Off to Nuremberg! That’s the slogan for the Spielwarenmesse, where the international toy industry will gather from Feb. 2-6, 2022. It’s almost hard to believe that we will have endured 730 long days of waiting before meeting again at Germany’s Nuremberg Exhibition Center. The level of anticipation is already huge with the prospect of seeing business partners in person again, making new contacts, discovering tomorrow’s trends, and doing what we do best: playing with toys. To ensure that everyone participating in the fair can concentrate all their efforts on business and networking, organizer Spielwarenmesse eG has established a comprehensive hygiene policy in collaboration with local leaders to ensure the safest gathering possible. The city of Nuremberg is also ready and there will be many new attractions for visitors to the fair.
Merging New Ideas with Proven Methods
The 72nd Spielwarenmesse is maintaining continuity throughout the exhibition halls’ layout, reflecting the toy market in 12 different categories. The blend of established market leaders and start-up companies across 18 halls provides a uniquely varied range, allowing for a comprehensive overview of the latest product offerings from toymakers worldwide, all in one location.
Retailers are encouraged to visit special exhibition areas to find additional inspiration. Tech2Play in Hall 4A presents highlights from the field of electronic toys. Since 2017, this area has served as a hands-on showcase for robotic, R/C, and educational toys and virtual games. The Toy Business Forum in Hall 3A is once again the must-visit destination to discover current and forward-looking insights. Trade visitors from around the world can take part in free presentations showcasing trends, market developments, and licensing opportunities.
Additionally, the Spielwarenmesse highlights new ideas for the industry in locations such as the Area for Service Providers in Hall 3A. In this special showcase, testing institutes and suppliers from the fields of packaging, production technology, logistics, marketing, and electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) systems come together for a fresh look at their latest offerings. This year, sustainability will take center stage as toymakers seek new ways to evolve their businesses in the years ahead.
Nighttime in Nuremberg is Playtime
When the trade fair closes for the day, restaurants and bars in the heart of the old city — the Nuremberg Altstadt — open their doors to invite toy industry guests to enjoy their local culinary specialities. Franconian cuisine has a wealth of delicious treats, including the world-famous Nuremberg Bratwurst and the roast pork shoulder known as Schäufele. For beverage enthusiasts, regional beers and wines are regularly enjoyed by visitors toasting to a successful fair.
Attendees may also wish to explore some toy history at Nuremberg’s Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum), which is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a new exhibit, or the recently opened Haus des Spiels (House of Games) — home to the largest curated collection of games in Germany, containing more than 30,000 board and card games.
Going Virtual: Exploring Spielwarenmesse Digital
To complement the annual in-person event, Spielwarenmesse Digital serves as a virtual enhancement that visitors can explore before the trade fair begins. The new platform contains an overview of all exhibiting companies and their products, whether they’re exhibiting on the show floor or are making their offerings available in a purely digital form. The entire experience is searchable by exhibitor, products, and license.
Spielwarenmesse Digital also includes personal profiles for all participants, including private chat, group chat, audio calls, and video meetings, which are available to foster better communication between exhibitors and attendees. The digital platform will also include livestreamed content from the trade fair, including panels and presentations from the Toy Business Forum, the LicenseTalks, and the exhibitors’ workshops.
Playing it Safe
The team at Spielwarenmesse eG, in collaboration with exhibition center operator NürnbergMesse and local health authorities, have developed a comprehensive hygiene policy that is constantly updated to reflect the latest requirements to ensure everyone’s safety.
Alongside the now-customary rules such as the wearing of face masks, avoiding handshakes, and following coughing and sneezing etiquette, the policy includes a number of additional measures. Washrooms and frequently used surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected at regular intervals. Hand sanitizer will be available in many locations around the exhibition center; and updated ventilation equipment will ensure that the air in the building is fully replaced every hour. The Spielwarenmesse has sufficient space to allow social distancing between individuals.
Finally, in order to ensure seamless contact tracing, all exhibitors, trade visitors, media representatives, and service providers will register in advance for the fair. For this reason, tickets to the fair are only available online, and will go on sale in mid-November.
A recent retail survey has shown that the overwhelming majority of toy industry players are looking forward to meeting again in Nuremberg, and the Spielwarenmesse is ready to welcome them back to play!
This article was originally published in the October 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!