Expert tips on hot toys this holiday season and how to get them

CHICAGO — Holiday shopping will be full throttle in a matter of days. Toy sales are already up by 7 percent this year, and that’s before the holiday shopping season has even begun.

With the dominance of online retailing and the closure of Toys R Us, which used to handle 20 percent of toy business in America, there are new questions about what the best ways are to check off items on the holiday shopping list. Here's some expert advice on which toys are the hottest (and likely hardest to get) this holiday season, as well as some tips on making sure you don't end up empty-handed.

According to toy expert Tom Dant of thetoyinsider.com, collectible Fortnite figures will be available Dec. 1 and will likely "fly off the shelves."

New Fortnite figures are bound to be in high demand once they go on sale December 1

Dant said this year's highest demand will also be for interactive gadgets, toys that hide a surprise, new ways for kids to get around, and even classics that are celebrating major anniversaries with special offerings:

 

Here are some expert tips on how to get these and other toys, courtesy of Laurie Schacht, the "Cheap Toy Officer"

  1. If you have a smaller toy store in your neighborhood, get to know the owner, become their friend and find out when they are getting their deliveries.
  2. Don’t just reach out to the retailer. Reach out to the manufacturer. Who is carrying it? When is a shipment coming in? You just have to ask the questions.
  3. Social media is your best friend. If you talk to a manufacturer on Twitter or Facebook, they are going to get back to you right away. They want happy customers.
  4. Create an email for the holidays that you are happy to ditch on Jan. 1.
  5. Add items to your wish list on websites like Amazon. If retailers know what you’re looking for, you’ll get emails and know when it’s going to be back in stock.
  6. Get your extended family involved in the hunt.
  7. Don’t overpay, but don’t wait for a sale if your kid really wants something.