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 5: Netherlands

Carola Siksma-Ruiters, editor-in-chief of Baby Wereld

Carola Siksma-Ruiters

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

“To everyone’s surprise, sales in the Netherlands have remained stable. Of course, some stores were closed but the loss of sales was compensated with online sales. Some producers/distributors experienced a significant decline in sales. There were worries about delay in deliveries from other countries who had a total lockdown. But we had no panic and, given the circumstances, the expectations are quite optimistic. Overall there is understanding for each other’s position in the crisis and people are willing to cooperate, for example to do joint promotions or agree about new payment terms.”

How has the behavior of consumers of baby products changed?

“Consumers bought more online. The drop in consumer confidence is of some concern. Slight decreases are expected, but the mood is quite positive.”

What could replace trade exhibitions in our industry this year?

“Everybody is very curious to know how big international fairs such as Kind + Jugend will proceed with the government measures, security, social distance, hygiene etc. We expect it will be a European fair only this year. In the Benelux we see that fairs are postponed or will be held in September. Smaller, national fairs will prove more attractive to visit than international fairs because they are less crowded, have more space for a distancing plan, can be reached by car, and offer the possibility to make appointments with clients. This gives people confidence!”