Samantha Loveday

By Samantha Loveday

January 6th 2015 at 12:45PM

Last year's US Toy Fair saw an 11% surge in international buyers and an 8% increase in exhibitors. The TIA explains why you should be making the trip to the Big Apple next month.

Hundreds of thousands of the world’s most innovative playthings for kids of all ages will be unveiled in New York City this February at the 112th annual North American International Toy Fair, the largest toy and youth entertainment product marketplace in the Western Hemisphere.

Taking place Saturday, February 14th through Tuesday, February 17th 2015, Toy Fair is regarded as a critical stop on the global toy buying circuit. The show is expected to attract nearly 10,000 buyers from over 100 countries – including a rising number from the United Kingdom and other European nations – eager to browse brand-new products filling a record-breaking 38,000+ net square metres of exhibit space.

Established over a century ago, Toy Fair continues to evolve and expand: last year’s show saw an 11 per cent surge in international buyers, an eight per cent rise in exhibitors and a five per cent increase in total attendance, bringing the number of visitors to nearly 27,000.

“With an ever-growing number of domestic and international participants, Toy Fair is considered a ‘must attend’ show for any play professional vying for a stake in the $22 billion US toy market as well as opportunities overseas,” said Marian Bossard, vice president of meetings and events at the US Toy Industry Association (TIA), owner and operator of Toy Fair. “Toy Fair attendees consistently report that they spot more trends and are introduced to more diverse and highly creative product lines at our North American show than at any other toy marketplace in the world.”

From specialty and high-end toys that incorporate sophisticated design and technology, to infant/toddler toys that foster early learning, to outdoor ride-ons, active toys and beyond, the Toy Fair playground has something for everyone. To help attendees hone in on what’s expected to be hot next year, TIA will unveil its official list of 2015 toy trends during a presentation on 15 February, free for all show visitors.

Boosting Your Business Savvy

In addition to offering a peek at creative new products, Toy Fair provides attendees with ample opportunities to increase their business savvy and understanding of the global toy market.

Independent Thinking, a free series specifically tailored to independent and specialty retailers, will include two sessions this coming year: 20/20 Ads: Improve Your Average Daily Sale up to 20 per cent in 20 Days, and Customer Service is NOT Enough. Other complementary educational offerings include Creative Factor, a series that provides information specifically of interest to toy inventors and designers, as well as TIA’s Toy Safety Compliance Update, which brings attendees up to speed on toy safety standards, laws and compliance requirements in the United States and abroad.

TIA’s Licensing Content Connection will once again offer education geared toward licensors, licensees, brand owners and entertainment executives. As part of the program, a Licensing 101 session will be presented by Advanstar, organisers of Licensing Expo. Speakers from LIMA will offer insights into using licenses creatively in an independent environment, and how to strategically use licences to build your business.

Additionally, TIA will present original global market research intended to help companies identify opportunities for launching and expanding sales activity in toy markets overseas. The presentations will offer economic indicators for the US, Australia and Mexico, as well as insights into demographics, consumer habits, industry influencers, and entry strategies for these markets.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Digital Kids Conference will be co-located alongside Toy Fair on February 16th-17th and will address important new strategies, valuable tools, and marketplace insight that will enable youth-focused media professionals to create best selling digital toys, games and media services for kids.

The Future of Product Sourcing

Participants can get a jump-start on their Toy Fair experience even before the doors open with ShopToyFair365.com (STF365), a B2B e-commerce platform that is free for all buyers and exhibitors registered for the show.


The tool was designed to streamline the discovery, communication and purchase process for both buyers and sellers: it enables toy companies to create virtual product showrooms at no cost, which retailers can browse online or from a mobile device to identify product of interest and submit purchase orders directly — day or night, and without any transaction fees. ShopToyFair365 also allows buyers and sellers to exchange private messages directly, enhancing the management of existing relationships and providing easy opportunities to develop new ones. Similar to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms, buyers can also 'follow' exhibiting companies to receive up-to-the-minute updates, as well as comment on, share and 'like' product images.

Book Your Trip

For complete details on registering, exhibitor listings, educational seminars, hotel reservations, or to learn more about Toy Fair, visit www.ToyFairNY.com.