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NEW YORK (AP) — Multi-use cookers, toy monkeys, and lots of velvet. Here's a look at what experts say were some of the most popular items this holiday season:
TOYS: Fingerlings, the $15 colorful monkeys that wrap around a finger, have been hard to find sometimes. Other hot items were the LOL Surprise ball, which hides small dolls and other trinkets in layers inside. And Hatchimals, animatronic bird-like creatures that hatch from eggs, were back this year with new twists after being a hit last year. Board games are popular too, particularly messy ones like Soggy Doggy, which shakes water onto players. And Star Wars toys related to the latest movie are faring well, though not matching last year's success, says Jim Silver, editor-in-chief of toy site TTPM.
CLOTHING: Cold weather has driven shoppers to buy coats, boots and gloves, but they're also picking up other fashion items, says Scott Bernhardt, president of Planalytics, which consults with retailers on weather patterns. Velvet is again taking center stage, with blazers, dresses and wide-leg pants all being the most-wanted pieces, says Lyst, a massive fashion e-commerce platform.
HOUSEWARES: Gadgets like the Instant Pot, which combines a pressure cooker, a slow cooker, rice cooker and more, are still hot this year. In the year that ended in November, sales of multi-use cookers rose 79 percent to more than $300 million, says the NPD Group, a market research firm. Multi-cookers were big hits over Thanksgiving weekend and inventory was sold out or low, but has since been replenished, NPD says.
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS: New Apple iPhones and watches as well as new video consoles topped shoppers' list for consumer electronics, says Craig Johnson, president of consulting group Customer Growth Partners. Popular consoles included the hand-held Nintendo Switch, and nostalgia has made the Super NES Classic, a miniature version of the coveted 1990s console, hard to find.