Thursday, 25 January 2018

What's happening in the UK toy industry?

That's the question at the London toy fair, where hundreds of suppliers show their newest products and brand extensions to thousands of wholesale and retail buyers. And, of course, the media are invited (but no children). Above, from the Toy Fair Blog, a view of the giant show, which is taking place this week.

The Toy Character Parade is one of the special events that offer a preview of some of the branded characters consumers will see on store shelves later in 2018. In addition, electronic toys are, of course, still amongst the hottest items sought by consumers and, therefore, by retail buyers. Collectable toys are currently popular; also selling well are characters and brands already known to children and parents, such as Pokemon.

The Toy Fair also features a design seminar for students planning a career in the toy industry. Students not only hear from experts, they network with toy firms and design firms to learn more about internships and career possibilities.

As for the toy industry, UK sales of toys decreased a bit in 2017, to £3.4 billion. One reason: the rise of mobile games. Another reason: children spending more time in front of a screen (TV, phone, tablet, laptop). The decrease follows several years of sales increases. Will toy sales increase or decrease in 2018 as parents try to balance the amount of time children spend with screens/mobile games against the time spent playing with other types of toys?