Author: Guest Contributor

China, Acquisitions, and a Post-TRU World

Factors That Will Impact the Toy Industry in 2019 by Sean McGowan, managing director, Liolios Group Toy Fair: It’s the annual deep dive into Toyland, a time when we can all focus on the joy that new toys will bring to kids over the course of the next year, and maybe think a little less about Crazyland, where we adults get the joy sucked out of our lives. We’re coming off a year that was strange in so many ways, including the first holiday season in more than 40 years without Toys “R” Us (TRU). The retailer’s departure not only figured...

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On Amazon, Adults Control the Toy Space

by Shyla Navarro, director of e-commerce advisory, Edge by Ascential When Toys “R” Us shut its doors, the retailer left its 12 percent share of the U.S. toy market up for grabs. Amazon is not one to miss such an opportunity. Ahead of the 2018 holiday shopping season, the busiest time of year for toy sellers, the tech and e-commerce juggernaut mailed out its 70-page toy catalog, “A Holiday of Play,” clearly designed to replace the beloved Toys “R” Us catalog. It also began developing its own line of private-label toys. The result? Amazon.com toy sales were up 15 percent*...

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How the Industry Can Learn from Last Year’s Mistakes

The NPD Group recaps toy performance in 2018, and discusses what it means for this year. by Juli Lennett, vice president and industry advisor, toys, The NPD Group According to The NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service data*, U.S. toy retail sales generated $21.6 billion in 2018 compare d to $22.0 billion in 2017. This 2 percent decline comes after four straight years of growth in the toy industry. Overall, a 2 percent decline is a solid performance after such a significant shift in the retail landscape. After the liquidation announcement of Toys ”R” Us last year, there was a great...

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Toy Fair Creative Factor Session: Navigating the Path to Successful IP Licensing

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association Toy inventors and designers may have unique skills to develop innovative ideas that eventually become sellable products, but not everyone has the capacity to pitch and license their own concepts. Forty-year licensing industry veteran Richard C. Levy has been through it all and has emerged victorious. During Toy Fair New York, Levy will walk participants through the opportunities and challenges of IP licensing, and share his own real-world experiences at a session titled, “Richard Levy’s 10 Immutable Laws of Licensing Toys and Games,” taking place on Saturday, February 16 at 12 p.m. The seminar...

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Game On: Digital Gaming IRL

WIT members help digital games surf into the licensed merchandise space. by Genna Rosenberg, CEO, GennComm; Women in Toys executive board member There are currently 2.2 billion active gamers globally, according to NewsZoo’s 2017 annual global gaming report. One billion gamers generated more than $108.9 billion in revenue last year. Eighty-seven percent ($94.4 billion) of this revenue was from digital games, and Women in Toys, Licensing, and Entertainment (WIT) members are pioneering this new economy. Arcade games started it all in the 1970s and 1980s, as kids and adults plowed quarters into machines to gobble up Pac-Man ghosts and...

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Ground-Breaking Research: The Role of Play in Trauma-Informed Care

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association The Toy Foundation (TTF), the industry’s leading charitable entity to help kids in need, recently announced new ground-breaking research on the role of play in trauma-informed care. The research is part of a multi-phase initiative between the Foundation and Nemours Children’s Health System to create a play-based intervention program for children experiencing life-threatening illness, injury or painful medical procedures. The Toy Book caught up with Jean Butler, TTF’s executive director, who discussed the findings of the study and why toys and play are critical for pediatric patients and their families. Butler also shared...

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Build a Brand, Not Just a Product: Toy Fair Creative Factor Session

From Nike to Tom’s of Maine, today’s consumers don’t just shop for products, they seek brands with purpose. In today’s ultra-competitive retail environment, an important component to success is the ability of companies to share their distinct vision and values with their followers. At Toy Fair New York, attendees will learn how to attract consumers by creating a strong narrative during the session titled, “Building a Brand, Not Just a Product,” taking place on Monday, Feb. 18 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Creative Factor Theater (Hall 1D Lobby). The session, moderated by Robin Raskin, founder of...

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Toy Fair Creative Factor Session: Using the Gig Economy to Create Your All-Star Team

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association The days of one team at one company in one location may be a thing of the past. It’s now possible to assemble your own creative dream team without limitations by utilizing the “gig economy.” At Toy Fair New York, Richard Gottlieb of Global Toy Experts will lead a dynamic panel discussion of how toy entrepreneurs can put this digital revolution to work for them during a session titled, “The Gig Economy of Toys,” on Monday, February 18 at 2 p.m. Session panelists include Lisa Orman of KidStuff PR, Robbie Stillerman of Doll Guru, and...

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Animaccord Group appoints Vladimir Gorbulya as new CEO

Vladimir Gorbulya, the former head of licensing and vice president of Animaccord, was promoted to CEO of Animaccord Group effective Jan. 1. Gorbulya joined the company in January 2012 to develop and promote Animaccord’s Masha and the Bear property worldwide, and focus heavily on the licensing of consumer product, media, and promotional deals. With Vladimir Gorbulya at the helm, Animaccord raised the profile of its global property Masha and the Bear from a local, CIS-level brand to receiving international recognition. During his tenure, the company’s gross revenue grew five times, despite more than two times domestic market’s currency depreciation—making...

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Toy Fair Creative Factor Session: Are You Seizing on Opportunity in Play Innovation?

by Laurie Chartorynsky, The Toy Association Is your product or startup embracing the opportunities presented from emerging tech? At this year’s Toy Fair, attendees will hear from a panel of design experts who are driving innovation in the toy and game space through the integration of artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality, and augmented reality in toys and games during a “Play Innovation Panel.” Taking place on Sunday, February 17 from 10 to 11 a.m. (Creative Factor Theater, Hall 1D Lobby), the panel session will explore how emerging tech is set to shape the toys and games of the future—and showcase...

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