Must-have holiday toy shows how companies can drive demand

AP Photo Hatchimals are the hot toy of the 2017 holiday season, but they're becoming harder and harder to get a hold of.
AP Photo Hatchimals are the hot toy of the 2017 holiday season, but they're becoming harder and harder to get a hold of.
AP Photo
Hatchimals are the hot toy of the 2016 holiday season, but they’re becoming harder and harder to get a hold of.

By Sean Spencer | Staff Writer

It seems that every child is begging their parents to buy them the hottest toy this holiday season — Hatchimals. There’s only one problem, though — the toy is sold out everywhere.  

Hatchimals by Spin Master are eggs that hatch into little furry creatures. There are 5 so-called species of Hatchimals: Pengualas, Draggles, Owlicorns, Burtles and Bearakeets.

How can it be that something so popular is nowhere to be found?

According to The Simple Dollar, a personal finance advice site, scarcity marketing is manipulative strategy on supply and demand.

The strategy involves companies limiting quantities of their product so that it will create a forced scarcity, thus making the consumer believe that the product is rare or valuable. Once consumers have this perception, the price and profits will rise as long as the item remains scarce.

The marketing tool makes the consumer feel like they have to have the product. It also creates more publicity for the company.

On websites like eBay, people are selling Hatchimals up to $500, while the retail price is $60.

The use of this strategy is also involved as sneaker culture has risen over the last decade.

Every year in December, the Air Jordan brand releases a different color of the Retro 11 sneaker to huge demand and popularity. This year the Air Jordan Space Jam Retro 11 will be releasing on December 10 for $220.

Past releases have seen people of all ages have line up for a pair of the new Air Jordan or Nike basketball shoes, even camping overnight to secure their pair.  

There have been instances in which the shoe retailer will have limited pairs for each size and have a line of fifty to one hundred people waiting and hoping to get their shoes.

Due to the scarcity and hype of the shoes, there has been an increase in violence over these sneakers, involving people being robbed and even killed.

In addition, the price of these shoes are going for a lot of money online.

The Nike Air Yeezy, a shoe endorsed by musician Kanye West, is going for thousands of dollars online despite being released years ago.  

Students at Duquesne shared their opinions on the marketing strategy and following trends.

Guriqbal Singh, a freshman, said that “they make people feel a little more accomplished about having something others don’t … it doesn’t bother me because I’ll always enjoy what I have.”

“There’s always that debate of quality over quantity,” said freshman Langston Brentley. “Most college students are struggling and always looking for more. So for this topic I would be upset at companies who do that because I’m paying a certain amount for many and I want the most I can get for what I pay.”

For this holiday season, students might benefit from being more aware of these marketing tools and not getting caught up in the hype.