The 71st Spielwarenmesse international toy fair kicked off in Nuremberg, Germany this morning, and as promised, the International TrendCommittee — which includes The Toy Book Publisher Jackie Breyer — is showcasing three strong toy trends for the year. Products representing Toys for Future, Digital Goes Physical, and Be You! are now on display on Trend Islands in the TrendGallery of Hall 3A through Feb. 2.
The current Fridays for Future movement is highlighting how climate change affects us all. The toy industry has a tendency to tackle current issues and reflects the world on a smaller scale. Products that fall within this trend category have a firm focus on climate protection and sustainability. Toys in this category promote environmentally friendly behavior, raise awareness through play, and are produced by sustainable means or by using eco-friendly materials that have been upcycled or recycled.
Highlights include Play Playa, a collaborative game from Bioviva Editions in which kids can learn about the natural environment, recycling, and the perils of litter. The eeBoo Climate Action Puzzle is made from sustainable materials including 80% recycled greyboard, and it is printed with vegetable-based ink. Ocean Buddies rattles by Tikiri, the Pull-Along Recycling Truck from EverEarth, and Clip-It from Waste Is More SAS can also be found in the TrendGallery.
Characters from well-known video games and esports are becoming popular licensing themes. YouTube channels, apps, and messaging services offer considerable potential. In the Digital Goes Physical trend, digital characters enter the world of conventional toys. The characters’ physical counterparts become an extension of virtual reality, opening the door to new experiences through play.
One recent example is the Fortnite action figures, vehicles, and playsets, based on Epic Games’ popular Battle Royale game. Jazwares, Moose Toys, and McFarlane are among the licensees offering different options for kids of many ages. The Baby Shark wooden puzzle by Spin Master, and the Pokémon and Eevee Poké Ball collection from The Pokémon Company International are among the new toys from this category on display.
In a colorful and diverse world, play connects everyone, transcending origin, religion, or appearance. This is the fundamental principle of this trend, which brings together two objectives: to help people with special needs and to promote tolerance, inclusion, and diversity. People with disabilities or diseases, such as dementia or Parkinson’s disease, have very different tactile requirements when it comes to toys and games. Products within this theme stimulate their minds and motor skills while creating shared experiences.
Haba’s Feel and Race board game is designed with special counters that are easier for players to grasp. Players with impaired vision will find them easier to be recognized due to their unique size and shape. The Sense & Focus 4 seasons Path from Chicco, and the Barbie Fashionistas range from Mattel are also included in the category.
Attendees who visit the TrendGallery will be able to get hands-on time with the products that reflect the trends. Additionally, visitors can pick up a copy of the TrendGuide and attend daily talks by industry experts at the Toy Business Forum.
The 2020 Spielwarenmesse TrendComittee
- John Baulch (publisher, Toy World Magazine, UK)
- Jackie Breyer (group publisher, Adventure Media & Events: the Toy Book, the Toy Insider, the Pop Insider, U.S.)
- Daniele Caroli (journalist, Parents’ Choice, Russia)
- Dr. Maria Costa (market researcher, AIJU Toy Research Institute, Spain)
- Axel Dammler (market researcher, iconkids & youth international research GmbH, Germany)
- Steven Ekstract (journalist, License! Global, U.S.)
- Philippe Guinaudeau (market researcher, Kidz Global, France)
- Lena Hedö (journalist, Lek & Babyrevyn, Sweden)
- Gabriela Kaiser (trend consultant, TRENDagentur, Germany)
- Urszula Kaszubowska (journalist, Branza Dziecieca, Poland)
- Reyne Rice (journalist and trend expert, U.S.)
- Jane Wong (journalist, Toy Industry, China)