For the president and CEO of the US Toy Association, Steve Pasierb, 2020 was a year of maneuvering through the shifting sands of an event landscape beholden to a pandemic that refused to play by the rules. One major pivot to the all-virtual platform later, and Pasierb is ready to explain why the success of Toy Fair Everywhere means it’s destined to be a part of the global toy industry fabric forever.
With global toy tradeshows and in-person meetings on the back burner in the first two quarters of 2021, thanks to an earlier multi-year investment in technology The US Toy Association is continuing to ensure product discovery, order placement, and business connections are made amid these unusual circumstances.
Following a successful series of digital market weeks held last summer, The Toy Association’s Toy Fair Everywhere (www.ToyFairEverywhere.com) B2B e-commerce platform opens for year-round business on Saturday, February 13, on what would have been opening day of Toy Fair New York 2021.
Available at the onset of the pandemic to help the global toy community forge ahead, Toy Fair Everywhere connects sellers, buyers, distributors, sales reps, media, and other key industry stakeholders on a secure online platform, where product orders can be placed quickly and seamlessly. The 2020 market weeks saw 209 companies exhibit 847 brands and 33,339 products across 15,041 showroom visits. The site had 736,689 page views, while there were 41,627 buyer visits on exhibitor profiles.
“The audience ready to discover new and novel play products has already grown thanks to Toy Fair Everywhere attracting global buyers who may not normally take the trip to in-person shows.”
Based on this success, the year-round Toy Fair Everywhere marketplace is a prime opportunity for toy companies to leverage an affordable hub for business throughout the remainder of the pandemic and when in-person events resume, as a complement to The Toy Association’s live events like Toy Fair New York and Toy Fair Dallas.
The audience ready to discover new and novel play products has already grown thanks to Toy Fair Everywhere attracting global buyers who may not normally take the trip to in-person shows due to cost or scheduling conflicts, and we expect this growth to continue.
Over the next few months, Toy Fair Everywhere will host specific market weeks highlighting trends and specific categories, like Arts & Crafts and Collectibles. The platform will also continue to unveil engaging educational content on toy trends, consumer shopping habits, and global toy markets, among other topics of interest to the global toy community.
The Toy Association has also pioneered virtual Retailer Private Previews to connect brands with major retailers – these previews began in fall of 2020 and are continuing this year. To date, customized retailer previews have been held virtually with buyers at Target, Toys“R”Us Canada, Family Dollar, Urban Outfitters, Claire’s, and several others, providing more than 450 toymakers with first-time access to influential buyers and additional opportunities to get their products on shelves.
We know our colleagues in the toy industry rely upon The Toy Association’s in-person shows for the essential business, publicity, and financial value they provide, and we are looking forward to reconvening in person at Toy Fair Dallas this October and at Toy Fair New York in February 2022.
In the meantime, our digital offerings for the toy community are here to stay, making certain product discovery, trend-spotting, and order writing is possible 24/7/365.
Steve Pasierb is the president and CEO of the US Toy Association