A hi-tech take on 1990s toy sensation Tamagotchi has Geelong toy retailers scrambling to keep up with demand as the two week Christmas countdown gets underway.
Bitzees, interactive hologram-like toys based on the old Tamagotchi “digital pets” of the late 1990s and early 2000s, are the toy story of 2023 and are proving incredibly popular according to shop workers who have been run off their feet finding enough stock to keep customers happy.
Unlike their primitive predecessors, Bitzees pop out of their box and can be touched, stroked and generally interacted with to give children a more tactile experience. They can change colour and even make noises to express their emotions.
A Geelong Broadcasters newsroom ring-around of the region’s top toy retailers found Bitzees are easily the region’s most popular toy in the lead-up to Christmas – if you can get your hands on them.
Many department stores have sold out, telling our news team they were disappearing from shelves as fast as they can restock.
Lucia from Toy World in Geelong West said she still had stock but it was a day-to-day proposition.
“We’re seeing a huge quantity of Bitzees leaving the door,” said Lucia.
“You can touch it and interact with it, you grow it after hatching it from an egg, then you have to feed it and train it. You even have to take it to the toilet!
“They really are flying off the shelves.”
Also popular, but slightly cheaper, is the Flying Orb Ball.
“It’s a kind of magic floating light-up ball that spins and has this sort of anti-gravity component to it,” she said.
“We sell them for less than $30, a little bit cheaper than the Bitzee.”
Traditional toys are also back in vogue (if they ever went out) according to Torquay Toys manager Howard Randall.
“We have lots of wooden and sustainable and educational toys,” Howard said.
“Kinder Feet have a range of wooden ride-ons, which includes little bikes and also scooters – which is a new one and is a real hit at the moment.
“Another stand-out is Kinetix magnetic tiles.
“We always look at things that are going to last a lifetime, not get used half-a-dozen times and then get thrown in the bin. They can pass it on to their siblings or when they grow up they can pass it on to their own children.”
Lucia said it’s hard to go past long-time favourite Lego, which makes a great gift for anyone from 18 months to well into adulthood.
“Lego is one of those things that can suit all ages,” she said.
“There are different ranges and characters, from your basic bricks that you can build whatever you want with, to complex models.”
At the lower end of the price range, classics such as Rubik’s Cube and Pokemon cards make great stocking-stuffers according to Lucia.
“You don’t have to go nuts,” she said.
“It really is all about the love.”
Toyworld Geelong: https://www.facebook.com/toyworldgeelong
Torquay Toys: https://www.facebook.com/torquaytoys