Once the winter holiday shopping season wraps up and the New Year’s dust settles, parents know it’s time to relax. But not you. As retailers and toy-makers, you’re busy finding out what’s going to be big on next year’s Christmas list. You’re busy planning your route at Toy Fair.
The upcoming edition of Toy Fair, set for Feb. 16-19, 2019 in New York City, will be the 116thinstallment of the show. More than 26,000 professionals attended last year’s show, which has grown substantially to become the largest show in the Western Hemisphere. Of those some-26,000 attendees, more than 11,000 are retailers, wholesalers, entertainment executives, importers and buyers from 97 countries. And this year is shaping up to be just as exciting.
“We’reparticularly excited about the growth of our Creative Factor program for entrepreneurs and inventors at New York Toy Fair,” said Marian Bossard, Executive Vice President of Global Market Events at The Toy Association.
Now entering its 16thyear, Creative Factor offers informative sessions during the show about the state of the toy industry.
So, what can we expect from this year’s show? A place where it’s socially acceptable for adults to be children again, for one.
In terms of products, Bossard said the trend sign is pointing to the continued popularity of collectibles, innovative robotics and engaging (but also educational) tech toys. Some of the best trends from last year have been slapstick and gross-out toys, toys based on mythical pets, and STEAM toys, so we can likely expect to see those continue to be popular.
When it comes to the classics, games like Monopoly and puzzles remain top-of-mind. But even companies that specialize in these favorites do their best to anticipate what will be popular among their customers.
“While we are known for our wooden and metal puzzles, we have also recently been building up our selection of party games,” said Dan Baxter, puzzle specialist for Professor Puzzle. It’s interesting, how what was once old is considered new again. Baxter anticipates one if the company’s new items to be exceptionally popular; a Sherlock Holmes-themed range of puzzles and games. Also on the top of the list for Professor Puzzle, are the new wooden tabletop versions of hockey and table tennis, as well as the VHS-shaped movie trivia pack, which adds just the right touch of nostalgia.
In addition to these hot-ticket items, many toymakers offer an array of products for kids of varying abilities. “We are increasingly seeing a great selection of toys that help differently abled and special needs children develop skills at their own pace,” said Bossard. “From dexterity and hand-eye coordination, to social and problem-solving skills.”
The key is for parents and caregivers to be cognizant of their child’s unique interests and abilities, and to tap into the expertise of retail staff in order to select appropriate toys for their children.
Whatever type of toy, game or children’s gifting item you’ll want to stock your shelves with, the show promises to boast everything you’ll need to turn your shop into the local version of Santa’s toy workshop by the end of the year.