Germany calling

BLE is over for 2011, and now the toy industry turns its attention to 'show season' at the beginning of 2012. Katie Roberts found out what's in store for visitors to Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair in Nuremberg...
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Never feel like you have enough time at the Nuremberg Toy Fair before you have to catch that direct flight out on the Friday evening?

You’re not the only one, because in response to a raft of requests, in 2012 the show will begin a day earlier than before and doors will open on Wednesday February 1st.

Christian Ulrich, director of marketing, Spielwarenmesse, explains: “We introduced the new date in response to requests from many exhibitors and visitors. These were in favour of starting the fair earlier in the week. Starting now on Wednesday gives them more consecutive work days.”

This year, the show attracted 2,683 exhibitors from 63 countries, with 151 firms making the journey from the UK. Products were displayed to 79,243 visitors from 114 countries, with 1,962 of them UK-based.

Ulrich says these numbers are on track to be repeated in 2012: “The number of applications shows that the toy industry remains convinced in the benefits of joining the world’s largest gathering of toy professionals in 2012 again. We expect approximately the same number of exhibitors and visitors as in 2011.”

Part of the reason for the change in dates is to increase the number of visitors from the UK, giving them more workdays to attend the show.

Ulrich believes the exhibition will be beneficial to UK visitors, for a whole host of reasons: “The range of visitors and products is unique; a third of our 80,000 visitors only attend Nuremberg. Exhibitors come from 63 countries and 727 of them attend no other fair. All in all, there are one million products on show, of which about 70,000 are new; there are also major opportunities for licensees, distributors and merchandisers. There is no other fair as comprehensive as in Nuremberg, including the Toy Fair Special, the Global Toy Conference and the Toy Business Forum.”

Visitors will be able to attend the third Global Toy Conference on February 2nd 2012, where experts will provide an insight into the key theme, Tomorrow’s Toy Industry – Opportunities and Challenges.

“In their various presentations, they will show the direction of development in the consumer goods industry and give tips for successful business in the future,” Ulrich comments.

Interested parties can register at

The key theme for the fair in 2012 is Toys4Teens. Ulrich explains: “Our special focus is on teenagers as a target group and their consumer behaviour. To enable toy retailers to establish an even better rapport with teens, Spielwarenmesse will examine the consumer behaviour of juveniles in a study.”

The results of the study will be presented in the Toys4Teens dedicated area at the central (Mitte) entrance of the show, where exhibitors will present products for 13 to 17 year olds on theme islands.

Finally, the annual ToyAwards will return, highlighting the products which stand out in a range of criteria including play, fun, creativity, degree of innovation and safety.
The award for new products is presented in four categories – Baby and Infant (birth to two years); Pre-school (three to five years); SchoolKids (six to ten years) and Teenager & Family (over ten).


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