By Madison Callinan
Kellenberg Memorial High School
and Adelyn Veras
Lindenhurst High School
From the shelves of big box stores and small shops alike to classrooms in elementary schools, high schools and even universities across the nation, fidget spinners are surging in popularity.
According to Slice Intelligence, an e-commerce research company, fidget spinners — most often a hand-held, three-pronged, spinning plastic toy — have quickly gained traction. In May, the company found fidget spinners accounted for 17 percent of daily online toy and game sales. Slice Intelligence also found the majority of people buying the toys online were middle-aged women and men, and said it was originally marketed as a toy for children to help improve their classroom performance.
Camille Abbruscato, a marketing lecturer and director of academic marketing projects and business relations at Stony Brook University, said in an interview she believes fidget spinners can have a positive impact on younger generations.
“I’m happy to see some of these small children playing with them because it takes them away from their phones and the little hand-held games,” she said. “…It actually just gets them to think about something differently, and, maybe as ridiculously as it sounds, use some of their fine motor skills besides pressing on buttons.”
According to Slice Intelligence, consumers in New York and Miami latched onto the fidget spinner craze more than other major metropolitan areas.
The reasons for the fidget spinners’ popularity may vary, but Julia Martinez, a linguistics major at Stony Brook University, finds hers is a helpful tool to manage her Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.
“For people who genuinely have ADHD or some sort of hyperactive disorder, it definitely helps,” she said, flicking a fidget spinner as she spoke. “I have ADHD and I need to be doing more than one thing at a time to be getting any work done.”
Ms. Martinez described a nightly homework routine without the fidget spinner: homework on one computer screen, Netflix “or something” on another.
“I need to have two different sensory inputs to get any sort of work done,” she said.
A simple online search yields more than 125,000 product results for fidget spinners. They come in all different shapes and sizes — from two to six prongs, plastic or metal, solid colors of every shade to wild patterns, and more. Buyers can find prices from $1 to nearly $1,000.
The fad of fidget spinners has expanded past the actual toy. Dude Perfect, the YouTube sensations, filmed incredible trick shots using the toy, topping 44.5 million views in about 40 days. The software developer Ketchapp Games released an app in the Apple Store called “Fidget Spinner,” which allows a user to gain rewards and earn prizes based on each spin. The TV show “Saturday Night Live” featured a comedy sketch about the popular toy.
“It was a toy that was really very much out of character for their generation and out of the ordinary, and I think that was part of its popularity,” Ms. Abbruscato said.