The U.S. Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) 111th American International Toy Fair returns on February 16th to 19th, 2014 with a bigger show floor and education programme than ever before and a number of major new show initiatives.
A record-breaking 400,000 net square feet of exhibit space at New York City’s newly renovated Jacob K. Javits Convention Center will play host to over 25,000 play professionals from around the world. They will flock to New York City to spot the latest trends, meet international buyers and sellers and attend business-building educational and networking sessions.
Launches and trend spotting
A factor which distinguishes American International Toy Fair from the other toy shows is its location. By being hosted in the heart of the massive US $22 billion market, which is 4½ times greater than the next national marketplace, Toy Fair is a real magnet for toy companies launching new products. Indeed the exhibit space will feature 150,000 toys, games and youth entertainment products from 1,100 companies and an estimated 7,000 products will receive their global debut at Toy Fair.
To increase the trend-spotting opportunities at the show, TIA will host a special Toy Trends Tea on the second day of the show (Monday, February 17th). This has never been open to all Toy Fair registrants before.
At the briefing TIA will unveil the trend developments which its experts have been tracking for the past year, and will give examples of where these trends can be seen first-hand on the show floor.
Product Zones & Partnerships
Visitors will see classic toys and games, educational lines, construction toys, arts and crafts, dolls and plush, ride-ons, licensed merchandise, eco-friendly playthings, app-cessories, stationery and party supplies, holiday-themed products and more. To make navigation even easier, in addition to the hundreds of exhibitors in the general exhibit areas, the show floor also includes 12 product-specific zones.
Among these zones is a new area for this year called Modern Designfeaturing companies that marry contemporary form with functional innovation high-design aesthetics, attention to materials, creativity and authentic end-user engagement.. The other zones include a Children’s Books and Music zone and to boost this aspect of the show TIA has for the first time teamed with BookExpo America (BEA) and the American Booksellers Association, which is promoting Toy Fair to its members.
Regulation & Markets
In another first, there will be no non-member fee for the Toy Industry Association’s hugely popular Toy Safety Compliance Update. This means more registrants than ever can participate and stay up to date with the latest US toy safety regulation – crucial for those keen to sell product into the US market.
International Perspective & Insights
Many attend Toy Fair to not only tap into the massive and influential US market but also to network with international colleagues. The show attracts 1,000 global media representatives and toy buyers from over 100 countries. This international reach is growing; indeed, registered international buyers currently represent 13 per cent of total registrants for Toy Fair 2014.
For those focused on major and emerging markets, there will be special presentations of the findings of two TIA-commissioned studies on the toy industry and marketplace in China and Brazil. The presentations will include detailed data on where, when, how and with whom children play, as well as information on macro statistics, retail channels, gift giving occasions, popular entertainment brands, ideal target audiences and promotional opportunities.
TIA’s Licensing Content Connection is specifically geared toward licensors, licensees, brand owners and entertainment executives.
In another first, this year’s programme will include “Licensing 101” a presentation examining fundamental licensing issues led by Advanstar, organisers of the U.S.-based Licensing Expo as well as Brand Licensing Europe.
The presentation is part of a newly established collaboration between TIA and Advanstar to introduce Licensing Expo exhibitors to current and emerging toy trends, and to inform Toy Fair exhibitors of licensing issues and opportunities in emerging international markets.
The Licensing Content Connection agenda will also feature a workshop on ways to build a successful licensing program plus talks on licensing a brand or property, insights into hiring a licensing agent or consultant, and in-depth explorations of trends within the youth marketplace.
Learning Opportunities for Retailers, Inventors and Designers
With thousands of independent and speciality retailers attending the show, there is also a strong programme of free-to-attend ‘Independent Thinking’ sessions throughout the show. These include topics such as “60 Promotions in 60 Minutes” – designed to help retailers grow their businesses and attract shoppers to their stores.
2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Creative Factor, a complimentary educational series that provides information specifically of interest to toy inventors and designers. Experts in various fields will share insights into starting a business, negotiating agreements, protecting intellectual property and more.
Digital Media and Tech Toys
The Digital Kids Conference will co-locate for the fourth time alongside Toy Fair.
Taking place February 18th to 19th, the Conference targets the business needs of youth-focused digital media professionals. The expert speakers lined up include Todd Yellin, Vice President of Product Innovation, Netflix in his last speaking engagement of 2014!, Miles Ludwig, Managing Director, Content Innovation Lab, Sesame Workshop and Renee Weber, VP, Consumer Strategy and Research, The Marketing Store.
Additionally, the Digital Kids Toys, Learning & Play Summit (Feb. 17) will offer insights into effectively adding educational components to toys, games, mobile apps, and websites. Toy Fair attendees can attend the conference and summit at a reduced rate.
For complete details on registering, exhibitor listings, educational seminars, hotel reservations, or to learn more about Toy Fair, visit www.ToyFairNY.com.