by Enrique Viveros
You know you want to squeeze them. So, say hello to Squishmallows, the landmark stuffed animal for 2020. These soft and squishable plushies were the hot topic during a year filled with social distancing, masks, and quarantine.
I noticed these cute stuffed animals all over social media sites like TikTok and Instagram during the pandemic. With users talking about latest releases at major retailers, funny videos, and one’s ISO list, in search of. I believe Squishmallows are Gen Z’s version of the 90’s collectible stuffed animal, Beanie Babies.
You might be wondering, what in the world are Squishmallows?
Introduced in 2017, Squishmallows are “loveable buddies from super soft, marshmallow-like texture and polyester,” said the toy company, Kellytoy. These marshmallow plushies range from the 3.5-inch clip-on plushies for backpacks and lanyards to 24-inch extra-large plushies big enough to replace your sleeping pillows.
Squishmallows’ ever-growing collections upwards to more than 500 characters range from Archie the Axolotl to more recognizable faces like Mickey Mouse and Baby Yoda. As a result, major retailers like Target, Walgreens, and Costco have seen a surge in interest in college students and adults.
In contrast, Beanie Babies are stuffed toys filled with plastic pellets called beans. At first, consumers thought Beanie Babies looked inexpensive due to the toys being understuffed; however, this technique was used to make the toys look alive when displaying on shelves. As a result, these stuffed toys became the world’s first internet sensation in 1995 and were popularized in the latter part of the ’90s.
What grew Squishmallow’s popularity is their online presence with social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, along with celebrities like Charli D’Amelio and Lady Gaga showing off their collection of Squishmallows. In contrast, Beanie Babies were the first brand to create a website for consumers even though only 1.4% of Americans were using the internet.
Like anything this popular, they’ll be selling like hotcakes, and there will slip in some counterfeits or overpriced items. For Beanie Babies, there was a major seize of commemorative Princesses the bear and Britannias in memorial for Princess Diana’s death in 1997. The most expensive Beanie Babies is the 1997 Princess Diana bear for $800,000.
On the Squishmallow side, currently, some companies make their version of Squishmallows. For example, the company Ty, the creators of Beanie Babies, has made duplicates called Squish a Boos. Online sellers and scalpers have put harm towards the finding and purchasing of Squishmallows due to their mass purchasing of new releases and up pricing the value of purchased Squishmallow. Currently, the most expensive Squishmallow is on eBay, and it’s worth $4,495 with free shipping, and it’s a 16-inch Buttons, the light blue bunny.
I believe Squishmallows are Gen Z’s Beanie Babies due to their internet presents, variety in characters, and overall marshmallow squish.