They're bigger, louder and according to some, tackier than ever! Inflatables are blowing up! Their popularity and size keeps growing.

Gemmy, the company responsible for 90-95% of the inflatable market share took their inspiration from blow-up Gorillas used at car dealerships. Gemmy Industries was best known for creating Big Mouth Billy Bass, an animatronic singing fish on a plaque that was a popular gag gift at the turn of the millennium. Speaking to Marketplace.org, Vice-President of product development Steven Harris says,

“Definitely Big Mouth Billy Bass put Gemmy on the map,” After Big Mouth Billy’s success, Harris said, Gemmy’s co-owner, Dan Flaherty, was looking for another hit.

Early prototypes of inflatables included examples that inflated with a hair dryer and polyester material that didn't retain their shape. In 2001, after working with fabric mills and designers, Gemmy Industries introduced its first Airblown Inflatable which was an 8 foot Santa Claus.

20 years later, Gemmy has become an industry leader in hot air! They offer products ranging in price from $15 for a small polar bear to around $200 for a giant Snoopy driving a Zamboni. Their inflatables can be found in stores like Home Depot, Lowes and Wal-Mart or online.

A typical inflatable uses 150 to 200 watts per hour costing an extra $10 per month on your electric bill. A well-cared for inflatable should last about 7 years.

If you're in the mood for Christmas spirit combined with your favorite college, you can buy an inflatable snowman dressed up in MSU gear. How about Olaf? Or Darth Vader? Easy to put up with low maintenance, inflatables can add a festive mood to any yard, tacky or not!