A successful Spielwarenmesse encourages the toy business


There were great expectations for the 2023 edition of the Spielwarenmesse, the largest and most representative toy fair in the world, after a gap of three long years when the event was cancelled due to the pandemic, and they were met, or even exceeded: although 700 exhibitors were missing as compared with the 2019 show – 2,100 companies from 69 countries participated this year – and visitors dropped by 8% to 58,000 from 128 countries, the German toy exhibition, held for the 72nd time in Nuremberg (February 1-6), was considered a real success by anybody concerned. It is obvious that the war in Ukraine and the compulsory visa for Chinese visitors kept both exhibitors and visitors from several territories away. On the other hand, attendance from the US toy market was higher than ever, growing by almost 10%. Since most international toy markets registered turnover decreases in 2022, the positive feeling that was manifest in the Nuremberg fair halls pointed to better results in 2023.

All the leading companies in the international toy business were present. New products and concepts abounded. A significant shift toward sustainability was on the forefront everywhere. The Toys Go Green area enjoyed great acceptance with its presentation of the sustainability theme in four sections. There was strong focus on one of the three trends selected by the Spielwarenmesse together with the international TrendCommittee, namely Meta Toys, which opens new technological horizons for the toy business. The other trends were Discovery and Brands for Fans.

The usual itinerary through the halls underwent some changes as a few major companies were moved to different locations but those exhibitors eventually expressed satisfaction with the new placement. A survey revealed that 95% of exhibitors rated participation in the event as important or very important, and 92% declared themselves satisfied or very satisfied with the way it went. Christian Ulrich, Spokesperson of the Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse eG, announced that 83% of the exhibitors were already making plans to take part again.

On January 31st, during the Spielwarenmesse Press Preview, six products received the coveted Toy Award: among them, there were EverEarth 7 in 1 Space Activity Cube by Ever Earth Europe (Baby & Infant Category, 0-3 years) and Yummy Bear Scale by Topbright (Preschool Category, 3-6 years). Paw Patrol AR Tattoo & Stickers by Holo Toyz was awarded a Toy Award for the Startup Category. Among the Soft Toys, Wooden Toys and Educational Toys areas, we met a broad selection of products relating to babies and infants. We noticed Montessori-inspired articles for the children’s room, extended employment of eco-friendly materials, wooden outdoor play equipment. Baby and infant toys were exhibited in several other halls of the Spielwarenmesse.

The next Spielwarenmesse’s dates will be announced within the end of February.


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The health crisis and the nursery business

The coronacrisis has caused a dramatic change in our industry. Now the BCMI members report about the current business situation resulting from the coronavirus infection in various countries. Read here in a new series of articles on how industry, retailers and consumers have been affected by the pandemic.

Part 2: China

by Nursery China and May Liang, President of the China Toy and Juvenile Products Asssociation

May Liang

How are nursery producers/distributors in your country doing right now?

“For those nursery producers who do export business, many orders have been postponed and some cancelled because of the pandemic. For producers who focus on the domestic market, however, business hasn’t been affected much.”

How has the behavior of consumers of baby products changed?

“In China, consumer behaviour changed a lot because of the nationwide quarantine. Many consumers shifted their shopping from bricks-and-mortar to the e-commerce channel. Taobao, JD, T-mall are the top three online shopping platforms. Especially during the quarantine time, the sales on JD increased dramatically: since JD has its own shipping system, products can be delivered more on time compared with others.”

What could replace trade exhibitions in our industry this year?

“Due to the pandemic, most trade shows have been cancelled or postponed to the second half of the year. In China, some show organizers start trying digital exhibitions which showcase their exhibitors and products via website or app on Wechat. However, digital exhibition as a new concept received more attention when it was first introduced into the market, while offline trade exhibition is irreplaceable to the industry, because people like to touch and feel the physical products and prefer to talk to each other face to face. Since the situation in China is better now, 2020 China Kids Expo is preparing as planned, to be held from October 21 to 23.”