Cyber Monday search for Hot Christmas Toy: Zhu Zhu Pets

The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the ceremonial kick-off of the holiday online shopping season in the U.S. after Thanksgiving Day. Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, “Cyber Monday” symbolizes a busy day for online retailers. The premise was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend, making purchases online that they were not able to make in stores.

Is Cyber Monday really the best single day for online retailers? For us, it ranks #5 however I did some research online and it appears that Cyber Monday average ranking is #10. We actually sell more on the day before Cyber Monday….Sunday. Sunday is the day to go online to buy what you couldn’t find at the stores. I have noticed most online retailers are offering discounts and free shipping for Friday and Saturday only. Have fun shopping online!

Looking for Zhu Zhu Hamster Pets? We have a selection of Zhu Zhu Pets and related merchandise to satisfy your needs. Zhu Zhu Pets are the hottest 2009 toy out-selling everything else on the planet.

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Zhu Zhu Robotic hamsters are holidays’ unlikely new craze

Found this interesting article….By Mae Anderson, AP Retail Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — When Lori Fowlkes first saw robotic Zhu Zhu Pets toy hamsters in September, she remembers her kids started jumping up and down and saying “Please! Please! Can we buy them?”

Seeing a fully stocked shelf, she decided to hold off until Christmas.

That was “before I knew that the hamsters would soon be off the shelves and more scarce than an H1N1 vaccine,” said Fowlkes, 32.

Now she can’t find them anywhere.

Zhu Zhu Pets, which retail for about $10, are this year’s bona fide must-have toy, following in the footsteps of past crazes for Tickle Me Elmo and Cabbage Patch Kids. On resale Web sites like eBay and Craigslist, they fetch $40 or more. Vital accessories as the hamster car and funhouse are sold separately.

By many counts, the toy is an unlikely hit. They’re in a field crowded with toy pets. The hamsters, which scurry around, make noises and drive cars don’t always work the way you expect and have a limited range of action.

“Honestly, I don’t really get it,” said BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson. “But I don’t need to get it for a toy to be hot.”

The toys do have several factors that make them compelling, Johnson said: fun accessories and scarcity — sometimes when something is hard to obtain it makes people want it more. And they have one big thing going for them in tough economic times: They’re cheap.

“The last couple of years the robotic pet has been very popular, but those have been very expensive,” like Hasbro’s $250 robotic dinosaur Kota the Triceratops, he said. “But here’s a version of a robotic pet that only costs $10.”

Hasbro’s line of lower-priced Furreal Friends robotic animals have not hit the same chord, perhaps because they still cost more, are immobile and don’t have any accessories.

Zhu Zhu Pets, aimed at 3- to 10-year-olds, have rushed in to fill the void. But unlike past “It” toys made by large manufacturers like Mattel’s Tickle Me Elmo and Tiger Electronic’s Furby, Zhu Zhu Pets are made by tiny Cepia Inc. of St. Louis, with just 16 employees in the U.S. and 30 in China, making their success even more unlikely.

CREATION OF A CRAZE

Just six years old, Cepia previously worked on an electronic dispensing device for consumer products before turning to toys and its only other product, a line of light-up bears called Glo-E Bears.

The company was started by toy industry vet Russ Hornsby, 56.

The success of Zhu Zhu Pets wasn’t entirely accidental. After being inspired by classic robotic toys, like the barking puppy dog who flips, Hornsby created a prototype. Stores in Phoenix were used as a test bed in May.

The company got the word out with a savvy mix of local cable ads and parties thrown by “mommy bloggers.”

Hornsby said he was hoping to sell three to four pets per store per week, but was secretly hoping for eight. The result, Hornsby said, was exponentially higher, though he wouldn’t say how much.

“The rate was so astonishing everybody had to go back and pinch themselves,” Hornsby said. Toys R Us pulled all of the test data to make sure it wasn’t being manipulated, Hornsby said.

That gave a running start to Cepia’s national rollout in August.

Ads on cable stations Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney XD have proved to be catnip to kids.

“My daughter saw a commercial for them on Nickelodeon or one of the kid channels and instantly wanted it,” said Tara Purdy Callender, 21. Her daughter’s 6th birthday is on Nov. 25 and “all she wants is Zhu Zhu pets,” lamented Callender, whose search has been fruitless so far.

KEEPING UP WITH DEMAND

For parents, the hamster hunt is intense. A Facebook fan site tracks parent’s search for the toys. Hornsby said he recently got a call at 4 a.m. on his cell phone from a mom asking for hamsters. Calls have also been received at the store’s Chinese base from parents trying to go straight to the source.

“They’re calling because they’re upset and they feel we’re not doing a good enough job getting merchandise on the shelves,” Hornsby said.

But with retailers being extra cautious with orders this year following the dismal holiday season last year, the maker has had to scramble to make enough to catch up to demand.

Toy analyst Jim Silver at Timetoplaymag.com said it was late fall by the time Cepia and retailers realized how popular the toys were, and by that time it was difficult to increase production.

“You can’t just go to China and flip a switch,” he said. But in the past three months, the company has added three more factories in China.

“We’re all working so hard right now to try to fulfill this,” Hornsby said. “Retailers are airlifting in millions of products,” a rare and expensive move for stores.

Even if the product remains impossible to find for the holidays, the craze sets Cepia up for a strong 2010. Hornsby estimates the company will sell $100 million in Zhu Zhu Pets by the end of the year. It’s always hard to tell how long a toy will stay hot, but based on bookings, he says that will grow to $350 million to $400 million by the end of next year as production ramps up.

Financial analyst Johnson agreed 2010 will be big for Zhu Zhu Pets.

“I don’t know what Chinese New Year is coming up, but as far as toys are concerned next year will be the year of the hamster.”

Click Image to Buy Zhu Zhu Pets:

Here is a cool video clip of children playing with Zhu Zhu Pets:

Zhu Zhu Pets Hamsters Invade America

zhu zhu hamster pets

“Smart Pets” Anticipated to be the Newest Craze Among Kids and the 2009 Toy of the Year!

ST. LOUIS–(Business Wire)– Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters have invaded the United States! From baseball stadiums to children`s hospitals, this new collection of adorable, furry, interactive pets is expected to overtake the nation, and catapult to the top of every child`s wish list. Riding on the heels of an extremely successful test market launch in Phoenix, and remarkable focus group findings, Zhu Zhu Pets are expected to be the newest craze among kids, and quite possibly the 2009 Toy of Year.

The best alternatives to real live hamsters, Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters don`t poop, die, or stink, but they are still a riot of motion and sound. They dart around in their hamster tubes and busily scurry from room to room. Simply pet the hamster`s back, set him down, and watch him Zhu Zhu Zhu-oom! Zhu Zhu Pets like to be picked up and snuggled too! Pet them gently on the nose, and they`ll squeak with contentment. These hamsters have over 40 different sound effects, depending on the unique environment they encounter.

“Zhu Zhu Pets hamsters are truly unlike anything on the market,” says Natalie Hornsby, brand development and marketing strategies, Cepia, LLC. “They`re completely interactive, as if they have a mind of their own.”

Zhu Zhu Pets drive around in little cars, zip up ramps and spin down slides, and run in their hamster wheels. Their artificial intelligence even allows them to know what room of their hamster habitat they are in. They make toilet-flushing or teeth-brushing sounds when they enter the bathroom, and sleeping noises and alarm-clock sounds when they go into their bedroom.

Zhu Zhu Pets are available as five different characters:

* Zhu Zhu Pets Patches – the flower-loving hamster
* Zhu Zhu Pets Chunk – the laid back surfer hamster
* Zhu Zhu Pets PipSqueak – the petite powerhouse hamster
* Zhu Zhu Pets Mr. Squiggles – the hamster who loves to explore
* Zhu Zhu Pets Num Nums – the hamster with an affinity for yummy food

Multiple Zhu Zhu Pets accessories are also available for purchase, allowing kids to collect and connect them all to create their own customized hamster habitats. Zhu Zhu Pets accessories include:

* Hamster funhouse
* Hamster wheel and tunnel
* Hamster-mobile and garage
* Spiral slide and ramp
* Adventure ball
* Surfboard and sleep dome
* Skateboard and U-turn
* Pet bed and blanket
* Pet carrier and blanket

Zhu Zhu Pets are available for sale at Walmart, Toys”R”Us, Target (beginning in October) and other select retailers. The national launch is already underwaywith a series of events in select cities across the country, including special promotions at major league baseball stadiums and deliveries to children`s hospitals by a professional athlete/celebrity.

Hamster parties will also be hosted around the nation by select moms for kids and their friends to experience Zhu Zhu Pets first-hand. The parties will include various hamster-related games and activities, while kids play with Zhu Zhu Pets and build their own hamster habitats. Zhu Zhu Pets will entertain children for hours on end, engage their imaginations in an entirely new interactive way, and provide a constant low-maintenance companion for kids desiring a pet of their very own.

What are Zhu Zhu Pets?

Zhu Zhu Pets are innovative, realistic, interactive, plush, and artificially intelligent hamsters that talk and move around in their own playsets. Zhu Zhu Pets include two play modes: nurturing mode where the hamsters coo and purr and adventure mode where the hamsters explore their habitat with intelligent audio and mechanical responses to various habitat stimuli. Over a dozen add-ons can be
purchased to build an ever-evolving hamsterworld for your hamster to play in and explore. Powered by 2 AAA batteries (included), Zhu Zhu Pets are suitable for ages 3 and up. For more information, please visit http://www.zhuzhupets.com.

Where to Buy Zhu Zhu Pet Hamster Toys?

Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Pipsqueek – Yellow
Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Mr. Squiggles – Light Brown
Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Num Nums
Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Chunk – White
Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Funhouse (Hamsters Sold Separately)
Zhu Zhu Pets Adventure Ball
Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Garage
Zhu Zhu Pets Add On Hamster Wheel