume and Taylor Swift 'Wonderstruck' perfume are top ranking.
Smith & Caughey’s are also tapping into the fragrance market with an exclusive spritz. Their exclusive and special collections from Tom Ford, fragrances and make-up, and Jo Malone are selling well. Millar says Jo Malone’s orange bitter scent has sold out in fragrances already, with the brand keeping up sale momentum after launching last Christmas. Molten Brown is another make up brand selling well in-store.
Clothing and accessories
Noel Leeming is expecting wearables to be even more popular than last Christmas with second edition releases from Apple Watch, Fitbit Samsung Gear Fit. The Apple Watch Nike+ and Samsung Gear also make the most popular list at PriceMe.
The Warehouse says technological accessories sell well as they are stylish yet functional items. And at Trade Me fitness trackers are trending with all kinds of Fitbit on offer.
Aspirational and modern products
The Warehouse says aspirational gifting is on the rise with homeware trends including home décor that has arty bold prints, monochromatic and navy hues, mixed with lustrous metals and geometric shapes. Other key trends include slick appliances.
Modern kitchen appliances are also on the menu at Smith & Caughey’s, with the smaller Millie KitchenAids flying off the shelf. “They’re really good for apartment living or small kitchens,” says Millar. At Farmer’s a spike in artificial plant sales also reflects a modern living attitude.
Noel Leeming also points out that the inevitable end of year entertaining and social gatherings means shoppers now want to be ready in the kitchen. They expect their Fisher & Paykel side-by-side fridge to sell big. It has all the modern features, including being able to go on holiday mode if customers are going away for New Years.
Chocolate and biscuits
It’s the season to indulge, and along with the usual Christmas ham, turkey, cake, pudding and mince tart sales spike, chocolate and biscuits also have a large increase.
According to Nielsen figures for all New Zealand supermarkets, chocolates have a big jump in sales in the four weeks leading up to Christmas 2015, compared to the off-peak month average in 2015. Farmers have noticed New Zealand made confectionery is very popular at this time of year and Smith & Caughey’s notes an increase in gourmet chocolate sales.
What to have the chocolate with? For Countdown, Pavlova is the most popular Christmas dessert, with strawberries and cherries also on the table.
But for New World, biscuits are the best. “It’s biscuit assortments that are clearly Kiwis’ favourite Christmas treat,” says the head of external relations at Foodstuffs, Antoinette Laird. Last year biscuit sales were 42 times the off-peak monthly average.
With the Christmas rush, Countdown says services that help make customers lives’ easier continue to be a massive trend, such as online shopping, Click and collect and other offerings in store such as pharmacy and NZ Post pick-ups. “Anything that helps to give us more time and less stress at Christmas,” says general manager merchandise Chris Fisher.
Crafts and blends
Countdown says it continues to see double-digit growth in craft beers and global trends also indicate that rose and various blends will be the toast of Christmas.
“One exciting trend to keep an eye on this summer will be wine and cider blends, which will no doubt be a hit once the sun starts shining,” says Fisher.
Sales of sparkling wines rise significantly during the festive season, with sales being quadrupled in the lead-up to last Christmas at Foodstuffs.