Fingerlings – the miniature monkey toy best seller during the 2017 Holiday season

An article in BBC.COM ( describes the Fingerling – an animatronic toy made by a Hong Kong based Canadian company, WowWee. The article describes the early launch in the UK and Canada, and an internet buzz on social media that preceded the US launch in August, as stoking the demand explosion in the US. Expansion of production capacity, air lifting product to speed up availability, actions against counterfeiters and modest selling retail prices of around $15 all caused supply chain challenges. Should the company raise prices to moderate demand or let the price increase in after market channels enable the continued product demand buzz ? What can the company do to keep the demand growing into next season – add new animals or develop digital platforms to interact with the physical toys ? What should stores do to position themselves to have access to inventory of the hit toy each holiday season ?

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5 Responses to Fingerlings – the miniature monkey toy best seller during the 2017 Holiday season

  1. Chinmay Sahoo says:

    Very interesting article on the virality of toys every Christmas.
    I feel part of the buzz is always on the price – accessibility as a gift item for christmas (other eg: the One Plus). So, ways to improve contribution margin without increasing prices can be looked at – eg: Reducing margin to retailers, given that this is a pull product now.
    To keep demand growing into next season, one could look at retention – that can be maximized on two factors: virality, and collectability. The current holiday season has taken this one as an in-demand toy. There is no guarantee that this might continue in the future (next Christmases, etc.). Hence, apart from creating shareable moments and collections with different toys (an easier sell given current company capabilities), the company can look at starting an app – (like Talking Tom) to preserve this shareable moment in the digital form. This could help create further buzz, and may also help retain consumers by keeping them engaged in the non-holiday season as well.
    Stores better pile up with the complimentary toys, provide premium shelf space, and reduce their ask on margins. An on demand toy after all, is a crowd puller!

  2. Surya Tej says:

    Very interesting read.
    I agree that it is particularly difficult to identify which product will go viral in the upcoming season. More often than not, it would be that someone rolls a dice and decide on which product to produce for the upcoming season. One way to predict demand for these type of products would be by looking at the past data on similar products and try to extrapolate to get a fair sense of the demand.
    Also to tackle the variability in demand, the supply chain should be designed in an agile manner.

  3. Charu says:

    It’s interesting to know how small little toys can bring about such waves in the industry. To keep its demand going WowWee can produce stories/themes around the fingerling monkey and each season’s release can serve as sequels or relations to the story. This is similar to how fictional worlds used to be created around G.I.Joe or Barbie.
    Additionally, complementary items can be sold with the fingerling monkey, to suggest a few – tree rope, banana, monkey family, etc.

  4. Sara Moscato Howe says:

    My family and I were recently at Walt Disney World for the holidays and they are selling an “interactive” banshee at Animal Kingdom to promote their World of Pandora. The toy sells for $60, it sits on your shoulder and has a tiny remote you can use to control its movements. I thought $60 was ridiculous but there were plenty people buying the toy and walking around with it. Now, after reading this article, I wonder if the demand is for interactive toys and the lower price fueled the fire at the right time? That said, I’m not sure I would change the price point – or if I did it would be less than $5. Yes, the banshee sells for $60, but the phenomenon of being at Disney (and those darn magic bands that make you forget its real money leaving your wallet!) likely allows for a higher pricing strategy. I like the idea posted earlier about adding an app, which creates fingerling 2.0. I also wouldn’t rush to create the new version until closer to the holidays and then again, have limited inventory. With respect to store preparation, I don’t think they should do much more than they do. Part of the buzz is when something is hard to get and once they get the customer in the store, there is always the opportunity to sell a different – or comparable toy – to the shopper. For those of you curious, below is the link to the Disney Blog and photos of the banshee.

  5. Sandeep says:

    One of the greatest threat to the toy is a competitor creating a similar toy that interacts more with the child in the same price range. If a fingerling could interact and recognize its owner along with other fellow fingerlings, kids would be excited to use them in group play creating fingerling parties.
    It was also interesting to note how WowWee shared the toy with top youtube starts in the age group to generate buzz with the followers and advertise their products.
    Regarding the price, once WowWee creates a fully functional ecosystem where a fingerlings have a house, toys, food, etc.. specific to the brand, then WowWee can consider raising the price since their customers will not want to move to a competitor after investing in fingerling branded items

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