Autumn Fair: The buying event of the season?

The NEC show could be the last chance to see some new wares before Christmas.
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Toy retailers looking to sneak in some last minute buying before the key Christmas period starts should consider heading to Autumn Fair at the Birmingham NEC.

Taking between September 2nd and 5th, the show represents a chance to see the very latest toys and children’s wares from over 110 exhibitors in the newly rebranded Children’s Toys, Gifts and Gadgets section, located in Hall 5.

There’s also the opportunity to bolster your Christmas line-up by delving into the multitude of other gift categories, including arts and crafts and stationery.

The fair’s organisers estimate that, across the board, over 60,000 new products will be launched. The show is definitely a place where people go to do business.
“It’s an order taking event more than anything else,” explains Greg Saint, event director. “It’s very much a ‘buy now, sell now’ show. So exhibitors must really be able to deliver straight away.

“Because we’re the last big offering in the gift market of the year, visitors tend to be there because that’s the point in which they’ve decided to come and make their buying decisions. You also tend to find in more tough times that people leave buying decisions late.”

Saint says that toys remain a ‘very important part’ of both Autumn Fair and its big brother exhibition Spring Fair, which hosted a Toy Demo area this year, with around 11,000 visitors listing children’s gifts, toys and gadgets as a secondary interest.

“The section historically rebooks to a high level, which is a good indicator that people do well out of it,” he says.

“There’s a lot of historical gift shops, be them independents, multiples or wholesalers, that stock toys as one of their offerings. Really the main thrust of toy companies is the opportunity to get some products or ranges into shops as toys as gifts.”

And vice-versa, Saint adds: “For anyone who considers themselves a traditional toy retailer who is looking to put together a gifts strategy together – we’d be the best place to start.”


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