What Were The Trends At Toy Fair This Year?

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We don’t know about you, but we had a great time at Toy Fair this year! Hopefully you did too. As always, Toy Fair is a treasure trove of new trends and hot, upcoming brands and we thought it might be helpful to share some of what we saw coming down the pike. Please join us as we take a peek at the future of kids’ playthings…

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Toy Fair is a great place to connect with old and current colleagues, make new connections and identify new business opportunities.

But it is also a great place to see what is hot in the marketplace and what we can expect in the coming 12-18 months.

The following is a recap of just some of the trends and up-and-coming brands that we identified:

  1. Return to Retro – Everywhere we looked we saw a return to the days of yore. One of our favorites was Whiffer Sniffer, a throwback to the scratch-and-sniff, smelly stickers from our childhood. Also, in celebration of her upcoming 35th anniversary, a return to the days of the original Strawberry Shortcake. And let’s not forget the new and improved, Teddy Ruxpin, who will certainly be more advanced in this era of the Internet of Things!
  2. Mini plush and figures – When we first saw the Tsum Tsums at Jakks Pacific a year ago, we got hooked on the mobile game. Now, there are minis and Tsum Tsum-like characters everywhere! Major plush companies and one of the biggest toy manufacturers are all capitalizing on the trend so be on the look-out for miniatures everywhere you look.
  3. Emojis – Ever since an emoji was named “word of the year,” we have seen an increase in the number of toys that incorporate them. There was plush, crafts, robots and even entire booths dedicated to the new “language” that we all love so much!
  4. Girl power – The gals seem to have it this year! Most of you already know that Cartoon Network is bringing back Powerpuff Girls supported by new toys from Spin Master. GoldieBlox continued to expand their empire encouraging young girls to embrace STEM and Hasbro’s Star Wars toys featured some incredible women warriors!
  5. Digital components – Digital interaction was everywhere. In fact, one toy company contact actually stated, “And of course all of our toys will have a digital component. Every package will include a code or symbol that will allow kids to access additional content, allowing them to engage even further.”
  6. Blind bags – Another thing we saw everywhere we turned were showing blind bags. For those who aren’t aware, blind bags are toys packaged in unmarked boxes or bags that are purchased by consumers who will be surprised when they open the toy up. Kind of like baseball cards. The concept started in Japan and Europe a number of years ago, but seems to have taken off here in the US and now every major toy manufacturer seems to be getting into the blind bag game…

So, that sums up some of the product trends that we saw, but what about the brands?

Here are some of the bigger ones that we saw in multiple booths:

  1. Star Wars – No surprise, the #1 grossing film of all time is HOT in the toy category as well. There were figures, vehicles, robots, RCs, you name it! And don’t expect it to stop anytime soon. Could Star Wars be the new Frozen???
  2. Trolls – The new movie from DreamWorks releasing next November is getting major buzz. Those in the industry who have seen “sneak peeks” indicate that it is fantastic. And the toys were everywhere at the show. Hasbro is the master toy licensee but of course there are many other partners as well…
  3. Secret Life of Pets – Another big movie releasing this summer is Secret Life of Pets from Universal. We have been seeing product for a while, but it is clear now that it is coming to a head as we get ready for the movie release.
  4. Shimmer and Shine – Nickelodeon’s new TV show about genies aims to set girls’ imaginations on fire with an extremely wide variety of products ranging from toys and books to apparel and housewares.

So, did you see any trends or hot licenses that we missed???

As always, tell us what you think in the Comments below…

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