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What a very great pleasure to be back in Nuremberg after the Covid-19 induced hiatus of the last couple of years! As I write this I am exhausted from the sheer volume of great toy & game people I have met across the last 5 days. From Wednesday until I left on Sunday I had relentless back to back meetings with old friends and strong business contacts....nowhere else can you meet so many great people and useful business contacts.

These shows are always experienced subjectively i.e. my experience will always be different from yours. Maybe you had a booth which got less passing traffic or maybe your key retail buyer didn't swing by - but from an objective perspective Spielwarenmesse 2023 can only be viewed as a triumphal return and a great success. I will let the Spielwarenmesse team announce their numbers and metrics, but there were no shortage of people walking the many many Halles based on my own observations.

According to numerous first time attendees I spoke to, the sheer scale of the show is both highly intimidating and wondrous at the same time. The big and mighty are there from all around our industry, so arguably if you didn't create good opportunities there it's more likely to be down to your own failings, because the vast majority of the couple of hundred people I spoke with said the show had been great. As ever though, success comes from effective follow up after the show - a positive reaction to products & good conversation at a trade show is normally some distance and several further interactions away way from the the hard tangible proof of success that a purchase order represents!

The broader perspective is that the Toy market is sailing through some rough waters with the tide against it from some directions. Nearly every major market was flat at best or down in 2022, and that's hardly good news - one of my contacts informed me that the market in Germany was down 5% for example in 2023...but that the regression comes on the back on a couple of great years. And as I keep repeating to those willing to listen - our industry is performing a lot better than many other industries we could be working in.

I greatly enjoyed returning to the Toy Business Forum presentation program this year. I repeated the topic I spoke about back in 2013. This time I looked at what predictions I got right last time, which predictions I got horribly wrong and looked forward making predictions about what will and what won't change in the next decade. (Presentation recording will be shared soon). As is often the case at these shows, I met many enthusiastic new market entrants after my talk, and I could not escape for sometime after the presentation

As far as the outlook for the Toy market across Europe in 2023 is concerned, the feeling was a little on the grim side. The one word I heard most often throughout this year's show was 'inventory' - in warehouses and sitting out in retail. While the mood was upbeat overall, the high energy of the show has to be set against a cloudy outlook. Fingers crossed 2023 goes better than many attendees & exhibitors expected based on the conversations I had.

Spielwarenmesse - Nuremberg Toy Fair 2023...great to be back!

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