via New York Post
It’s the surprise hottest toy of the spring, and it isn’t a high-tech gadget.
So-called fidget spinners, low-tech, low-price stress-relieving toys, are a huge fad sweeping the country, and stores can’t keep them in stock, manufacturers and retailers told The Post on Thursday.
The demand for these devices is coming from children, college students, and adults who are looking for the toys to help them release nervous energy or stop fidgeting.
College students specifically are gobbling them up ahead of finals, hoping they will help them focus.
The toys, which come in plastic, brass, steel or copper, retail mostly for $5 to $7.
“I see a lot of students using them in the library and in classes during finals,” said one Fairfield University student.
With Walmart, Toys ’R’ Us and other chains having a hard time keeping the products in stock, some retailers are demanding manufacturers airfreight shipments to their warehouse rather than stick them on a ship from China.
It costs five times as much to fly them in compared with standard sea shipping, but planes drastically cut transit time.
At Midtown Manhattan-based Almar Sales Co., the sales team sold an astounding 20 million fidget toys to Walmart, Toys ’R’ Us, Party City and others in April, executive vice president Allen Ashkenazie told The Post.
“At this rate, it would be our largest-selling toy in our 50-plus-year history,” said Ashkenazie.
Because Almar agreed to airfreight the spinners, the stores have them on their shelves now.
“The retailers are willing to pay a premium to have the spinners airfreighted.”
Some manufacturers are marketing the products as a study aid that can be helpful for people who suffer from ADHD.
Hand spinners popped up last year but made a huge splash in March as social media posts went viral.
“We saw an increase in sales for Rubik’s Cubes, yo-yos and other toys that keep little hands occupied — items that we’ve carried for decades,” Toys ’R’ Us spokeswoman Meghan Sowa said in an email statement to The Post.
“That’s when our expert buyers did some research and saw the buzz building for spinners and fidget cubes,” she said. “We took immediate action and started airfreighting product to shelves.”
If retailers have not yet placed an order, they may be too late.
Some manufacturers in China are selling directly to US consumers via Amazon, which was the first retailer to sell hand spinners here, according to Josh Loerzel, an executive with Portland, Ore.-based Zing, a second fidget spinner maker.
While the US each year seems to stumble upon a crazy toy fad — milk caps, Beanie Babies and Pokémon, to name three — fidget spinners may be among the most lucrative for toy makers.
But Ashkenazie at Almar knows it won’t last forever.
“I can literally walk into the office on a Monday morning in a few weeks from now and it can be yesterday’s news,” he said. “As if it never existed.”