Smart watches, headphones, books, candy and the Quadcopter all have at least one thing in common: They’re all on the popular item list for this coming holiday season.
Consumer confidence is rising, so the holiday season might see a slight increase in sales, according to economists.
High-tech holiday items
The popular choice for tech-smart individuals includes the iPhone 6 from Apple. Apple has not announced an iPhone 6, but the retailer Radio Shack expects the item to be available soon. The iPhone 6 is scheduled to launch mid-September, along the same timeline as the Samsung Note 4, said Quinn Myers, assistant manager of Radio Shack at the Citadel Mall.
Other tech items “seem to focus on laptops and headphones,” Myers said. “Tablets haven’t taken off,” but interest in the phones is launching, he said.
Laptops range in price from $300 to $600, and headphones can range from $20 to $500 per pair, Myers said.
“I’ve seen multiple people drop $300 for a pair of headphones. Most are between $50 and $150,” he said. “With the holiday season, high-priced headphones take off.”
Younger children will be attracted to the Quadcopter, a remote-control helicopter with four sets of blades, he said.
High-demand new tech items also include smart watches and health and fitness devices, said Carly Charlson, spokesperson for Best Buy.
“Smart watches are the new cool tech item,” Charlson said.
The Pebble Steel smart watch includes features of a phone, incoming calls, text messages, Twitter, timer, alarm, calendar, email and more. Apps to help the wearer include those for cycling and running. This one has a manufacturer’s list price of $249.
Less expensive smart watches, like the $129 Meta Watch, include features simply for calls and texts.
“There’s just so much you can do with a health and fitness item you can wear; you can measure steps to deep workouts,” Charlson said. “These are a really great gift item.”
Health and fitness wearable items include the Nike FuelBand that sells for $99, the Samsung Fear Fit fitness tracker that sells for $149.99, the BodyMedia Fit items ($179.99 to $259), FitBit ($59.95 to $99.95), the Basis smart watch ($199) and the Jawbone UP ($99.99).
“It all depends on what you want,” Charlson said. “If you want an elaborate item, you’ll pay a higher price.”
For someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money, tech accessories such as tablet cases and smart phone cases can be purchased for less than $50 at a number of locations around town.
Because the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have been out for a year, expect more games to be available during the holiday season, Charlson said.
For people who like to stream their TV shows, there is the Roku, which ranges in price from $40 to $99.99.
Youngsters, young at heart
Little Richard’s Toy Store on Tejon Street is a place to “shop and play at the same time,” said owner Richard Skorman.
“I think Christmas is going to be very good this year,” said toys manager Suzanne Doroski.
Ed Freeman, who also works at Little Richard’s highlighted several toys that are expected to fly off the shelves this year. The Demolition Lab will enable children to build a toy and then push a button to demolish it. Another popular item is the marble maze, selling for $98.95.
“Living sand is really cool too. You can mold it, shape it, sculpt it,” Freeman said. The material isn’t sand. It is nontoxic, antibacterial and safe for children 3 and older.
“My daughter loves to play with it,” and she’s 14, he said.
The store has educational items and flash cards for $7.95, and games, Yahtzee, Gobblet, Sketch It and more.
Stocking-stuffers include a mini paint set at 95 cents, a whistle at $1.95, a neon clay set for 95 cents, mini markers at $1.95.
The store also features hundreds of figurines, from knights to almost any animal imaginable, priced from $2.95 and above.
Books and gifts
“We recently launched the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, the first full-featured tablet for reading,” said Alan McNamara, senior manager, corporate communications for Barnes & Noble. This item features a seven-inch screen, which enables the user to read books or cruise the Internet.
The Tab 4 Nook lets “readers connect to the world when they need to and escape from it whenever they want,” McNamara said.
“We bring in lots of new items for the holiday season,” said Andrea Palos of Little Richard’s Book Store. “Our store has done really well with the new book releases,” such as the George R.R. Martin “Game of Thrones” series, Palos said. In addition, another best seller is Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series.
The store sells new books and used books at a discount.
In the gift category, Little Richard’s will have new soap lines, ornaments, candles, cards, new jewelry and new book titles.
“We like to bring in a lot of new titles during the holiday season,” Palos said.