Trying to review an event of the scale of Spielwarenmesse-Nuremberg toy fair is a challenge due to the sheer scale of the event. It would be quite possible to fill 2 weeks with meetings with people from across the industry, although 2 weeks of walking these extensive halls might cause permanent damage to feet!
In the same way as the human eye and mind can struggle to understand and get a sense of perspective of some natural landmarks e.g. the Grand Canyon, so it is difficult to give a genuine overview of Spielwarenmesse.
We can though look for some noticeable trends and happenings:
Eco theme – for years there have been some products at the show which positioned themselves as eco-friendly. This time though, the scale of this trend was extensive. Many booths were showing at least one product or one range which had been made with sustainability and environmental considerations in mind. This was the first time I managed to get my hands on plant based ‘plastic’. This was an interesting experience, it appears to be quite similar to usual plastics at first glance/first touch. It does though seem a little less rigid, and I am told by knowledgeable people that the endurance and reliability of the material is not yet proven. Nevertheless, this eco-trend has been a huge trend, probably the dominant trend at this show.
Coronavirus fear – unfortunately at the time of the show the coronavirus has received much media attention, and as Spielwarenmesse attracts visitors & exhibitors from all around the world (including China), a few visitors have stayed away out of fear. The official attendance figures show a small decline in total visitor numbers, but that wasn’t really noticeable around the show. Also, by way of sense of perspective in all the media hyperbole and sensationalist reporting, people get ill all the time regardless of the corona virus, and Spielwarenmesse is an event where you can come away ill unless you take some steps – just based on the huge congregation of people in one space breathing the same air, using the same door handles and shaking hands together! From a personal perspective, I doubt any germs could have lived on my hands during this years show as they were saturated with alcohol hand rub.
Market challenges & market opportunities – the market is tough in some countries, but is growing in others. Always we judge the year by our own performance first and the market performance second, as such we spoke to people @ Spielwarenmesse who had great years in 2019 and people who had terrible years. Thankfully 2020 is a new year, and all opportunity is still ahead!
Technology & Toys – yet again technology continues to impact the toy business across many fronts: via technology in the products, retail technologies and in media/marketing technologies. There are too many factors here to reference any specifics without missing something important, so more on Technology & Toys in future articles!
Spielwarenmesse-Nuremberg toyfair as the biggest & best toy trade show – arguably (and also in our opinion) this is by far the best and most effective trade show to access the global toy business. Visitors come from all around the world, and opportunity is everywhere. Often the challenge is more prioritisation to ensure maximal benefit from attendance, because the potential avenues of opportunity and the potential business partners are so many!
As the eyes of the global toy community now look westwards towards New York, the next week or two ahead of that event are bound to see a flurry of activity and follow up.
Thanks to the organisers for another great show Spielwarenmesse, and onwards we trot!