Once you pop a bubble you can’t stop, and the British are increasingly hooked on toys that simulate the pleasure of squashing bubble wrap over and over again.
Retailers have sold 5 million its or fidget poppers since stores reopened in April, confirming that this toy is the latest craze since fidget spinners swept playgrounds in 2017 and is likely to last until Christmas.
Gary Grant, founder and CEO of toy chain The Entertainer, reported that has sold 1 million units, which are covered with rubber bumps that can be pushed in and out and produce a “pop” sound.
“Every two years something big comes out and now it’s fidget poppersGrant noted of the toys, which come in all shapes and sizes, from standard squares to rainbows, unicorns and Baby Yodas, and they even smell. “I’ve sold a million but it could go as high as 5 million“.
In the context of the pandemic, some attribute the success of pop to its anti-stress properties, since children and adults affirm that They help them focus and manage their emotions.
It is a trend on TikTok, pop-its videos have billions of views. Their appeal has also been increased by the ban on schools: they cannot be used in classrooms, where they have traditionally been used as an aid to neurodiverse children.
Frédérique Tutt, Global Industry Analyst at NPD Market Researchers, noted that the influence of social media reflects that pop-its is more than a local phenomenon, a worldwide phenomenon “all children watch the same videos from Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat”.
Tutt describes them as the latest iteration in the growing field of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) toys, which put crudely produce a strange feeling that feels good. “It is something different for each person,” he says. “Maybe you like to squish or run your hand through the sand. It is the satisfaction you get from a repetitive action that tends to reduce your stress level”.
The premise of the pop-its is simple: people press the bubbles, hear a pop, and when they have all squeezed, they turn the toy over and start over. Since they are made with silicone rubber, they can be used for a two-part game or simply to see who is the fastest to pop them.
No toy brand dominates the market, but it is said that the idea is from game designers Theo and Ora Coster, to whom approximately 200 inventions are attributed, including Guess Who. The design came to Ora in a dream when her sister died of breast cancer, according to a BBC interview with her son. She then asked her husband to create a “pacifier mat that you could push from one side to the other.”
However, the climate emergency makes the enjoyment of pop-it tempered by awareness of the possible environmental cost. An online debate on BBC Newsround revealed mixed feelings. “I love pop-it, it is so relaxing and good for anxiety that I have at 84 years old,” said one of the participants, while another was concerned about the possibility that it is “quite harmful to our planet“.
Pop-its are the hope in the toy market that is battling shortages in the run-up to Christmas as a result of coronavirus-related production and transportation delays. To keep its shelves full, The Entertainer had 70 containers brought from China on a chartered ship, but each container costs $ 19,000, before Covid-19 its cost was $ 1,500.
Tutt pointed out that the disruption would lead to higher prices and a sell-out of toys, and urged people to consider starting their shopping earlier than usual: “People have to buy soon if they know what toys their children want for this Christmas“.