Merchants are awaiting shipments of more of the toys to arrive in Germany, both by ship and by airplane, according to Willy Fischel, chief executive of the German Association of Toy Retail.
“When the ships get there, there will be more of them spinning in Germany,” Fischel said on Monday.
The flat, palm-sized gadgets look like a cross between a propeller and a ninja’s throwing star, and are balanced on the fingers and spun around. In some cases, the colourful wheels swirl for up to several minutes at a time.
YouTube videos in April of them in action in the Untied States and United Kingdom catalyzed a frenzy of demand by German kids, according to Fischel.
“No wonder that the product became scarce overnight,” he added.
“In comparison to its precursors, such as Tamagotchi, Furby or Slime, the demand for fidget spinners is developing at the speed of light.”
Most fidget spinners cost between €4 and €6, but there are also models with particular features such as small LED lights, for which you have to pay up to €30.
And the craze has paid off: In Germany alone, the toys have brought in revenues of €1 million since just March, according to Fischel.
Manufacturers claim that they help kids to alleviate symptoms of hyperactivity, ADHD, or autism. The packaging even says the toys can help break smoking habits.
“I can only smile tiredly about the alleged therapeutic purposes,” says Hans-Peter Meidinger, chairman of the German Philological Association, and as of July 1st also the president of the German Teachers’ Association.
“It's my impression that the fidget spinners are not the main problem in schools,” he added, instead pointing to cell phones as an issue.
“I am quite a supporter of analogue games and I think it is good if the pupils occupy themselves with their dexterity during break times, rather than staring at their smartphones.”
Another 'must-have' toy
A man balances a fidget spinner on his finger. Photo: DPA
“Some teachers even recommend it so then we at least don’t speak to each other so much,” explained 15-year-old Kjell from Hambergen, near Bremen while buying a store's last camouflage-coloured spinner in Hanover.
Another schoolkid, 11-year-old Alexandra, noted that if “teachers confiscate the fidget spinners, they end up playing with them themselves”.
Her mother Kerstin Winkel had tried in vain to avoid the purchase of one, since so many must-haves were already gathering dust on the shelves of her daughter’s bedroom.
“First it was the Filly Pferde (small pony figurines), then the Loom Bands, because of which we bought extra sorting boxes,” she says.
Barron Trump exits Air Force One holding his fidget spinner. Photo: DPA/AP
Even the son of the President of the United States, Barron Trump, has a fidget spinner. The 11-year-old was photographed on Sunday as he stepped out of Air Force One, holding a red model of the toy.
On the internet, there aren’t just videos with tricks, such as how to balance a fidget spinner on your nose, but also about care and repair tips as well as instructions for building them yourself.
A scout group from Wedemark, near Hanover in Lower Saxony, has even chosen fidget spinner-building as a project.
“We have already ordered the ball bearings,” explained 15-year-old Helen.
The scout group wants to make hand-held spinners out of cardboard and bottle caps in groups of eight during the next group session, before selling them and donating the money.
According to the German Association of Toy Retail, fidget spinners are to be joined by fidget sticks in June and fidget cubes in August.