Mumbles Pier has reported that one particular redemption prize is in demand more than any other – a trend that appears consistent throughout the UK’s seaside resorts.
The seaside sector’s most sought after prize of the season looks to be already decided – and the winner? The fidget spinner. Out of nowhere, off the back of a patent that expired in 2005, this small device has taken the world by storm.
In May, while many were closely following news surrounding the snap election, variations of fidget spinners held 49 positions of the 50 bestselling toys on Amazon. Perhaps this timing is no coincidence, as these rotating gadgets are said to relieve stress and anxiety – even Barron Trump, the President’s son, was pictured with one while getting off Air Force One.
The small devices are comprised of two parts; a central bearing to be gripped by the index finger and thumb, enclosed inside a three-pronged rotational blade that spins when force is applied.
On the south coast of Wales inside Mumbles Pier’s large amusements arcade, visitors have been playing in hot pursuit of the venue’s range of stylish spinners, whether that be from an armful of tickets, or a well placed 2 pence coin.
“We have fidget spinners as both a redemption prize and on our 2p pushers. No sooner have I filled up the pushers with fidget spinners as prizes they are empty again, they are incredibly popular,” commented Hannah Sparling, supervisor at Mumbles Pier.
There is an increasing number of variations in designs, aesthetics and even licensing that give the prize a quality of collectability, with arcade visitors of all ages looking to add to their fidget spinner range. This also brings an element of competition between collectors, but most commentators are saying the prize’s primary allure comes from its sensory stimulation.
As the player tilts the fidget spinner back and forth while rotating it at various speeds, different forces can be felt and experimented with. This combination of both collectability and genuine playability has proven a success for the prize.
“We must have awarded over 1000 of them as redemption prizes alone,” added Sparling. “Other prizes have performed very well for us, but there is always one stand out every year, and this year it is the fidget spinner without a doubt.”
Sparling added that Paw Patrol has been the most popular licence for prizes on the pier, with film characters such as Dory, from last year’s animated Pixar film, showing the strength of products backed by a Hollywood marketing budget.
“Dory went really well with the film coming out last year, and we generally go for a strategy of following the most popular family films with strong, marketable characters,” said Sparling.
With films such as Minions 3 just released at cinemas, fidget spinners may find some competition towards the end of the season – although manufacturers have already started adding such licensed branding to the rotating handheld devices, providing even more space in which the craze can grow.