The time has come for eggnog, ugly sweaters and of course, shopping frenzies. Social media analytics firm Talkwalker has compiled some of the most talked-about toys and tech of the holiday season from break-out hits to legacy gifts that return year after year. See what’s hot . . . and surprisingly not.

“When it comes to technology gifts, you aren’t in the game unless you are looking at a Microsoft Xbox,” Talkwalker notes. The gaming console has received more than 600,000 social media mentions over the past seven days, making the Xbox and its games the number one technology gift for 2016. PlayStation, meanwhile has sold over 50 million units worldwide but isn’t getting the same social attention. We asked why that might be.

“Some brands are way out front in terms of doing a great job in social media marketing and their partners (like retailers) are also pushing their products in their social media marketing,” Talkwalker CEO Todd Grossman told [a]listdaily. “In the case of Xbox, the launch of a sexy new game like Dead Rising 4 has also impacted the chatter in social, keeping the name trending.”

Talkwalker noted that Dead Rising 4 is probably the hottest trending item in the technology category, increasing more than 235 percent in the past seven days—with just the words, “Dead Rising” jumping 106 percent as well. If you’ve “gotta catch ’em all,” you’re not alone—games like Pokémon Sun and Moon and toys like Winking Pikachu Plush are driving the conversation with more than 925,000 mentions of Pokémon and its toys over the past week.

Dead Rising 4‘s zany marketing campaigns have kept its name trending on social media. (Source: Capcom)

This year’s must-have toy is the Hatchimal—a toy that emerges from its egg with the help of its owner. The lovable creature is consistently trending high with nearly unique 30,000 mentions over the past week, Talkwalker reports. Which Hatchimal you get is a mystery every time, adding a sense of surprise to the novelty. San Antonio television station KENS posted a Facebook Live stream of a Hatchimal “hatching” and has received 1.4 million views.

Hot Wheels is holding its own with more than 16,000 mentions over the past week, while new “hot” toys like Shopkins (8,300 mentions) and Tsum Tsum (6,900 mentions) join the trending list alongside this classic toy franchise.

Star Wars is always a hot topic, but more so this week as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story debuts in US theaters. Despite the excitement of fans on social media, the conversation doesn’t include much about merchandise, with Star Wars toys getting fewer than 5,000 mentions over the past seven days.

“I think there’s a tendency to talk about new and different things on social, like Hatchimals for example,” Grossman explained. “Star Wars merchandise alongside the release of a new movie is effective but it may not inspire you to share your purchase on social.”

Despite being fake, the Fisher Price Happy Hour Playset is still generating some buzz online with more than 5,000 mentions in the past week. Fake news like this impacts social media tracking, but Grossman says Talkwalker has a solution.

When you are looking at data around Christmas toys and ‘Trump’ pops up as a trending topic,” he noted, “you know that is probably the result of something other than a Donald Trump life-sized doll being sold at the holidays. With the Talkwalker platform, you can dig deep into any subject and see where it really comes from and even eliminate it from your search results when you know that the subject matter doesn’t relate to the topic.”


Drones are undoubtedly a gift item this holiday season with 218,000 mentions over the past week, while the Fitbit (170,000 mentions) and Apple Watch (100,000 mentions) most likely appearing under the tree, as well.

When it comes to phones, Apple’s iPhone rules social media with nearly 31,000 mentions, Talkwalker reported, while Samsung Galaxy was mentioned 20,000 times and the Google Pixel Phone mentioned 10,000 times. Apple’s iPad appears to be the most popular tablet, as well with 58,000 mentions, while the MS Surface Book received 3,100, Samsung Galaxy Tablet mentioned 327 times and Google Pixel Tablet mentioned 209 times.

Trending topics come and go, but Grossman’s analytics firm has noticed a pattern across social media and how brands are really getting mentioned.

“I think one thing we’ve noticed a lot with brands is that it often isn’t ‘branded’ content that trends,” he said. “It will be a post produced by a customer or influencer about a brand or product. This doesn’t mean brands should give up, but more that they should have a clear plan on how to get people involved and how to track when their brand is being mentioned in this way.”