by KRISTIN MORENCY GOLDMAN, senior communications specialist, The Toy Association
While the pandemic has affected all toy companies, the negative impacts of the health crisis have not been felt evenly. Some companies have seen a surge in demand for their products (as demonstrated by sales increases for certain categories through the first half of this year), while many others are seeing a downturn in demand for their toys and are losing revenue by the day.
The Toy Association (TA) is in close contact with the toy community to gauge the impact of the pandemic on individual businesses and determine the best way to provide information and assistance to those who are struggling.
“As we continue to work with like-minded trade associations and industries to promote economic relief and advocate for funding of the Paycheck Protection Program, among other programs, we encourage companies to visit our COVID-19 resource page (toyassociation.org/covid) for continually updated information, including business and retailer toolkits for navigating the pandemic and guidance about specific government funding and relief programs,” says Steve Pasierb, The Toy Association’s president and CEO.
A series of weekly webinars held throughout the summer also guided companies on a number of issues, including: how to do business with a bankrupt customer during the pandemic, insurance coverage in the COVID-19 era, manufacturing location strategies amid turbulent times, best supply chain practices when dealing with distressed customers, best practices for workforce hiring after COVID-19, and other topics.
The sessions are available on-demand at toyassociation.org/webinars.
While the health crisis is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, The Toy Association’s External Affairs staff is continuing to make headway on ongoing issues affecting the toy community, including pushing for legislation that tackles the threat of unsafe counterfeit toys sold on e-commerce platforms; staying engaged through the Americans for Free Trade Coalition to urge the U.S. government to keep tariffs off toys; active involvement in state and federal policy discussions concerning children’s online privacy and safety; and trade barrier issues in India, the European Union, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.
“We are committed to continuing our work on legislative and regulatory issues around the globe,” says Ed Desmond, executive vice president of external affairs at The Toy Association. “Particularly with more consumers than ever now shopping online, it is not the time to let up in our fight against counterfeits. One of our key activities is advocating for stricter e-commerce regulations that would ensure greater brand protection and toy safety.”
The Association’s Intellectual Property (IP) Protection Committee is currently undergoing a revision of the white paper, “The Real Threat of Fake Toys.” The Toy Association also held a virtual IP Fly-In in September, connecting Toy Association manufacturer and licensor members with policymakers to discuss the industry’s key concerns about counterfeit toys.
Companies can contact Heather Easley (email@example.com) to learn more about these initiatives.
HELPING YOU FORGE AHEAD
The Toy Association’s Toy Fair Everywhere virtual market weeks have been connecting the global toy community and helping retailers keep shelves stocked for the holiday season, despite travel restrictions and other limitations created by COVID-19. The July, August, and September market weeks featured tens of thousands of toys and games and more than 180 exhibiting companies, as well as a robust calendar of digital events and on-demand content. Buyers from more than 60 countries were represented during the market weeks.
“We are committed to helping the industry move forward during this period of uncertainty, and Toy Fair Everywhere has been a successful digital meeting ground for companies to make connections and seek out new business opportunities,” says Marian Bossard, The Toy Associaton’s executive vice president of global market events.
The Toy Association’s trend team presented a mid-year trends briefing during Toy Fair Everywhere in August, speaking about the rise in intergenerational toys and games; the uptick in demand for educational toys to help with home-schooling; and an expected rise in demand for unboxing collectibles, licensed toys, and other kid favorites for the fourth quarter. The trends briefing can be viewed on the Toy Association’s YouTube channel.
“There have been so many unpredictable changes in our world since March, but play has been a mainstay for many families stuck at home or distancing from friends,” says Adrienne Appell, The Toy Association’s senior director of strategic communications. “Trends related to play, shopping, and spending have certainly evolved and will undoubtedly impact sales for the holiday season.”
For more information about The Toy Association’s recent activities, visit toyassociation.org.
This article was originally published in the October 2020 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!