The 110th American International Toy Fair drew nearly 20,000 retailers, wholesalers, importers, buying groups and trade guests to scope out 150,000 innovative toys, games and youth entertainment products across a record-breaking 375,000 net square feet of exhibit space.
Toy Fair 2013 took place February 10-13 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, and Hinda merchandising director LeeAnn Schumacher hit the show floor to report back on the trends she sees taking place this year and as we move into the future.
To begin, we can expect to see games and gadgets that evoke a memory. Classic toys, nostalgic products and vintage items will be popping up on the toy shelves this year. For example, Power Rangers is celebrating its 20th anniversary, while the Cabbage Patch Kid® doll turns 30. Also, remember the Fisher-Price® record player? It’s back!
Reality TV seems to be influencing toys kids want to play with. Available at Toy Fair this year were “Project Runway” and “American Idol”-inspired items such as the Project Runway® Fashion Design Light-Box Set and the Kidz Bop Glammerati™ Mini Melody Microphone. These toys let kids tap into their creativity and individuality and keep them entertained when their favorite shows aren’t airing.
Toymakers are finding ways to leverage technology, as many physical toys now share an online component. For example, Skylanders™ is the combination of video games and figurines and lets players explore two worlds at the same time.
This will make parents happy: teens and ‘tweens still want outdoor activities and board games – it’s not all about electronics and smartphones! Board games are now based on apps – such as “Words with Friends” and “Farmville,” – and branded with pop culture figures. It’s all about capturing young adult eyes and holding their attention long enough to keep them coming back.
Following this “offline fun” trend, 2012 saw a 20 percent uptick in the building set category. From classic building blocks to other types of building sets, expect new innovations and an increasing number of new licenses. Lego® has introduced several new lines, including Friends, Legends of Chima and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles®, while Mega Bloks® is also is the forefront, launching Barbie™ Pool Party.
This is just a sampling of the trends and products emerging this year. Check back frequently for updates via our weekly “Merchandise Monday” column right here on Hinda Blog!