Get into the “Spirit of Play” because the next Spielwarenmesse is right around the corner. Taking place Jan. 29-Feb. 2 in Nuremberg, Germany, the 71st Spielwarenmesse will showcase the top trends and innovations in toys, hobbies, and leisure, offering a place for reputable brands, innovative start-ups, major buyers, and specialty retailers to meet and exchange ideas and products.

Attendees can expect to see the latest and greatest in classic toys, dolls, games, hobby articles, baby and infant products, electronic toys, fireworks, and more from more than 2,800 global manufacturers. The presentation of new products, the Toy Business Forum, the TrendGallery, and the extensive industry overview provide a valuable pool of information for more than 67,000 buyers and toy traders from more than 130 countries.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Attendees can see more than 1 million products at Spielwarenmesse, but toys won’t be the only thing front and center. As fun and exciting as new toys are, it’s just as important for them to meet safety standards. Throughout the fair, manufacturers and traders can find out everything they need to know about toy safety in the Testing & Inspecting Center. The national and international test and inspection institutes in Hall 11.1 provide information about test procedures and safety requirements.

Several toy companies, arranged by product groups, will exhibit for the first time at Spielwarenmesse in the New Exhibitor Center (NEC) in Hall 3A. To help attendees easily identify new exhibitors, those first-time exhibitors located in the New Exhibitor Center and all other new exhibitors will have the “New” designation in the online catalog and at the show.

Attendees can see daily fashion shows of the latest costume highlights at the “Showtime” area.

SPECIAL AREAS

Attendees can visit special areas for special interests. International exhibitors will be showcased in themed worlds at the Special and Activity areas of the toy fair. Visitors will find inspiration on how to present products and build links with manufacturers from different countries.

  • Showtime: Attendees will see daily fashion shows of the latest costume highlights, as well as live product demonstrations on a catwalk, in the “Festive Articles, Carnival, Fireworks” area in Hall 8. Various hands-on activities and decoration areas also promise a lively world of experience based on role-play and celebration.
  • Toys Meet Books: Guests have the opportunity to attract new groups of buyers seeking games, puzzles, wooden toys, lifestyle products, school supplies, handicrafts, and licensed products. This special area, located at Entrance Mitte, will feature tips and know-how tailored for the book trade.
  • Special Area Baby and Infant Articles: The extensive spectrum of products in the baby and infant range is reflected in a special area located between Halls 2 and 3 in these five sub-groups: Baby Toys, Baby Textile, Travel Systems, Care and Food, and Home and Safety. This area provides insight into the diversity of baby and infant products on display throughout the exhibition center. Visitors can walk the showcase products throughout the passageway or relax in the quiet zone, which features catering and hospitality facilities.
  • Tech2Play: From robots and R/C products to games with augmented reality features, the development of technological toys is quickly growing. This activity area in Hall 4A is divided into four categories: Robot Toys, Virtual Play, R/C Toys, and Electronic Learning.
  • Special Area for Small Series Manufacturers: United under the umbrella of the newly designed product group titled Model Railways and Model Construction, the small series manufacturers specialize in model railways and accessories.
  • GamesCafé: The GamesCafé is a collaboration between the German Illustrators’ Organization, the Game Designer Association, and Spielwarenmesse eG, and acts as the center for contact with the professional international games community. Visitors can see game designers presenting their latest game ideas in the exhibitor foyer in Hall 11.0, where they can meet game designers, tabletop game experts, and publishers. The visitors can also learn about new game initiatives or garner ideas on how to highlight games in their shops. Visitors will have the chance to develop concepts for game presentation events with the help of the game designers. The GamesCafé will also feature an exhibition from the German games archive.

TRENDS

The start-ups at the pavilion for Young German Companies and the first-time exhibitors showcasing their innovations at the New Exhibition Center in Hall 3A offer new items for retailers to diversify their product assortments.

The adjacent TrendGallery helps visitors navigate the 120,000 innovations on show in Nuremberg. The three Spielwarenmesse trends are showcased for visitors. The TrendCommittee, which now has 12 members made up of international market researchers, trend scouts, and journalists, identifies the trends each year.

The TrendGallery also features the nominees and winners of the ToyAwards. These industry accolades are presented at the awards ceremony at the opening event in five categories: Baby and Infant (0-3), Preschool (3-6), School Kids (6-10), Teenagers and Adults (10 and up), and Start-Ups. 

PRESENTATIONS

Trade buyers can learn more about the industry at the Toy Business Forum. Speakers from Germany and abroad will share their expertise in the presentation area, which is also in Hall 3A. The content of the talks focuses on current market developments and trends. The daily topics are:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 29: #trend

Keep track of what is trending. Find out how to identify next year’s top trends for toys, retail, and industry, and learn how you can use this knowledge to your advantage for your everyday business.

  • Thursday, Jan. 30: #change

Consumer behavior, digitization, and market concentration are ever-changing. New conditions call for new approaches, but they also offer exciting opportunities. How do you find the courage to embrace change? How can a change in management help?

  • Friday, Jan. 31: #digital

Digital transformation is currently omnipresent. Big data, artificial intelligence, and omnichannel strategies are just a few of the terms you should know about. What are they all about? And why are they so important for toy retailers?

  • Saturday, Feb. 1: #retail

Take a look at the future of retail. Your business will be defined by digital trends and innovative retail concepts. Find out how you can use them profitably and offer your customers the shopping experience they want.

  • Sunday, Feb. 2: #marketing

What exactly is a kidfluencer? How do you sell in the digital age? What do microbloggers do? Keep track of new marketing ideas and discover new opportunities for your business.

Licenses are a major feature of Spielwarenmesse.

A FOCUS ON LICENSING

In addition, every morning from Wednesday to Friday, the Toy Business Forum will host LicenseTalks — presentations by experts from the licensing field. The importance of this sector is underlined by the extended partnership with Licensing International (formerly LIMA). The international association’s stand in the foyer of Hall 12.0 is a hub for licensing agencies, licensors, and licensees. Members can take advantage of the LicensePreview, in which they can show their latest creations to selected guests in an exclusive setting. Licenses are a major feature of the fair, and attendees can find them everywhere — whether it’s as products or costumed characters available for photo ops.

SERVICES FROM A SINGLE SOURCE

A broad spectrum of services is available for trade buyers preparing for the fair. The online catalog, the interactive hall plans, and the Spielwarenmesse app are all helpful tools to plan each day efficiently. Visitors can take advantage of the Partner Hotel Programme and the Spielwarenmesse’s partnership with Airbnb.

Trade show attendees can use the show’s admission ticket as a free travel pass on the local ÖPNV transport network. The voucher booklet features discounts and giveaways, which visitors can redeem with participating exhibitors. Between appointments, visitors can stop for a welcome break in the VisitorLounges, where they can recharge their mobile devices and take a moment to absorb the many impressions they have gained at the fair.


This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of the Toy Book.