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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A guest article by our cooperation partner China Toy & Juvenile Products Association (CTJPA)

Due to the high competition in traditional retail channels, nowadays, there is a growing number of toy brands are aiming at new consumer groups. They use different marketing strategies like expanding new scenarios, accelerating the diversified and multi-structure construction of sales channels, to achieve new growth through differentiated new channels.

Convenience Store

Stable consumer traffic, high repurchase rate, favoured by young people

Toy products suitable for sale in convenience stores are mainly designer toys and fidget toys, with a small size and a unit price under 50 RMB, such as blind boxes, plastic building blocks, alloy car models,etc.

Many Chinese famous toy brands like Alpha, 52TOYS, Silverlit, Q-man, etc. all treat convenience stores as new channel for toy sales. Starting from 2019, Alpha has begun to focus on the sales channel of convenience stores. It has cooperated with chain convenience store companies such as Family Mart and Hongqi in the East, South and West China markets. In 2019, it has successfully cooperated with over 8,000 convenience stores across the country.

Onmyoji Series Products Sale in CV Store

In 2020, Alpha launched brand new blind box series combined with the “Onmyoji” IP and Q version blind box series products, which were sold through convenience stores and other channels. The sales volume exceeded one million within two months. It only took one month for one million to two million.

Compound Bookstore

High demand to expand the category range, the target audience has a high education level, and easy to sale products.

In order to respond to high online sales and stimulate offline shopping of target groups, a complex bookstore integrating book sales, cultural creation, and catering has emerged and has become a cultural consumption landmark in many cities.

The target audiences of toys and children’s books basically overlap, and they are one of the categories that the owners of compound bookstores focus on expanding. Bookstore owners usually use their own advantages to create a scene-based layout, themed display, etc., so that toy sales can achieve better efforts in this scenario.

Tourism Area

High passenger traffic, strong purchase intention, and focus on cultural and creative attributes

Nowadays, various well-known tourism areas in China have developed their own cultural and creative products, sell these unique products and other peripheral products that conform to the cultural characteristics based on the retail stores which open in each tourism area.

In addition, tourism areas have extremely high passenger traffic, visitors have strong willingness to buy and are suitable for the sale of toy products with certain cultural and creative attributes or theme characteristics.

52Toy Panda Roll Flagship Store at Chengdu

Airport/High Speed Train Station

Large passenger flow, strong purchasing power, high impulse buying factors

The LEGO Group has authorized retailers to set up branded stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Wuxi, Xi’an, Shijiazhuang and other airports across the country to display and sell the latest LEGO products. In terms of the style of the store, it pays attention to the creation of the airport theme, and displays the airport elements through the use of posters printed with the image of the aircraft and the exhibition and sale of aircraft models in prominent locations.

Unmanned retail equipment

Many outlets, strong gameplay, high repurchase rate

With the continuous development of technology, more and more unmanned retail equipment are emerging in popular business districts in various cities, such as claw machines, trendy vending machines, etc. These equipment occupy a small area, easy to install, and have a dense network of outlets. At the same time, because of its strong gameplay and shopping convenience attributes, it is widely accepted by young consumer groups.

Pop Mart Robot Store

According to a financial report conducted by Pop Mart for the first half of 2021 shows that the company’s robot store sales revenue increased from 106 million RMB in the first half of 2020 to 228 million RMB in the first half of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 115.7%. As of June 30, 2021, Pop Mart has a total of 1,477 robot stores, an increase of 476 from the total of 1,001 robot stores as of the same period in 2020.


With the continuous development of the toy industry, various new and cross-border channels continue to emerge. Besides the sales channels introduced above, there are also many new channels that are also being valued by toy brands, such as fashion brand chains, children’s amusement centers, gift shops, mothers baby shops, hotels, etc., have gained new growth in their business in the construction of new consumption scenarios. Which channels will become “dark horses” and bring new growth “blue oceans” to the development of the industry? Let us wait and see!