Disney’s Princess Sofia the First doll could be the toy hit of holidays this year, according to Panjiva, which is more bullish on its projections for Christmas retail sales than many other forecasters.
A firm with offices in New York and Cambridge, Panjiva analyzes bills of lading for ships bringing goods to the United States. The technologies that Panjiva uses for that analysis were developed under the leadership of company cofounder James Psota, a computer scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Panjiva sells its data and analysis to manufacturers and suppliers.
In making its holiday projections, Panjiva takes a close look at shipments to the US from August through October, the months when most holiday shipments arrive at US ports in order to be on store shelves in time for the holiday shopping season. After looking at that data, Panjiva concluded that retailers are making a big bet that Sofia will sell well.
Citing increased optimism among retailers in 2013, Panjiva noted that Sofia the First shipments were more than double that of last year’s “it’’ toy, Doc McStuffins, a stuffed-animal doctor doll.
Retailers this season also placed large order for Furreal Friends (animatronic pet animals), Zoomer the robotic dog, the board game Chasin Cheeky, and rubber-band craft kit called Rainbow Loom, Panjiva said.
Earlier, the firm said that its analysis of shipments pointed to the strong performance of classic toy brands that introduced new versions or variations ahead of this year’s winter holiday season, including Elmo, Barbie, and Furby.
“Typically what we see, and what this year’s data suggests, is that retailers take a portfolio approach to toys,’’ Panjiva chief executive Josh Green said in a statement. “They heavily stock known, reliable toys they feel confident will sell, and then they also place smaller bets on newer toys that don’t yet have a proven sales track record but that they anticipate will be atop children’s wish lists. Sofia the First is one of the biggest bets they’ve made in recent years. This shows optimism, but the diversified approach is a reminder retailers are always keen to reduce the risk of being stuck ringing in the new year with surplus supply.’’