The date for next year’s Fall Toy Preview is slated to take place from Monday Oct. 2 to Thursday, Oct. 5 at the Dallas Market Center in Dallas, according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The dates were carefully selected with the needs of TIA members in mind, says Jay Foreman, president of The Bridge Direct and chair of TIA’s Trade Show Committee. [Read more...]
Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) announced the speakers and experts who will be participating in its annual WIT Empowerment Day event, to be held on Sept. 26, the day before Fall Toy Preview in Dallas officially begins. Held in collaboration with Walmart and the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the day includes informational sessions and panels to help WIT members with their businesses.
This year, WIT has gathered industry experts, buyers, speakers, and panelists from the toy industry to help woman-owned start ups, entrepreneurs, and small business owners grow their businesses. [Read more...]
New toys and games hitting shelves will inspire summertime play whether kids are at home, on vacation, or at the playground. The Toy Industry Association (TIA) spoke with industry experts to gain insight into what’s trending in outdoor play, what indoor playthings encourage creative skill-building and learning, and the top franchises and licenses expected to impact toy sales this summer.
Outdoor Play & New Destinations
As excitement builds for the “lazy days” of summer, toys sales show that families are anything but lazy. The NPD Group reported that the Outdoor & Sports Toys category saw a 9 percent increase in sales last year to $3.59 billion.
“The traditional outdoor play patterns—especially those related to exercise, like bicycling, running, and jumping—may not change much,” says Adrienne Appell, TIA toy trend specialist, “but toymakers are putting twists on classic toys and activities to keep kids engaged.”
New tech trends are complementing outdoor play, says J. Alison Bryant, CEO and chief play officer of PlayScience, PlayLab & Sandbox, adding that kids and families are using mobile technologies to enjoy navigational techniques such as geocaching, so they can learn about what they see on nature hikes or while playing on a beach.
“This is still relatively nascent, but what is great about it is that families are using technology to augment and enhance their play experience, not replace it,” Bryant notes.
Traveling to specialty toy stores can be perfect summer outings, especially during times when it may be rainy or too hot to be outside. Kimberly Mosley, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), says this season’s store-based events break up families’ packed schedules and provide venues for fun group activities.
“Specialty toy stores compete by making their stores a destination and providing child- and family-centered experiences that are unique in their communities,” Mosley says. “So, in ASTRA stores you’ll often see creative and fun opportunities pop up in the summer—everything from Make Your Own Garden Stone to a several-days-long Build-a-Fort Art Camp.”
Fun Ways to Play Indoors
Not all summer play takes place outside. Kids also enjoy playing inside, especially with toys and games that will boost their creative and artistic abilities. The new offerings from one of TIA’s main trends for this year, named “Ultimate Creator,” encourages kids to find and build their talents as digital artists, filmmakers, jewelers, and more.
“The season also presents opportunities for kids to explore their passions and interests through play,” says Appell. “Once they’ve returned to the house after a day outside, kids may be inspired to make their own ice cream with their parents, or design swimwear with toys and products under the Ultimate Creator trend.”
Additionally, products that teach or reinforce Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) are providing ways to keep learning fun outside of the classroom. Kids wishing to visit exotic and atypical places can arrive there almost instantly with new virtual reality (VR) products and content. Whether with a brand’s VR kit or by assembling cardboard glasses to connect to a smartphone, the sector breaks new ground in terms of offering 360-degree experiences.
“The essence of VR is to be immersed in a location it will teach children about, and transport them to places they couldn’t otherwise visit—deep in the ocean, the edge of a volcano, into a rain forest, or even into the nucleus of an atom,” says David Kleeman, senior vice president of global trends at Dubit. “It’s inexpensive, comfortable, and simple for [kids] to use, and we anticipate a growing amount of content for kids beginning this spring and summer, as the devices become widespread.”
Licensed toys account for 32 percent of U.S. toy sales, according to The NPD Group, and that number is expected to climb as various new entertainment reaches fans on the silver screen. This summer, theaters will be packed with blockbuster films featuring new and classic characters.
“Fans and industry professionals have high expectations for Captain America: Civil War, while families will likely make an outing for PG movies like Finding Dory,” Appell notes.
Other family-friendly summer blockbusters slated for release include The Angry Birds Movie, and sequels to Ice Age and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The licensed toys and games they inspire will run the gamut from tech to traditional and will keep kids busy playing for hours.
“Films’ toys often further the family fun even after the credits roll because they tend to be engaging and appropriate for all ages,” says Appell. “The play experiences offered by life-size accessories, mobile games, and everything in between should be able to keep toy sales strong and kids playing for hours.”
TIA tracks trends on a year-round basis to provide industry stakeholders with insight into what’s new and what’s on the horizon in the toy and youth entertainment product industry. Visit www.toyassociation.org/trends for more information.
Justin Smulison is the newest member of TIA’s Marketing Communications team, after years as a journalist and custom content producer in legal publishing. A proud husband and father, he is thrilled to report on toys and characters that he and his 2-year-old daughter play with together, and to be involved in an industry that positively impacts her and future generations.
President Barack Obama signed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) into law this week, representing the first meaningful update to TSCA in 40 years, according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The new legislation reflects scientific and technological advances and ensures that a uniform federal policy will regulate chemicals across all 50 states. [Read more...]
The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (CASA) partnered at TIF’s annual Play Your Part event on June 16. Volunteers from nearly 30 toy companies helped to sort, wrap, and pack toys for 25,000 foster care children in Southern California and seven additional states. In addition, hundreds of Los Angeles-area foster children were on-site at the event to receive dolls, games, puzzles, arts & crafts, and other skill-building playthings. Manufacturers and retailers donated all toys to TIF’s Toy Bank with the goal of providing comfort to children awaiting placement in permanent homes. [Read more...]
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation reforming the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) on June 7, according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The bill, which is now awaiting signature by President Obama, marks Congress’ first major update to the legislation in 40 years and represents a major victory for the toy industry.
TIA will host an educational webinar to explain how the TSCA reform impacts toy companies’ chemical use management program. The webinar will take place on Thursday, June 16th from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. (EST), registration is now open.
Once President Obama signs the bill into law, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin the process of prioritizing chemicals and taking necessary steps to review them. TIA intends to stay engaged with EPA in order to find opportunities to participate in the development of future rules and regulations impacting the toy industry.
The second annual Play Fair will return to New York City from November 2-5, 2017, and will nearly double in size. The event will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as a public celebration of play and entertainment for all ages. A joint venture between the Toy Industry Association (TIA) and LeftField Media, Play Fair offers families and media the opportunity to enjoy interactive play experiences with new toys, games, and popular characters, as well as purchase new and exclusive products. [Read more...]
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is celebrating 100 years of serving the North American toy industry. The TIA kicked off the anniversary celebration on Sept. 17 last year with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Toy Halls of Fame Exhibit at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. In addition, the TIA has taken a look back at its past 100 years, highlighting key toy industry moments from 1916-2016 in a timeline that will continue to be displayed during TIA events throughout its anniversary year. [Read more...]
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has announced two on-demand webinars to help North American International Toy Fair buyers and exhibitors make the most of ShopToyFair365.com, Toy Fair’s e-commerce platform. The two instructional videos are designed to assist exhibitors and buyers with creating their ShopToyFair365.com accounts and online profiles, as well as to provide exhibitors with information on how to use the platform’s many functions. [Read more...]