Sweet Suite 2016

CES 2016 Ignites Tech with Innovation

By Reyne Rice, trend hunter and thought leader, CEO ToyTrends

The latest and greatest innovations rocked the tech world at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas from Jan. 6-9. Trade guests viewed the latest virtual reality headsets; flew unmanned systems and drones; test-drove the newest automotive vehicles with built-in enhanced entertainment and digital connectivity for kids and families; and marveled at the enhanced 4-D TV and home entertainment systems. Hands-on experiences and product testing dominated the crowded show floor as global exhibitors showcased their newest launch products, services, apps, and devices. [Read more...]

New Collectible Toys Stack Up

Whether it‘s seashells at the beach, multi-colored rocks, or big colorful feathers, kids love to collect odds and ends. For more than a decade, toy companies have cashed in on this quirky habit by introducing toy lines with small price points and big collectibility. In 2016, collectible toys are projected to get smaller in size, but larger in variety and number. With many new offerings already lined up, kids will have a lot more to choose from. [Read more...]

The New Flavor of Activity Toys

Mom was wrong: apparently, it’s more than OK to play with your food.

Since the inception of Kenner Toys’ Easy-Bake Oven in 1963, kids have been expressing their creativity in the kitchen by baking up miniature sweet treats. And while the Easy-Bake Oven is one of the most iconic toys ever made, inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2006, new toys that let kids make and decorate real, edible foods are eating up shelf space like never before. [Read more...]

Coloring Outside the Age Lines

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Coloring books are integral to kids’ creative development, with thousands of titles featuring thick black outlines of cartoon characters, just waiting to be scribbled on, torn out, and hung on the refrigerator. But kids aren’t the only ones showing off their creativity with coloring books. Specialty retailers such as Michaels and Barnes and Noble are stocking the shelves with dozens of titles designed with adults in mind. [Read more...]

Same Card, New Tricks: Using Gift Cards to Go Beyond the Basics

First Data LadyBy Euphemia Erikson, First Data

The holiday season is once again approaching, and this year, retailers are not leaving any tactics on the table as they begin strategizing creative ways to boost customer traffic. Starting Black Friday and continuing past Christmas, retailers will turn to door busters, flash sales, deep discounts, and shockingly early store openings to drive their holiday sales higher than years before.

With big picture tactics like these, it’s also important for retailers to remember the power traditional retail tools command when driving revenue up. Gift cards are consumers’ most desired holiday present, and for retailers this classic has the unique ability to drive value far beyond a single purchase. Digital and plastic gift cards, more so than store credit, add a nice edge to retail sales planning by supporting marketing efforts, driving sales, and even engaging new audiences. [Read more...]

Q&A with Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG

unnamed-4Marek Jankowski, president of Baby Care Magazines International, recently spoke with Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, about the growth of Spielwarenmesse eG, toy fairs throughout the international community, and more.

Marek Jankowski: I remember us talking a few years ago. You mentioned that every year there are 200-250 companies queuing to exhibit at Spielwarenmesse. I suggested that you could build a new hall, but you were not convinced. You replied that assuming that the number of buyers remains stable, if they would scatter over a wider area, an average exhibitor would have fewer visits at their booth. But in 2014 you opened a new hall—3A. From today’s perspective, was it a good idea to build it?

Ernst Kick: Yes, I think, because we could have improved the quality of the whole fairground. I would say that the new hall 3A is one of the most modern halls in the world. And if you see it from the organisation view, the climate is better than in the old halls. We are also in discussion how to reconstruct the older part of the fairground. I think there can be some possibilities — not today, but in the future; I think it is also necessary. [Read more...]

The Lowdown on Doll Hunting: Doll Collecting in the Age of Social Media

This article first appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of The Toy Book.

MelissaHunterHeadShotDoll collecting may be as old as the industry itself, but the newest generation of collectors is armed with video cameras, vlogs, and thousands of YouTube subscribers. They call themselves doll hunters.

[Read more...]

A Preview in Paris: Hape Hosts Sneak Peek of The Little Prince Movie and Tie-In Toys

by Scarlett Wisotzki, editor-in-chief, das spielzeug

On June 1, Peter Handstein, the CEO of Hape, rolled out the red carpet for his retailers in France, and gave them a sneak peek of The Little Prince movie and tie-in products prior to their official global release. Scarlett Wisotzki, the editor-in-chief of das spielzeug for the past four years, has this exclusive report:

[Read more...]

Q&A with Barbara Peacock, Creative Director, and Adam Mellema, Producer, Charlie & Company

Charlie_PlushSchool Zone Publishing Company is getting ready to unleash season two of its fun, educational children’s series, Charlie & Company. The Toy Book recently spoke with Barbara Peacock, the creative director of Charlie & Company, as well as its producer, Adam Mellema, about the show and upcoming plans for the brand, including toys.

[Read more...]

How Toymakers Can Succeed with Millennial Parents

by Catherine Mevs, strategy director, Red Peak Branding

redpeak_logo_rgbWith more and more Millennials stepping into parenthood, big name toymakers are trying to guess at the expectations of a new generation of parents. However, from Mattel’s introduction of its Siri-inspired Hello Barbie to Hasbro’s more compact preschool toys, thus far their efforts are either misguided or not going far enough.

[Read more...]