Zhu Zhu Pets – which retail for about $10 and are aimed at 3- to 10-year-olds – are this year’s bona fide must-have toy. On resale Web sites like eBay and Craigslist, they fetch $40 or more. Vital accessories such as the hamster car and funhouse are sold separately.
One mom recounts how her kids started jumping up and down asking for the Zhu Zhu hamster but upon seeing a fully stocked shelve decided to hold off until Christmas. Little did she or anyone expect them to be all sold out and become more scarce then the H1N1 vaccine.
The hamsters, which scurry around, make noises and drive cars, don’t always work the way you expect and have a limited range of action but several factors have made them compelling; fun accessories and scarcity – sometimes when something is hard to obtain it makes people want it more plus it CHEAP!
Zhu Zhu Pets are made by tiny Cepia Inc. of St. Louis, with just 16 employees in the United States and 30 in China, making their success even more unlikely but the the craze sets Cepia up for a strong 2010. Hornsby estimates the company will sell $100 million in Zhu Zhu Pets by the end of the year. It’s always hard to tell how long a toy will stay hot, but based on bookings, he says that will grow to $350 million to $400 million by the end of next year as production ramps up.