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GM Thought of the Week: 250,000 Steps – One Resilient Nuremberg Toy Fair.

Last week Nuremberg came alive again for the world’s largest Toy Fair. With 12 vast Halls filled with famous brands, original start-ups and buyers from large chains and independent retailers the spirit of optimism and enthusiasm for toy trends continued in the momentous year of 2020.

The annual Spielwarenmesse Toy Fair in Nuremberg featured a number of exhibit halls filled with worldwide toys, games, technology and licensing trends last week. Brands both new and old were exhibited by an abundance of companies.  The final numbers have yet to be published but the trade show traditionally houses, more than 2,886 exhibitors from over 68 countries including 895 exhibitors not present at any other fairs the show attracted more than 70,000 visitors from over 130 countries. There is traditionally a plethora of products to see with other 1 million products showcased and 120,000 of these new products.

It is yet to be seen how this year’s figures stack up vs. these traditional statics that position Nuremberg Toy Fair as the largest show of its kind in the world. For those attending it will be to no surprise how dominating the coronavirus was to conversations. From no hand shaking policies, to the what initially seemed as a joke, with the elbow greet, every conversation started with a discussion about how each company was taking the seriousness of hygiene. For this reason alone, we can expect the official visitor numbers to be down year on year. To make the situation worse, midway through the show- the news broke with The World Health Organization declaring the outbreak a global health emergency. As if the toy industry needed another challenge on its hands! Rising costs, consumer uncertainty & ‘copycat’ products are surely enough!

As far as the industry is concerned, this outbreak could now cause some major challenges in both the short and long term. Wuhan may not be a centre of mass production, but workers are unlikely to return to work for another 2 weeks at a minimum. Some in fact, suggest this is an unrealistic outcome, and the delay could last closer to 6-12 months to allow time to get back to a sense of normality.

Despite this early sense uncertainty and a potential decline in footfall numbers, it was largely business as usual at the fair, with innovation coupled with resilience leading the way! This enthusiasm was, and always is, infectious (no pun intended!)

With our team achieving a painstaking 250,000 steps across the 4 days of our visit, there was plenty of trends & innovation to be seen. These are summed up nicely alongside Spielwarenmesse and international TrendCommittee who identified three industry trends for the year including: “Toys for Future!”, “Digital Goes Physical” and “Be You!”.

For more information on these trends, read the 2020 trends report:

These trends and product themes were displayed across many manufacturers at the fair, with some already making these an important area of focus for their products, towards the back end of the year. The one that was most prominent in Nuremberg was the ‘Toys For Future’ Trend. With brands listening to consumer demand for economically friendly products and packaging. No doubt a trend that is now here to stay beyond 2020..