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Opinion: The power of the toy influencer in today’s industry

This week’s opinion comes from head of operations and events at the British Toy and Hobby Association, Majen Immink. She has successfully builds on the show’s achievements year on year, and has headed up its Influencer Day initiative.

Influencers have become a core part of the toy industry, whether they’re unboxing the latest surprise or reviewing the latest licensed toy – we can’t deny the benefits of having the YouTubers and bloggers of today onside.

So this year, the BTHA will be trying something new for London Toy Fair: a dedicated Influencer Day.

Taking place on Wednesday, January 22, the day will see Influencers given a dedicated tour of the show floor to meet exhibitors and get a sneak peek at what will be released in 2020. On top of this, we’ll also be running a Content Creation Zone, providing space for influencers to record videos with the wide range of toys and games being showcased at the event.

For exhibitors, the value that an influencer can bring to the launch of a product shouldn’t be ignored. A recent study found that 77 per cent of children trust YouTuber recommendations over traditional advertising, signifying that the relationship between an influencer and their audience is indeed a strong one.

Eight-year-old Ryan Kaji is probably the world’s best- known toy influencer. He’s the star of Ryan’s World, a channel with more than 22 million subscribers. Since the channel first started in March 2015, over 1,500 vide- os have been uploaded, racking up more than 34 billion views. That’s some very impressive numbers and a real insight into the audience numbers these channels are reaching today.

An established channel like Ryan’s World just goes to show the potential long-term success influencers have and the benefits of working with them early in their careers. With stars like Tiana formerly of Tiana Toys and Me growing older and moving on from the toy space, this opens the way for younger channels with smaller audiences to fill their shoes.

Up and coming sibling channels ABC Children’s Toys Review and Toy Bazaar are prime examples of “micro-influencers” that can provide opportunities for mutually-beneficial partnerships for a fraction of the cost of a channel with millions of subscribers.

Influencers large and small have demonstrated their incredible value to the toy industry and we’re excited to be holding our first Influencer Day at Toy Fair 2020. It will give exhibitors opportunities to create new working relationships with these valuable forms of media and help them choose what to have on display accordingly.

Toy Fair 2020 is once again being held at London Olympia on Tuesday, January 21 to Thursday, January 23. To find out more about Toy Fair 2020 and the inaugural influencer day, visit the Toy Fair website or follow the official Toy Fair Twitter.

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