China Toy Fair


TIA Elects New Leadership at 2014 Annual Business Meeting

March5.TIAThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has elected three new members to its Board of Directors and a new chairman of the organization during its Annual Business Meeting in February. John Gessert of American Plastic Toys will assume the position as chairman for a year, replacing retiring Board Chairman Soren Torp Laursen of The Lego Group

The new members of the TIA Board are Drew Brazer, vice president of sales in North America for Lego Systems Inc.; D. Hugo Malan, senior vice president and president of sporting goods at Sears Holding Corp.; and William To, president of VTech Electronics in North America. Each elected member will serve for two-year terms, expiring at the 2016 TIA Annual Business Meeting. Laursen will become an advisor to the governance body.

The 2014 TIA Annual Business Meeting was held in conjunction with the 111th American International Toy Fair in New York City. The meeting also included accomplishment highlights from the first year of TIA’s 2013-2015 Strategic Plan and an announcement that the TIA had grown its financial reserves last year.

Toy Fair 2014 Shows Increase in Attendees, Double-Digit Rise in International Visitors

Last week’s American International Toy Fair in New York City drew nearly 26,500 toy professionals from 94 countries, and boasted a record-breaking 414,060 net square feet of exhibit space. According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Toy Fair 2014 also welcomed an 11 percent surge in international buyers, an 8 percent rise in exhibitors, and a 5 percent spike in overall attendees, bringing the total attendance to 26,493.

There was an estimated 1,153 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents, and nearly 10,000 buyers from more than 5,000 retail outlets, including delegations from Amazon, Target, and Toys “R” Us. Members of top press outlets including Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and The New York Times scouted top toy trends.

Next year’s Toy Fair has been scheduled for February 14 to 17, and will once again take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Show information will be available in the coming months at www.ToyFairNY.com.

The Year’s Most Outstanding Toys and Games Honored at TOTY Awards

Rainbow LoomOn February 15, the eve of American International Toy Fair, hundreds of toy executives and industry guests gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City for the 14th Annual Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards and Toy Industry Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Rainbow Loom, from Choon’s Design LLC, won Toy of the Year as well as prizes in three additional categories, while GoldieBlox and the Spinning Machine, from GoldieBlox Inc., took home the People’s Choice award by pulling in the most online votes from consumers.

The event also featured five inductions into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame: Jill Barad, former chairman and CEO, Mattel; Horst Brandstätter, president and owner, Playmobil/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG; Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO, and co-founder, Jakks Pacific; and Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr, co-founders of Wham-O Toy. [Read more...]

Grammy-Winner Alicia Keys to Cut Ribbon, Unveil New App at Toy Fair Opening Ceremony

Feb14.AliciaKeysAs first reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Grammy-winner Alicia Keys, co-creator of the interactive children’s app The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee from Bento Box Interactive (BBI) and AK Worldwide Inc. (AKW), will help cut the ribbon at the American International Toy Fair’s opening ceremony, scheduled for Sunday, February 16 at 10 a.m. Immediately afterward, Keys will hold a press conference moderated by Marian Bossard, TIA’s vice president of meetings and events.

The press conference will include a question and answer session and introduce the new interactive storytelling app Mookey, the latest extension of The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee, suitable for kids ages 4 and up. Other participants in the press conference include Scott Greenberg, BBI co-founder and CEO, and Makeda Mays Green, educational adviser for BBI/AKW.

The ribbon-cutting will officially kick off the largest toy show ever held in North America, with more than 30,000 anticipated attendees from 100 countries, and hundreds of thousands of toys and games across a record-breaking 411,500-plus square feet of exhibit space.

The 111th American International Toy Fair will take place on February 16 to 19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. After-hours and networking events during Toy Fair week include the 14th annual TOTY (Toy of the Year) Awards on February 15 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

European Commission Updates EU Toy Safety Standards

EC.logoThe Toy Industry Association (TIA) has reported that earlier this month the European Commission (EC) published a revised “Guidance Document on Technical Documentation” to help manufacturers and importers of toys in the EU demonstrate compliance with requirements of the EU Toy Safety Directive (TSD).

Revisions include a model letter that toy companies can use to remind suppliers about the need to provide a list of materials, chemicals, and components, as well as a model sub-declaration for suppliers to obtain a guarantee that the supplied parts and components have been assessed and comply with appropriate toy safety requirements. The updated guidance document can be viewed at the EC’s website.

The EC also amended restrictions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to include limits for allowable PAHs in rubber and plastic articles with prolonged skin or mouth contact. The new regulation goes into effect in two years.

Senators Introduce National Toy Week Resolution

Senator Mark Pryor

Senator Mark Pryor

As reported by the Toy Industry Association (TIA), Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John Boozman (R-AR) have sponsored a bi-partisan resolution to designate December 22 to 28 as National Toy Week in recognition of the value of toys and play. The resolution, introduced in the Senate this week, encourages people to observe by coming together to play with toys and games.

“Toys play an important role in a child’s growth and serve as a resource for teaching and development, while being fun,” Boozman said.

The resolution also recognizes the toy industry’s importance for the national economy, noting that it supports more than 600,000 full-time jobs and had an economic impact of more than $75 billion this past year. For the resolution to pass, it only needs approval from the Senate.

“The toy industry is a huge economic engine for our country,” Pryor said. “National Toy Week recognizes that toys enrich the lives of our kids and contribute to our nation’s economic growth.”

Update: On December 20, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan resolution, designating December 22 to 28, 2013, as National Toy Week in recognition of the value of toys and play.

Toy Fair 2014 to Be Biggest U.S. Toy Fair Yet

The American International Toy Fair in February is expected to be the largest toy trade show ever held in North America. Though registration has been open for just a few weeks, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) reports that the show has already surpassed a record-breaking 400,000 net square feet of exhibit space at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The 2013 event—which hosted the largest exhibit area since 2000—covered just over 366,000 net square feet at the Javits Center. As of press time, total registration for the 2014 American International Toy Fair is up 10 percent over the same period last year, while buyer registration is up 6 percent year-to-date, and international buyer attendance has surged 18 percent over last year’s point-in-time figures.

Approximately 30,000 visitors are expected to attend, exploring products on display by more than 1,000 exhibiting toy companies.

BookExpo America, American Booksellers Association Partners with American International Toy Fair, TIA

bookexpo americaThe line between books and toys is officially being crossed as BookExpo America (BEA) and the American Booksellers Association have teamed up with the American International Toy Fair and the Toy Industry Association (TIA). This newly formed relationship hopes to benefit all attendees of the upcoming Toy Fair and the BookExpo by expanding market sectors.

Toy Fair and BEA officials agree that although each of their core focuses, toys and books, are different, the facts that bookstores often carry lines of toys and games, just as toy stores  are known to carry selections of children’s books, should be capitalized on. With this new mutual relationship, a cross-promotional effort will broaden the reach of exhibitors at each show.

Vote for Your Favorite 2014 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Finalist

toty14-logoThe toy industry has its 84 toy, game, and property finalists for the 2014 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY), according to the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The annual TOTY awards program is sponsored by the toy industry to recognize the top toys available across 12 categories—from e-connected to activity to educational and outdoor toys.

The 2014 finalists represent 68 unique products or properties from 41 companies, and were selected from more than 520 nominees submitted for consideration by 153 companies. Sixty academics, journalists, toy trend experts, play therapists, toy inventors and designers, and toy retailers staffed the nomination committees that narrowed the field to the slate of finalists.

Through January 13, toy lovers of all ages can visit ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite playthings. Each vote is a chance to win one of twelve TOTY prize packages filled with the toys and games featured in each category.

[Read more...]

Safari Ltd. Swaps Facebook Likes for Toys in New Promotion

safariSafari Ltd. is donating five toys for every new Facebook like it receives during the month of November to the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the philanthropic arm of the Toy Industry Association. Dubbed “You Like, We Give,” the promotion specifically supports TIF’s signature program, The Toy Bank, benefitting children in need this holiday season. Safari Ltd. has committed to donating up to 2,500 toys.

Over the past 10 years, The Toy Bank has delivered $85 million worth of toys to children who are sick, impoverished, rescued from abusive homes, living through natural disasters, enduring life on a military base or otherwise in need. Safari Ltd. is a third-generation, educational toy company whose mission is to teach children the importance of nature and its conservation through the joy of play.