The Major Shows Are Cancelled, But The Show Must Go On
For decades the toy trade has congregated in Hong Kong, Nuremberg and New York in Jan/Feb at the start of each year. Sadly these 3 major shows are not going ahead in 2022 (just like in 2021). For a while it looked like we would at least get 2 out of the 3, but New York and then Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg also fell by the wayside due to the omicron COVID wave. The UK toy fair is still on, and the expectation is that this under rated show will now play host to more European toy people since the Spielwarenmesse will now not go ahead.
The reality of course is that the majority of 2022 business is already mostly secured by these shows, so in terms of the overall market picture for 2022, the loss of these key shows is unlikely to act as a brake on the market in 2022. Virtual showrooms are already in place, and of course, virtual solutions already delivered an incredible (in the circumstances) 2021.
What we lose though without these massive shows is the heart and soul of the business. The coming together of the industry, the chance to catch up with old friends and make new ones, and to get some face-to-face time with our customers. For many countries, the relationships built and deepened at one of the many formal dinners or events surrounding the shows are fundamental to doing business. It’s ok to miss one year of shows but miss two and those relationships start to weaken a little more, and of course buyers move on, and their replacements need to be understood and persuaded to take our company and our product lines at least as seriously as our competitors.
The reality for 2022 is that the movie slate looks very strong, the logistic issues will continue but shouldn’t be quite so bad or quite so expensive, and therefore the business of toys will still thrive as ever, but our people need to get back face to face. For some of us, the BTHA’s UK toy fair will have to suffice, followed (presumably) by Distoy in London in Many, but beyond that we may not get to meet up again en masse until this time next year.
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