International visitor numbers rise but Spielwarenmesse still takes Coronavirus knock

Visitors from the UK and the US made up the largest increases in attendee numbers to this year’s Spielwarenmesse, despite fears around the Coronavirus that saw overall attendee figures drop on last year’s.

According to the show’s organisers, the international share of both visitors and exhibitors reached its highest levels to date, as the show welcomed around 63,500 independent retailers and buyers from across 136 countries.

The figure did however reflect a decline from the 66,876 visitors from across 132 countries in 2019. The show has stated that the drop in the number of visitors is linked to fears around the Coronavirus.

Taking a closer look at the visitor numbers, 66 per cent (2019: 62 per cent) travelled to the fair from abroad. In the country ranking, the UK and the USA posted the biggest increases. In addition, the level of demand at the Spielwarenmesse ‘remained stable.’

According to Spielwarenmesse, 92 per cent of the show’s exhibitors were ‘very happy’ or ‘happy’ with the outcome of the fair, praising the quality of the trade visitors.

“This year’s Spielwarenmesse was by far our most successful because of the first-rate visitors,” said Craze’s vice president, Florian N. Lipp.

“We’ve met the most important international decision-makers across all distribution channels in the space of just a few days.”

While at the show, toy giant Mattel celebrated its milestone birthday directly at its exhibition stand.

Providing a good reflection of the current market, the three trends Toys for Future, Digital goes Physical, and Be You! were well received by trade visitors and exhibitors. Besides tolerance and inclusion, the focus is on connecting digital and traditional toys and on environmental awareness.

“The Spielwarenmesse perfectly reflects our philosophy of sustainability which will play an even stronger role in the industry in the future,” said Alain De Rauw, international sales director of Thai toy maker PlanToys.

The organiser has since detailed its plans to expand the theme of sustainability at the next Spielwarenmesse.

Meanwhile, this year’s ToyAwards was positioned to offer visitors guidance on emerging trends in the toy space. Gollnest & Kiesel is one of the five award-winning companies.

Senior vice president, Thorsten Koss explained: “The ToyAward is more than just recognition of an innovative product, as it also generates a lot of interest, as has been confirmed by the extremely positive response we’ve received at the fair.”

Looking towards next year, Spielwarenmesse is already confident of a successful return of the International Toy Fair, citing that 92 per cent pf exhibitors have already pledged to return to next year’s event, running from January 27th to 31st 2021.

Ernst Kick, CEO Spielwarenmesse eG, said: “The high proportion of international visitors and the positive mood among exhibitors corroborates our forward-looking approach to the event.

“Venturing down the right track early on, we set our sights on leading the industry into a new and successful business year.”

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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