China Toy Expo Shows the Dynamism of the Toy Industry in China

Resized.EMILIALSINAby Emili Alsina

Over 50,000 professionals of the toy, baby, and licensing industries visited the trade shows organized by the China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA) in Shanghai from October 14 to 16: China Toy Expo, China Kids Expo, and China Licensing Expo. This attendance represents a 26 percent increase compared to the previous year. Alsina, editor of the Spanish magazine Juguetes B2B (specializing in the toy industry in Spain) and member of the International Toy Magazine Association (ITMA), attended these three trade shows to witness the latest trends and developments of the industry in China.

The toy market is very dynamic in China, and has a consumer (the parents) increasingly interested in products that provide educational value to their children. The kids, in turn, are increasingly interested in licensed products. China Toy Fair, which has been held for the last 12 years–and is the largest international toy fair in mainland China and the third largest worldwide–was celebrated simultaneously with the China Kids Expo (childcare sector) and the China Licensing Expo (licensing sector).

Resized.LEGOJuguetes B2B, a professional communication magazine specializing in the toy industry in Spain, attended the three trade shows to give informational coverage of the latest trends in the industry that will shape the Chinese market next year. The strategy of holding the three exhibitions simultaneously makes perfect sense, given the synergies that occur between the three different sectors. For instance, the licensing business has a large influence in the toy industry, with licenses for baby care products as well. Therefore, celebrating the events at the same time is an interesting opportunity for the professionals. [Read more...]

Toys “R” Us to Celebrate 11 Days of Cyber Savings

toysrus.croppedToys “R” Us will be celebrating 11 days of savings at toysrus.com beginning Wednesday and continuing through December 6, the end of Cyber Week. Online shoppers will find daily deals, enhanced services, and free shipping offers during the period of gift shopping.

Toysrus.com will kick off Black Friday shopping on Wednesday night starting at 10 p.m. The website will also offer customers deals in the season’s most sought-after items throughout Cyber Week, with Cyber Monday sales beginning on Sunday, November 30 at 9 p.m.

In addition to daily deals, a three-day Big Brands sale will take place from December 2 through December 4, featuring brands such as Barbie, Fisher-Price, Frozen, Lego, Skylanders, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. Also, a two-day event from December 5 through December 6 will provide shoppers with bargains on big gift items like dollhouses and powered ride-ons.

Children of Soldiers and Wounded Warriors Get New Toys from TIF and BGCA

toyindustryMore than 1,700 children of military personnel and Wounded Warriors were given brand-new toys and games on November 6 at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va. Hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services, the toy giveaway was held in celebration of Military Family Appreciation Month.

Every child in attendance got to take home a toy, choosing from a selection of skill-building, enriching, and comforting playthings donated by Barnes & Noble, Big Time Toys, Imperial Toy, Lego, Mattel, Patch Products, and Yamie Chess. The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, in which toys and games are delivered on an annual basis to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad.

Target’s Holiday Deals Include Toy Discounts Throughout November

Target LogoTarget has extended its Black Friday prices throughout the month of November, with sales culminating on Black Friday weekend.

Throughout the month, Cartwheel—Target’s mobile savings app—is offering 50 percent off a different toy every day. Additionally, from November 23 to 29, Cartwheel will feature more than 100 exclusive deals, including 60 percent off select movie titles and 30 percent off select board games.

On Wednesday, November 26, Target stores and target.com will offer a handful of pre-Black Friday savings to guests. The deals will be available for preview in the store’s weekly ad on November 23.

For guests who want to shop early, Black Friday deals will be available on target.com on Thanksgiving morning. Target stores will then open for Black Friday shoppers at 6 p.m. that night.

The first several hundred guests waiting in line at Target stores across the nation on Thanksgiving evening will receive a Christmas cracker, which will include a Target gift card or coupon. Top Black Friday deals will include: Buy one, get one 50 percent off toys from select top brands, 40 percent off select Lego sets, sales on various game consoles, and more. [Read more...]

New Warner Bros. Behind-the-Scenes Videos Take You Far Beyond Gotham

LegoBatmanBTS

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released two new developer diaries that give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the upcoming LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. [Read more...]

MSC Cruises and Lego Partner for Themed Cruises

MSC1419619_Life_on_board_ChildMSC Cruises and the Lego Group have partnered to bring children and families the ultimate Lego experience at sea, with Lego-designed playrooms and entertainment options.

As part of the partnership, MSC Cruises is implementing a special program across its fleet in which children, as well as adults, can compete in Lego-themed competitions and games on a designated day of sailing. Children who participate in the Lego Experience Day will receive an official Lego Junior Master Builder diploma. In addition, all guests will have the chance to meet and greet Sailor Walkabout—the Lego Sailor Mascot—who will be available during cruises for photos and entertainment.

The Lego Group is also designing new play areas on the MSC Armonia, which will re-enter service this November. All the Lego features will be available free of charge to guests, and will be replicated on two new ships of the MSC fleet, scheduled to be delivered in 2017.

Toy Industry Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Treat Military Families to Day of Play

tif_logoThe Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and national partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Services treated 1,100 kids of military personnel stationed at Naval Station Mayport in Florida to brand-new toys and games this past Saturday. The “Day of Play” also included family games and activities, food, and entertainment. Every child in attendance was able to take home a toy. Barnes and Noble, Big Red Dog Patch, Imperial Toy, Lego, Lulu Jr., Mattel, and Yamie Chess donated the toys to TIF.

The event was held as part of the joint TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program, the first national toy distribution initiative to serve every branch of the U.S. military. Through Play Comforts, toys and games donated are delivered annually to families on U.S. military installations at home and abroad. Since the program’s launch in 2010, more then 1.7 million toys have been delivered to military families on over 152 U.S. military bases worldwide.

COMMENTARY: As Play Gets Smarter, More Toys Come to Life Digitally

It’s official: Smart toys are taking over the toy space.

Gone are the days in which kids are content with traditional methods of play. Books, activities, and games are all available for kids on mobile devices, and they expect their toys to be no different. But although the mediums that kids are interacting with daily are changing, the one thing that won’t ever change is that kids love play.

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Angry Birds Stella Telepods

Smart toys integrate physical toys and technology—essentially giving digital life to toys. Manufacturers are starting to realize the added value in these products and how wildly popular they can be. More than 72 million kids say they want smart toys, according to market research firm Interpret in a GameByte study.

In addition, kids are using mobile devices more than ever before. Seventy-one percent of households with a child age 4 to 14 reported owning a smartphone in 2014, already up from 55 percent in 2012, according to The NPD Group. Also, kids who own tablets doubled from 2012 to 2014, growing from 21 percent to 43 percent, respectively. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY: China Toy Expo Showcases Regional Toy Brands with Worldwide Potential

DreamBeyond2Toy trade shows are terrific places in which to catch a sneak peek of the next play product sure to take the marketplace by storm. Recently, I was covering China Toy Expo, sponsored by China Toy & Juvenile Products Association, which took place this past week at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai. While the show featured plenty of toy brands that would be familiar to Westerners—many of them imported by Chinese companies for domestic distribution—there were also lots of Chinese toy manufacturers on-hand, bearing properties that they hope will do well at home.

And of course, if a product does well in its native market, one assumes there’s a good chance it will gain an international partner that will help it take the next step. Think of Lego, which began selling in Europe during the 1940s before expanding to North America during the ’60s. Not every new toy brand can be Lego, of course; however, it’s always fun to speculate on new products and their potential to become the next big global star due to built-in appeal, compelling features, etc. Here are a few domestically-made items from China Toy Expo, which in this author’s opinion, have a shot at breaking out worldwide. [Read more...]

Lego Bionicle Fights New Evil in Latest Line of Figures

The Lego Group unveiled its newest line in the Lego Bionicle franchise at New York Comic Con. The new product information, principle graphic design, and video short released at the event are based on a new storyline launching next year.

The new plot takes place on the mythical island of Okoto, where the evil Makuta is overcome by the desire for the island’s three mythic masks that will cast the world into darkness. Six heroes called the Toa must embark on a quest to unlock their elemental powers and battle the forces of evil, defeat Makuta, and save Okoto.

Beginning next January, six new protector sets and six Toa sets will be available at major retailers.