From toys that are “So Retro!” to arts and crafts inspired by “DIY Design” television shows, and playthings for sociable teens and tweens, the hottest toy trends of the year were unveiled by the Toy Industry Association (TIA) during its 110th American International Toy Fair.
After searching high and low through 150,000 products on display at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, TIA’s toy trend experts uncovered a new crop of trends that are sure to be on every child’s holiday wish list this year.
The trends were unveiled at a “Toy Trends Tea” hosted by the TIA, owner and operator of Toy Fair and official voice of the toy industry. A video of the presentation is available from ToyFairNY.com and ToyAssociation.org.
A summary of the six top trends follows:
- So Retro!: It’s back-to-basics for many toymakers, who are introducing an abundance of nostalgic, vintage, and classic playthings. Just like bell bottom jeans and neon colors, the best-loved items of generations past can grab hold of a new generation decades later. These favorite toys and characters bring kids, parents, and grandparents together in reminiscent fun.
- Pop Culture Persuasion: The runaway success of reality television shows that celebrate the creativity, talent, and skills of contestants has inspired a new range of toys, games, and crafts that encourage kids to build abilities across several areas, such as cooking, fashion, design, and performance arts.
- 360 Degree Play: Toymakers are always coming up with new and innovative ways to leverage technology and new production techniques to enrich playtime. As advancements are made in other industries they trickle down and find their way into toys of all kinds from educational games to active toys and everything in between.
- Enticing Teens & Tweens: During the “KGOY” (Kids Getting Older Younger) phenomenon a few years ago, the toy industry was of the belief that older kids were beyond the age of playing with toys and more interested in technology and electronics. Now, toymakers are responding to tweens and teens who are looking to engage with something other than a computer or TV screen. For older, “digital” kids, classic game play is even considered novel.
- 24/7 Play: Compact, portable toys fit into lives that are busy and tightly scheduled, allowing kids to enjoy more “free” play time in the car on daily errands, at the dentist’s office, during recess, at family functions, etc. There are also an increasing number of multi-function toys that appeal to practical, value-conscious parents.
- Construction Craze: According to NPD Group point-of-sales data, the building sets category grew nearly 20 percent last year, and this year may be even hotter. Many manufacturers are diversifying their existing building lines and other companies who may not have previously specialized in building toys are responding to this surge and creating construction sets for kids of all ages, interests and abilities.
The Toy Industry Association also tracks a broad range of ongoing cross-sector trends, such as toys celebrating significant anniversaries and entertainment properties that span blockbuster movies or brands. For tips on toy safety and trends year-round, visit ToyInfo.org.