There’s a bottomless pit of little-known brands hawking the “hoverboards” that have exploded on the pop culture scene this year, earning the love of celebrities and appearances in viral videos.
All of these two-wheeled electric scooters look almost identical, yet their prices can range from a couple hundred dollars to $1,800. With a range of brands most consumers have never heard of — Sminiker, AOMG, Lowpricenice — how do you know which one to get?
Razor, which has long made popular push scooters for kids, saw an opportunity and is swooping in. It recently acquired a patent for its hoverboards from inventor Shane Chen, and is hustling to sell two models in time for the holiday rush. Razor’s presence brings a proven brand to a space dominated by upstarts.
“The most important distinguishing feature is that it will be manufactured to Razor quality standards with Razor’s customer service and support behind it,” said Katherine Mahoney, Razor USA vice president of marketing. “We already know folks love it, and we will do our best to meet the demand for this holiday season.”
A Toys-R-Us spokeswoman said the company would have a limited number of Razor’s hoverboard — called the Hovertrax — available for $800 at its Web site “on or about Dec. 1.” A BestBuy spokesman said the store is hoping to have a limited number of Hovertrax available in stores and online in early December. Wal-Mart does not offer any hoverboards in its physical stores, but third-party sellers offer them on its Web site.
Razor is selling two models, the Hovertrax and Hovertrax DLX, with suggested prices of $599 and $699, respectively.
The more expensive DLX goes slightly faster (7 mph vs. 6 mph) and includes the blue LED lights that appear on most other versions of the scooter. Both will last for up to 115 minutes of continuous use, according to Razor. It said the Hovertrax is made for those age 13 and older.
The company also said it will “vigilantly enforce” its intellectual property rights.
“We already are working with our Chinese partner to stop the import into the United States of nonpatented products,” Mahoney said. One week from Black Friday, the race is on to cash in on what may be the most popular gift of the holiday season.