More than 25,000 players in the global toy industry flocked to the 108th American International Toy Fair last week to scout out 100,000+ innovative products on display, while exhibitors garnered worldwide media exposure and struck business deals across 360,000 net square feet of exhibit space at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.
The largest toy tradeshow in the western hemisphere, Toy Fair 2011 (Feb. 13-16) welcomed 10,305 buyers from 91 countries, and saw year-to-date increases in attendance across the board, including overall attendance (excluding guests) (+2%; 15,335), international attendance (+17%; 2,299), international buyers (+8%; 1,534) and manufacturer's reps (+19%; 1,933).
The show also drew a 10% increase in trade guests, including an unprecedented surge in licensors (+8%), entertainment executives (+31%) and international trade guests (+26%). Canada, the U.K., Japan, Mexico, and Brazil were identified as the top 5 countries with the highest attendance numbers.
"The Toy Industry Association's Toy Fair continues to grow and change with the changing toy industry," said Carter Keithley, TIA president. "The astonishing increase in attendance by licensors, entertainment executives, and international buyers tells us something about where the U.S. toy industry is headed."
"We saw a robust and steady stream of order-writing and deal-making on the show floor," added Marian Bossard, VP of meetings and events at TIA. "The boost in international attendance and the striking increase in licensors made for a highly dynamic and successful show."
The energetic event attracted droves of national and international media outlets – overall media attendance grew by 15% and international media saw a 13% rise. More than 1,000 media representatives came to the show to report on this year's top trends – which included Simply Social, Cent-sational, Performance Play and Design, Discover and Learn – and to predict which toys and games will be on everyone's radar come fourth quarter holiday shopping season.
Major media outlets covering Toy Fair this year included The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, ABC News, BBC, CNN, Fox Business, NBC News, Parents and Popular Science.
"Toy Fair 2011 proved to be a huge success and one of Patch's best shows in over 25 years of attendance," said Brian Maxwell, President of Patch Products. "There was a lot of excitement leading up to Toy Fair, and that energy definitely carried over into the actual show. We saw an increase of traffic and meetings with specialty toy, mass retail and international buyers, along with quality licensors, media and inventors in attendance. We credit this to the great new products our employees and inventor partners were able to create along with the hard work and dedication of the TIA personnel."
More than 5,900 unique retail outlets – as well as representatives from 21 of the top 25 toy retailers in the U.S. and 45 of the top 250 retailers worldwide – scoped out product from nearly 1,100 exhibitors (255 first-timers) from 26 countries. The diversity of the retailers spanned traditional toy sellers ranging in size from specialty toy stores to big box and warehouse retailers to drugstores, supermarkets and hypermarkets, as well as alternative toy and game distribution channels such as book and clothing stores, pet shops and travel-themed retailers.
"As a first time exhibitor, I was so impressed by how many people attended Toy Fair 2011," said Jennifer Kelman, creator of Mrs. Pinkelmeyer, LLC. "It was such an incredible environment for all the exhibitors to showcase our latest products. The response has been incredible. I look forward to Toy Fair 2012."
"2011 was an extremely successful show for our Uglydoll® brand and our results improve year after year. We were extremely busy exhibiting to wonderfully enthusiastic groups of buyers visiting our booth," added Alita Friedman, Chief Brand Officer at Uglydoll. "Our new booth design and expansion into new product categories certainly caused a buzz among attendees bringing in a surge of customers and press each day."
The 109th American International Toy Fair will be held February 12-15, 2012, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
What did you think of our coverage of Toy Fair? What did you like? What did you not like? What can we do better for next year? We need to know so we can make it better!
Here are some of my pressing questions:
Do you like how we break down the companies into their separate lines and/or series or would it be fine if all the photos were dumped into one folder per company?