The Hottest Toys of 2016, According to the Cloud


Computer software company Adobe is using Cloud data to predict what the top-selling toys will be this holiday season.

Using information gathered off permitted client web pages (aka “their Cloud”) as well as social media chatter, combined with historically collected data, Adobe’s analytics team compiled a list of the likely hottest toys and other great gifts for the holidays.

“Looking at all that data is like looking at weather patterns,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst and director of Adobe Digital Insights, which has offered its Holiday Predictions for the last four years.

So what does Adobe predict will be the top toys this holiday season? Pokemon Sun/Moon rates number one, followed by Barbie, Lego, Frozen toys and Hot Wheels.

Other gifts that rate high include Oculus, Playstation VR, HTC Vive, Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Gaffney said the Adobe Cloud is an “I’m looking at Earth from space kind of Cloud. … I can detect patterns that you can’t see from inside the Cloud.”

In order to make meaningful predictions, “Someone has to look at the satellite pictures in a secure way,” she said.

Gaffney gathers information from the Cloud on the toys people are talking about, the toys people are buying, and the toys that are being advertised. But just collecting information is not enough. “Weather patterns,” she said, “don’t tell us why.”

“When we look at the idea of the Cloud, it’s not a stand-alone thing,” Gaffney explained. “What people actually do is a bigger component than what they say they will do.”

It comes down to a question Gaffney said is much-debated among analysts of the Cloud: Are they scientists of Big Data or of decisions?

“I’m more of a decision scientist than a data scientist,” said Gaffney. “That’s the artistic part of Cloud data analysis.”

When it comes to the predictions, history matters.

“VR goggles are getting lots of social media chatter and are on a lot of wish lists,” Gaffney said. “But the complications of upgrading computers, gaming consoles, expenses and product enhancement cycles sometimes cause people to want to wait. … We wait for early returns before we really put a stake in the ground.”

But a product like Amazon Echo, which has been on the market for a while, she said offers more reliability. “We know it will be big this year,” Gaffney said.

Besides foreseeing which gifts will be wrapped most often this season, Adobe’s Cloud predictions can tell shoppers what days they can get the best deals on particular items, what days certain items are most likely to be out of stock, and how to find the best prices.

For businesses, the Cloud can reveal the when, where and how shoppers are reaching them. Mobile, said Gaffney, is becoming ever-more critical.

“We’re seeing for the first time that 53 percent of all visits to shopping web sites are from mobile devices,” said Gaffney. “The web has flattened. We’re saturated. And mobile-type browsing hurts retailers. People spend less on mobile devices.”

But all is not lost for retailers, armed with a little Cloud data. “We have an opportunity,” said Gaffney, “to change the future with knowledge.”