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February 2020 Volume 9 Issue 6

g Toys comin July 2020

Nuremberg Toy Fair J a n . 2 9. – F e b. 0 2. 2 0 2 0 Hall 12.2 / P-19

For appointment contact Malcolm Cook malcolm@mc-international.co.uk Mobile: +44 (0)7770 68 88 58

The Team...

CONTENTS February 2020 Volume 9 Issue 6

John Baulch

14 Licensing World

26 Q&A: The New York Toy Fair

Publisher and Managing Editor john@toyworldmag.co.uk 01442 502 408 07932 651 207

Mark Austin

Sales Director mark@toyworldmag.co.uk 01442 502 405

Anita Baulch

Circulation and Financial Director anita@toyworldmag.co.uk 01442 502 406




05 From the Publisher 06 News 11 Industry Moves 13 Marketing World 14 Licensing World

16 Talking Shop 20 NPD column 22 Viewpoint

26 Q&A: Toy Fair New York

Turn to page 28 to read our special Spring Fair preview section

Contributors The NPD Group | Jonathan Chambers David Ripley | Ruth Clement | Simon McIntosh Mark Buschhaus | Stephen Barnes

Rachael Simpson-Jones Editor rachael@toyworldmag.co.uk 01442 502 406

Blue Sky Designs

Spring Fair Preview section

Lisa Currie

Assistant Editor Lisa@toyworldmag.co.uk 01442 502 406

Mark Crowford

Design and Production Manager markc@toyworldmag.co.uk 01442 502 405

toyworld toy world The business magazine with a passion for toys

Alakat Published by

www.toyworldmag.co.uk @toyworldmag @baulchtweet


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Toy World Magazine

61 Maxted Road, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 7DZ

W from the publisher

John Baulch - @Baulchtweet

elcome to the first-ever standalone February issue of Toy World. With Christmas and New Year now a distant memory, we find ourselves in the midst of the whirlwind that is Toy Fair Season. The Hong Kong trip is already behind us, while the London Toy Fair should be in full swing by the time this issue arrives on your desk. Hopefully you found the time to fully digest our bumper – and I do mean BUMPER – January Toy Fair preview edition before heading down to the show. Thanks for all of your very kind comments about the issue – the team put an immense amount of hard work into ensuring it was not only as comprehensive as possible, but crucially, that it was out on time. Never under-estimate the importance of being the first issue on desks, or of giving readers sufficient time to get through a 300+ page edition – an issue of that size not something you can flick through in a lunch break. While it seems a long time ago now, I hope you all had a splendid Christmas, and that trading lived up to your expectations (whatever they were). An indie owner texted me on the Friday before Christmas to say: “So, this is when Christmas kicks in these days. It will be Christmas Eve next year at this rate.” So yes, it was late, but at least it did kick in eventually; there were some who wondered if Christmas ‘19 ever would reach the levels traditionally expected over the festive season. To what extent the last few days’ business helped to claw back the 9% decline the UK toy industry was facing in early December, we’ll have to wait until NPD releases its year-end data to find out. While everyone in the toy community is naturally fixated on trading numbers in the run-up to Christmas, let us not forget that for many retailers, the week after the big day is almost as important. Although that said, there are indications that the established post-Christmas trading patterns are also changing; official reports suggest that Boxing Day trading was significantly down on last year. Retail data analyst Springboard announced that footfall saw the largest decline since 2011, dropping by 8.6%, suggesting that the Boxing Day opportunity isn’t what it was. Admittedly, the weather was bad, which wouldn’t have helped. But equally, I suspect that online shopping played a major part in the decline, while I also believe that some

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shoppers share my concern at the plight of workers, especially those who had to arrive at 2.30 in the morning for a 4.00 am opening, as Matalan workers were asked to do. I’m sure that the directors and management who came up with that great idea were right there alongside their store staff, opening the doors and manning tills at 4.00 in the morning…not! Springboard reported that more consumers visited high streets in the early evening than during the day, so it looks like Matalan may have got that one completely wrong. However, I completely understand that retailers have to take every opportunity to increase sales in the current climate; wherever the final festive trading numbers end up, I think it’s fair to say that we’re all hoping for a better year in 2020. According to the Centre for Retail Research, over 140,000 jobs were lost on the UK high street last year, an increase of 20% over the previous year. 38,000 roles were lost due to retailers who fell into administration, while a further 26,000 came as a result of CVAs. A further, 78,000 jobs were lost through rationalisation, as part of cost cutting programmes by large retailers or independent shops closing down permanently. When you see those numbers written down in black and white, the enormity of the task facing the retail channel is inescapable. And these are not just statistics; they are real people, many with families who would be potential toy consumers. After a very positive start to Toy Fair Season in Hong Kong (which you can read all about on page 25) and at the London Toy Fair, I look forward to catching up with as many people as possible over the coming weeks – first in Nuremberg, then at Spring Fair and then finally in New York. If you flip this issue over, you’ll be able to read our dedicated Spring Fair preview, focusing on some of the key exhibitors in the toy section (now rebranded as the Play & Tech sector of the show), while this issue also includes a special interview with the Toy Association’s Steve Pasierb and Marian Bossard, to gauge their thoughts ahead of the New York Toy Fair. If we thought the UK had a turbulent 2019, the US toy community arguably had even larger issues to grapple with; thankfully, the US China tariff row appears to have calmed down…for now at least. So, 2020 - a fresh year, a fresh decade, a fresh start. After last year, things can only get better….surely?!

News Asmodee UK to distribute Topps collectibles Topps has announced that it has partnered with Asmodee UK to deliver its popular range of collectibles to retail. Topps has always held Asmodee UK (formerly Esdevium Games) in high regard and developing this relationship is an exciting proposition for all involved. Steve Conner, UK sales director, said: “We could not be happier with the relationship we have with Asmodee. This partnership will open up retail possibilities for both parties and with Asmodee’s strong sales force and commercial focus in toy retail, it’s a winning formula.” Cooperation between Asmodee and Topps’ marketing and sales team will mean that retailers can expect even more exciting marketing and promotional activations. The first of these will be seen at London Toy Fair in January, with staff from both Asmodee and Topps present at the stand to talk about the new Topps range for 2020. Asmodee UK will be distributing the full range of Topps collectibles, including Match Attax, Star Wars, WWE Slam Attax and new collections for Trolls, Minions, SpongeBob SquarePants and I Love Sloths figurines. Contact sales@asmodee.co.uk for more information.

Ethical Toy Program announces global seminars The Ethical Toy Program will be joined by other leaders in sustainability and responsible toy manufacturing for its educational seminars at toy fairs in New York and Nuremberg, which are set to explore global opportunities for managing risks, protecting brand reputations and enhancing the toy supply chain. The seminars will explore current trends and emerging risks and regulations affecting toy manufacturing, as well as presenting opportunities to diversify toy supply chains beyond China in 2020. Nuremberg Seminar: 30th January 2020 | 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (CET) New York Seminar: 24th February 2020 | 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM (EST) Established players in the market and promising start-ups will benefit from the seminars, which offer a unique opportunity to learn from global experts on responsible toy sourcing. Seminar topics will cover: • Responsible manufacturing opportunities outside of China, with a focus on Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia • How to conform to emerging legislation impacting the global toy industry, such as Modern Slavery legislation or Germany’s draft Sustainable Value Chain Law • Latest updates and responsible sourcing trends all toy companies need to be aware of The seminars will start with a keynote from Ethical Toy Program President and CEO Carmel Giblin, followed by a panel discussion from representatives from toy brands, retailers and licensors operating globally including Spin Master, The Character Group and toy associations Toy Industries of Europe (TIE) and the Southeast Asian Toy Association (SEATA). Attendees will then have the opportunity to post questions to the panel in a 15-minute Q&A, and can register for both seminars at www.eventbrite.co.uk.

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New for 2020 Exciting additions to the PlayfoamÂŽ range

T h e E ve r l a s t i n g S q u i s h




20 0 2 r


020 2 r

New f

New f


020 2 r

News Mattel launches Cloudees Mattel has created Cloudees to bring together the most popular trends in girls collectibles including unboxing, surprise elements, water transformation, magical animals and mix & match accessories. There are 28 little and large pals to collect in each wave, with new waves set to drop throughout the year. Two different scales are available at launch; for every Cloudees pet there’s a matching Cloudees Minis pet, with 28 to collect in series 1, wave 1. To enjoy Cloudees, kids add water to the large cloud case and shake it to create a soft and fluffy cloud, within which is contained a Cloudees character and six surprises. Cloudees pets come from seven different weather-themed lands; Raindrop Village, Stormyville, Sunnyland, Starry Way, Rainbow Point, Snowflake Hills and Windy Way. Characters include Breezy Koala, Frolicking Unicorn, Prancy Poodle and Dapper Sloth, plus rare characters which can be seen on the included collectors’ sheet. Each character comes with accessories including a fluffy attachable cloud tail, two storytelling accessories and a key chain which lets collectors take their cloud case and character with them on the go. The lid of the cloud case works as a base, so kids can display their new pet. Cloudees will launch with a 360-degree marketing plan that includes a comprehensive TV campaign, top tier influencers, digital and PR.

Cartamundi completes United States Playing Card Company acquisition Privately-owned Belgian group Cartamundi has announced the completion of the acquisition of The United States Playing Card Company (USPC). This acquisition marks the addition of the iconic Bicycle, Bee, Hoyle and Fournier brands to the Cartamundi portfolio and is in line with the company’s strategy to strengthen its role as a key player in the global entertainment industry. “This is an exciting time for Cartamundi,” said Stefaan Merckx, CEO. “The addition of USPC immediately allows us to take advantage of growing playing card sales in the US. USPC’s leading position in Spain is highly complementary to Cartamundi’s European footprint and fits perfectly with our plans for strategic growth.” The United States Playing Card Company employs over 350 staff and has manufacturing facilities in the US city of Erlanger (Kentucky) and the Spanish city of Vitoria (Àlava). In 2018, USPC realised net sales of approximately 112m US dollars. As he prepared to assume membership on the Cartamundi executive committee, USPC CEO Michael Slaughter added: “Our commitment to delighting consumers, cardists, magicians and casino players with world-class quality remains our mission.”

Rubik’s signs new deal with Spin Master’s Perplexus Puzzle brand In a new deal brokered by The Smiley Company, master licensee for the Rubik’s Cube, Rubik’s will team up with Spin Master’s Perplexus Puzzle brand to create a new twist on the best-selling toys. Together the companies will develop a co-branded Rubik’s x Perplexus range, which will feature 3D ballin-a-maze puzzle and labyrinth toy. By twisting and turning the cube, players attempt to manoeuvre a small steel ball through an intricate maze composed of a number of steps along narrow plastic tracks. The result creates the ultimate Rubik’s Cube puzzle and maze, adding in another level of fun and making the Cube even more challenging than before. Speaking about the new launch, Lori Heiss-Tiplady, VP brand strategy at The Smiley Company, said: “Perplexus has become famous for its ingenious sculptural designs and various levels of challenge. These values are perfectly aligned with those that have made the Rubik’s Cube the best-selling toy in history. We are committed to extending the brain-boosting credentials of the Rubik’s brand by partnering with world-class companies, like Spin Master, who share our goal of nurturing smarter future generations through products that help to learn, boost intelligence and evolve Rubik’s STEM accreditation status.” Perfect for giving kids a head start on STEM without a screen, the range of new games is currently in development with the first product set for launch in Spring 2020 and additional toys earmarked to roll out soon after.

Howleys Toymaster to open new branch in Devon The new Howleys Toymaster store will be located at 18-20 Torbay Road, Paignton, Devon, TQ4 6AF, and will stock a range of toys and kids’ products carefully tailored to the needs of local customers. Pete Healey, manager of Howley’s Weymouth, told Toy World: “We’re really looking forward to opening our new store in Paignton, Devon, which will join the other branches in our portfolio in Bridport, Dorchester and Weymouth. Although they have the same basic structure, each shop is individual to the town it’s situated in. We find that trends in one town don’t necessarily translate to others, so this is the best approach for us. We feel that Paignton will be our flagship branch, and we’re confident that we can operate it in a way that suits the town and its customer demographic down to the ground. The store will open with a soft launch in early February, with a major launch during half-term with plenty of exciting things to look forward to in-store. At the moment we have to keep details under wraps, but it’ll be well worth the wait.”

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News Obituary: Paul Cassidy Clive Jones, honorary secretary at The Fence Club, has written the following words about his friend and colleague: "I am very sorry to inform you that Paul Cassidy passed away on 6th January after a short illness battling cancer. Paul was one of the nicest and most genuine people in the toy industry. He always enjoyed trade fairs and meeting up with customers and competitors, many of whom became very good friends. Paul joined the family firm of Cassidy Brothers created by his father Tom and his uncle Joe in 1963, aged 16. He began his career as a tool maker at the Marton Tool Company, a subsidiary of Cassidy Brothers Ltd. From 1970 to 1972, Paul a was tool maker at Jo Stamm KG in West Germany. In 1972 Paul returned to Cassidy brothers and steadily climbed the ladder to the board room. He was managing director for many years and was Chairman for the last 20 years, following in his father’s footsteps. Cassidy Brothers became a public company in the late 1980s and a few years ago Paul took the company private again. Paul joined the BTHA Council in 1999 and was a director until a few years ago. Paul was also a director of the Harrogate Fair. He joined the board in 1996 and was actually the current chairman. Paul joined the Fence Club in 1987 and was the club's treasurer for 10 years. The Fence Club meant a great deal to Paul, and he was very proud to become an honorary member in November 2015. Our thoughts at this very sad time are with Paul's wife Lynda, their children, Jane, Phillip and Peter, and their 10 grandchildren.”

The Entertainer’s Big Toy Rehoming Campaign returns The Entertainer has announced the return of its hugely successful initiative, The Big Toy Rehoming campaign, in partnership with The Salvation Army. The initiative aims to reduce the number of toys that could find their way into landfill by giving toys no longer played with a new lease of life, whilst aiming to support the 4.1m underprivileged children living in poverty across the country via The Salvation Army. Thanks to generous donations from customers in June and September 2019, The Entertainer rehomed 16,000 toys, weighing in excess of 10,500 kilos. Amersham, the birthplace of The Entertainer, generated the most donations with a total of 481 toys donated in September. Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer, said: “We are incredibly proud to announce the return of The Big Toy Rehoming campaign alongside The Salvation Army. Last year was a phenomenal success and we hope to continue to increase the number generous donations we receive for 2020, especially as families look to declutter their homes after Christmas and make room for their new toys and games.” The campaign will run until the 31st January across the 172 The Entertainer stores in the UK. To find out more, visit www.thetoyshop.com/bigtoyrehoming.

Jenny Wren Toys closes after a decade of business The popular Castle Douglas shop has closed its doors after 10 years of trading on King Street. Jenny Wren Toys recently served its last customers and closed down the business. Owner Ken Gouge is retiring and has decided not to renew his lease with the property owner. “I want to retire and did not want to take another lease out." Ken said, “I had hoped to sell it as a going concern, but nobody was interested. It’s a shame because it’s a real gem and customers are very sad that we are closing." Ken is upbeat about the town’s prospects, especially since two new shops have recently opened. He adds that whoever takes over his shop will also thrive as King Street is a popular shopping destination in southern Scotland. He added: “We have had tremendous support from the town over the years and the local people have been wonderful with all their messages of support. It’s been a huge joy having the shop and I would like to thank all our customers over the years. We are really going to miss them and being here in the town.”

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News B&M reports record peak season sales In an update for the 13 week period to 28th December 2019, the discount retailer reported total group revenues of £1.19b compared to £1.09b the prior period. The B&M, Heron and Babou brands all enjoyed sales growth, while Jawoll's income dipped slightly from £55.3m to £53m. At the end of the quarter, the B&M UK stores business had 657 trading sites, having opened 15 gross new outlets. Heron Foods is now trading from 295, with the pipeline of launches for the next financial year 'looking healthy'. Chief executive Simon Arora said: "Overall the business delivered a good quarter operationally. Costs were well controlled and, combined with our usual strong focus on cash gross margins, yielded a profitable outcome. I would like to thank our teams across all our fascias for their hard work in delivering the biggest ever Golden Quarter for the B&M Group.

Moose Toys donates $100,000 to Australian wildfire relief effort and pledges more

Sainsbury's sales fall as Argos toy sales disappoint Sainsbury's has reported a disappointing set of sales results for the last quarter 2019, a period which includes the pivotal Christmas and Black Friday trading spells. While grocery sales have edged higher YoY, up 0.4%, total retail sales (excluding fuel) were down 7% in the 15 weeks to 4th January. Over 20% of sales originated online, with total online sales growing more than 5% year-on-year. Argos outperformed the market in consumer electronics for the period and enjoyed its biggest ever Black Friday for sales of digital products, however General Merchandise sales overall slipped by 3.9% YoY, with the toy and gaming categories in decline. The company reported that it experienced customers buying fewer toys and saw no big gaming release in 2019 to boost sales. The company maintained that, although the market remains highly competitive and the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain, it was well placed to navigate the external environment and was executing well against its strategy. Chief executive Mike Coupe said: "We delivered a standout performance operationally. Argos had its biggest digital Black Friday to date and record sales through mobile and via Argos Click and Collect; 32m customers shopped with us across Sainsbury's and Argos in the key Christmas week."

Reacting to the devastating wildfires sweeping across Australia, Australian-owned Moose Toys announced that it would be making a substantial donation to the relief efforts taking place in the country, including State Fire Authorities and Animal Welfare organisations. In a post on LinkedIn, the company stated: "Like all Australians, watching these devastating fires rage through our beautiful country is heart-breaking. Hearing of the loss of lives, homes, and wildlife is unfathomable and leaves us with such a sense of helplessness. Our hearts are with all of those affected. Our team members are banding together to donate to some truly awe-inspiring charities, which Moose will be matching dollar for dollar their donations. We, as a company, have donated $100,000 to help with the relief effort and will be donating ALL profits from the Little Live Pets product sales in Australia across the month of January. Whilst the above will help towards the immediate relief needs, we know the road ahead is a long one and as a proudly Australian company we are committed to the long-term recovery. We look forward to sharing these plans with you in the coming months."

Squishable announces partnership with Bertoy Squishable, the popular US-based plush manufacturer, is partnering with Bertoy, commencing this month, to bring its products to Europe. Bertoy will serve as the official distributor for Squishable animals and comfort food soft toys for most European nations and the United Kingdom. Squishables are available in over 2,000 toy and gift stores in the US and Canada, with more than 3m sold worldwide. The company's classic round plush animal line continues to be a core feature of the speciality and department store market, and its popular Comfort Food line offers bestsellers like Sushi, Carrots, Pizza and even fuzzy Cappuccinos and Dumplings. Bertoy will be launching the range at Spring Fair (Hall 5, L28). To receive further information please email service@bertoy.com or contact UK country manager Philip Morris on 07748 150906.

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Industry Moves

indie viewpoint

New appointments strengthen sales and marketing teams at Ravensburger Ravensburger has made three new appointments, boosting both the sales and marketing teams. Anne Kidgell, Hayley Holland and Paula Haddy join Ravensburger in the ninth consecutive year of growth for the company. Anne joins the sales team as national account manager. She re-joins the toy trade following 11 years spent in the confectionery Anne Kidgel industry, including seven years at  Kinnerton and a role with industry giant, Ferrero, where she managed a portfolio of high street accounts. Prior to this, Anne spent nine years in the sales team at Mattel. Anne will report to head of sales, Derek Scott. “We’re delighted to have Anne on board at Ravensburger,” said Derek, “This is our ninth consecutive year of growth and Anne’s experience Hayley Holland will be invaluable as we continue to build on that momentum through 2020.” Reinforcing the marketing team, Hayley joins Ravensburger as marketing and product development assistant, while Paula takes on the role of customer services advisor. Both new additions to the team will report to head of department, Katy Fletcher.

Orange Tree Toys unveils latest appointment Alisa Holland has joined the Orange Tree Toys team as area sales manager for the company's Northern territories. Alisa is an experienced sales manager with extensive knowledge of the territory, and the team at Orange Tree has said it is delighted to welcome her to the company. Mike Hartshorn, head of sales, commented: "Now is a really exciting time for Alisa to be joining our team, with some fabulous new ranges planned for 2020 including two new Orange Tree Toy concepts and a brand new Classic Pooh collection being added to our Disney portfolio. Alisa will be at the London Toy Fair in January, where Orange Tree will be returning after a few years absence (Stand E45), and at the Spring Fair in February (Stand 5H44)."

Mark Buschhaus and Stephen Barnes Toy Barnhaus

Fart dealers


s we write this, we are well and truly into the New Year. Christmas has passed, the kids have gone back to school, and it is the calm before we all start again at Toy Fair in a couple of weeks.

December turned out to be a challenging end to the year, although we were happy where we ended up. After a strong Black Friday, there was a noticeable lull in the first two weeks of December. Trade picked up again in the final week or so, although not enough to make up completely for earlier in the month. After Christmas, Boxing Day was slower than usual, although that was mainly down to the weather. However, the 27th December was very busy, and that continued until the kids went back to school. We got the impression that they received more money and vouchers this year, as we had a lot used after Christmas. Reviewing Christmas as a whole, it has not been the easiest, however we have always been realists and acknowledge that you cannot keep growing all year, every year. Christmas 2018 was very strong, and although we were a bit behind that in 2019, when you look at it over the two years, we are about level, which is pleasing. A lot of the national chains have been releasing their Christmas trading statements; a few have said that the lack of any really hot new toys suppressed the market in 2019 and we would agree with that. However, there were several bright spots for us. L.O.L. was still massive, even though there was a bit more price competition in the market this year. The key with L.O.L. now is to keep up with the new lines, as constant innovation and freshness is key to driving sales going forward. Another line that we have mentioned before but was fantastic for us was Fart Ninjas from Funrise. We were selling hundreds a week in the run up to Christmas, and they were a popular choice as a stocking filler. In fact, smaller lines have underpinned a lot of our sales; our best performing area year on year was pocket money toys. Whether it was people trading down a bit, or just wanting some extra stocking fillers, it was a great category. Our best seller, partly thanks to the Phillip Schofield programme, was stretchy poo, closely followed by whoopee cushions, and a game from Tobar called Fishing for Floaters was another top seller. Anything related to bodily functions always seems to sell well. Pocket money is an area that is easier to buy physically in shops, rather than online. It’s a complex category to stock and an area that independents tend to be very strong in. We’ve certainly found it very successful. By the time you read this, we will be looking ahead to Spring Fair. This is a key date in our diary, and we think it’s always worth a visit for toy retailers. We find it a less intense show than Toy Fair; we give ourselves more time to look around and less appointments. It’s a good chance to catch up with those suppliers who are not at Toy Fair. We enjoy the opportunity to explore suppliers who sell non- toy products, such as dress-up, lunch bags and bottles, stationery etc. – we’re always on the lookout for something completely different that may work well in store. That is the joy of a show, you never know what you are going to see!

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Opinion Running the rule over 2019 toys & games media investment Jonathan looks at the use of varying media touchpoints for brand campaigns across 2019, to determine what trends marketers should be aware of as they assess their media planning going forwards.


019 felt, at times, like a watershed moment for the toys and games advertising market. Confidence in TV continued to dwindle, whilst marketers searched for innovation to combat intensely tough sales conditions. However, in reality, did all that much really change? TV has long been the most used media channel for reaching children’s audiences, owing to its ability to deliver high reach in the shortest timeframe – and, for the time being at least, requiring the lowest cost. However viewing figures in recent years have dented market confidence, and 2019 did not buck this trend. During the peak Oct-Nov period, children aged 4-9 watched an average of 8.5 hours of TV per week (commercial and non-commercial, kids and non-kids). This is a 12% decrease year-on-year. Interestingly, there is now no difference between boys and girls of this age, following a year in which girls’ viewing declined at over twice the rate of boys when it comes to average viewing time (-11% vs. -5%). However, when analysing the children’s commercial channels, the impact of migration to other platforms, notably YouTube, is most apparent. Year-on-year, the supply of children’s (4-15) commercial impacts to advertisers decreased by 19% (full year), with girls aged 4-9 once again the heaviest hit (-26%). There were some success stories to report, which highlight the continuing strength of linear TV – reach. Looking at the crucial October-November period, both Pop and CITV grew their children’s commercial impacts by 10% and 21% respectively, meaning the two channels represented 30% of all commercial impacts within the competitive set. It is little coincidence that these two channels increased year-on-year whilst also being available Free to Air (FTA). As households migrate away from expensive subscription TV services (Sky, Virgin, etc.) in favour of lower cost subscription VOD (Netflix, Amazon, etc.), children’s access to channels such as Nick, Cartoon Network and Disney Jr decreases. This leaved them with FTA channels as their only means of accessing specific children’s content on linear. It’s worth noting that Milkshake, also FTA, declined by only 4% YoY compared to the double-digit market average. The strength of FTA channels therefore meant that they should have been fundamental cornerstones of the majority of linear TV campaigns in 2019, and certainly will be in 2020. So if TV viewing was in evident decline, did advertiser spending follow suit? The answer is multi-faceted, and draws some interesting conclusions compared to what might be considered common consensus. In total, we estimate that TV spend by toys and games advertisers declined by 4.3% in the UK (full year, 2019 versus 2018). This was driven by a 5.5% reduction in investment in children’s commercial channels (c.£2.7m) Conversely, deployment on non-kids’ channels increased by an estimated 2.2% (c.£200k) as children’s channels were unable to accommodate market demand. Advertiser demand for TV was spearheaded by the majority of the top 5 manufactures (according to NPD). Spin Master (+10.1%), Hasbro (+6.3%), MGA (+9.4%) and Mattel (+4.5%) all increased their number of children equivalent TVRs year-on-year. Hasbro’s investment strategy demonstrated a particular confidence in TV, with the volume of children equivalent TVRs deployed across Oct-Nov 2019 increasing by a significant 52.9% YoY. Does this indicate a reduction in digital media investment, having been one of the first UK advertisers to adopt this market to a significant degree? When looking at the total toys and games market however, we would suggest not. Compared to 2018, we estimate that the investment share in digital media has increased from 16% to 19% (with TV, inc. VOD, accounting for 78%).

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2018 Other 4%

Dig. 6%

YouTube 10%

Jonathan Chambers Director of AV Investment, Generation Media. Tel: 0207 307 7906 Jonathan.Chambers@generationmedia.co.uk

2018 Other 4%

Dig. 6%

VOD 2% YouTube 10%

VOD 2%

TV 78%

TV 78%

2019 Dig. 6%

YouTube 13%

Dig. 6%

Other 3%


Other 3%

YouTube 13%

VOD 3%

VOD 3%

TV TV 75% 75%

Investment share in digital media

The majority of this growth is likely to have been from YouTube in line with children’s viewing habits. Giraffe Insight’s Kids and the Screen research reports that YouTube (excluding YouTube Kids) now accounts for 17% of all viewing occasions, compared to 14% in 2018 (2-12 year olds). We estimate however that YouTube spend does not yet match its viewing share, representing 13% of the UK media market in 2019. Cost remains a major factor, as whilst it is undoubtedly more affordable for advertisers YoY, it comes at a premium compared to TV outside of Q4. But what about 2020? YouTube will very likely grow its share of viewing again, but whether investment follows remains to be seen. The changes necessitated by the FTC ruling will have an impact on how YouTube channels monetise their content, but in the short term this is unlikely to have an effect on the cost of advertising. It might however decrease the appeal of the medium for advertisers on a global level who look to distance themselves from any potential brand safety scandals.

So what should marketers be on the lookout for in 2020, considering TV and YouTube, as per their focus in the above, will retain the largest share of investment? Cinema had a fantastic year in 2019 following Disney’s domination of the UK and global box office, and whilst the slate of releases is promising in 2020, it is unlikely to reach the same heights as last year. So how about Netflix? Increased competition from Apple, Disney+ and HBO (amongst others) may mean it will consider advertising solutions to supplement declining revenues. Or should cross media partnerships be at the heart of campaign planning, utilising talent and IP owned by media supply partners to hit audiences in multiple touchpoints with a consistent and affiliated message. The answer will of course be unique to each and every project, so to find out what will best suit the needs of your brands do not hesitate to get in touch.

Marketing World Hornby celebrates 100th anniversary The brand, which has been producing model locomotives since 1920, is celebrating its centenary with a range of anniversary products which have been produced to celebrate each decade of the last century. The products will be supplied in bespoke packaging to reflect how they appeared in that era, and each will be a limited edition. From tinplate locomotives to diecast vehicles, and complete train sets to gold plated locomotives, there is something that will appeal to all model railway enthusiasts. Alongside the range of products will be a whole host of marketing activities, including a golden ticket campaign and a Hornby Memories vlog including interviews with some of Hornby’s most dedicated customers as well as a ‘Trip Down Memory Lane’ with some of Hornby’s most long-standing staff members. Pulling the anniversary together and framing the 100 years campaign is the Lifetime’s Journey, a short film showing the life of an enthusiast with a passion for Hornby trains. Hornby reported a successful Christmas trading period, with the success of new product launches resulting in sales and profit margins continuing to be ahead of last year. The company has also secured an increase to the loan provided by its largest shareholder, Phoenix Asset Management. Phoenix had originally lent the firm £6m to invest in technology and product development for the coming year; this has now been increased to £9m. More details about Hornby’s anniversary celebrations, as well as the complete 2020 product range, can be found at www.hornby.com.

Learning Resources teams up with Butlin's for Science Lab workshops Learning Resources has teamed up with Butlin’s to offer pre-schoolers fun science lab and STEM adventures exclusively on its Just for Tots breaks. Kicking off in March 2020, kids can join the Redcoat Professors in the Butlin’s Science Lab and learn how to make a raisin dance and other engaging experiments, using Learning Resources’ Primary Science madefor-kids lab equipment. They will also look the part with Primary Science lab coats and goggles. The child-friendly experiments have been developed by Learning Resources’ experts to introduce young minds to scientific thinking concepts like inquiry and observation, through easy-to-follow chemistry and physics activities. Dennis Blackmore, MD and founder of Learning Resources said: "Learning Resources has created educational toys that parents and children have loved for over 25 years. Our goal is to nurture children’s natural curiosity and capacity to learn through play. Butlin’s Just for Tots Science Lab workshops offer us the chance to combine what we love best: inspiring curious young minds and creating experiences we hope will inspire a lifelong love of learning and discovery.” The Butlin’s Science Lab activities are ideal for children under five and exclusive to the Just for Tots breaks. The first round of workshops will start in March 2020 and will be available at all three resorts (Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness) through the year and again in 2021. University Games will also present one of its largest marketing campaigns in forty years to relaunch Subbuteo, a classic football game loved by generations of UK families.

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Licensing World

Frozen II surpasses first movie to become biggest animated film ever Frozen II surpassed sales of its predecessor Frozen in its seventh week of release, becoming the highest-grossing animated film ever. Frozen II generated $11.3m in ticket sales in the US, to help reach a global gross of $1.33b, which puts the sequel ahead of the original film’s $1.28b global gross, Comscore reported. Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck returned to direct the sequel, again following the adventures of Anna and Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell) as they embark outside the kingdom of Arendelle to uncover the secrets of their past. The voice cast also includes Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Sterling K. Brown and Evan Rachel Wood. Despite the success of the franchise, Jennifer Lee has told media she was “very surprised” by the milestone. “I’m really excited. I think we’re always surprised,” she commented on hearing the news.

Sesame Street continues its 50th anniversary celebrations with new shows and products

Hasbro completes acquisition of eOne Valued at approximately £2.9b, the acquisition was signed off at the end of December. Hasbro chairman and CEO, Brian Goldner, commented: “We are excited about what we can do together and see tremendous opportunity for shareholder value creation through this acquisition. Our businesses are highly complementary with substantial synergies and a great cultural fit. The addition of eOne accelerates our blueprint strategy by expanding our brand portfolio with eOne’s beloved global pre-school brands, adding proven TV and film expertise, and creating additional opportunities for long-term profitable growth. We are pleased to welcome the incredibly talented eOne team to our company.” Hasbro also expects to redeem eOne’s outstanding senior secured notes and to settle outstanding debts under eOne’s revolving credit facility. Combined, this represents approximately £0.6b of eOne’s indebtedness. Darren Throop, president and chief executive officer of eOne, will now report to Brian Goldner. Former eOne colleagues Olivier Dumont, president, Family & Brands, Steve Bertram, president, Film & Television, and Chris Taylor, global president, Music, will also be joining Hasbro and will report to Darren.

Following the debut of Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck on Tiny Pop, Elmo is back in the UK with the all-new reimagined Elmo’s World, which launched on January 1st. Tiny Pop featured Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas in its holiday line up and included the brand in its Christmas Advent calendar promotion. Supporting the TV broadcast, Sesame Street’s licensing agent in the UK, Bulldog Licensing is accelerating growth for the property with a range of items that include home goods, apparel, accessories and toy lines. Master toy partner Sambro has introduced two new Elmo feature plush lines; the Tickle Me Elmo in special anniversary packaging, featuring a commemorative patch, and Tickle & Roll Elmo. Other licensing highlights include a pan-European agreement with Rubie’s for adult, kids, and pet dress up and accessories – all launching in autumn 2020. Famous Forever will be introducing Sesame Street t-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts for men and women in spring/summer. Louis Kennedy will produce Chilly’s co-branded reusable water bottles, available online in the Spring. A portion of the purchase will be donated to Sesame Workshop’s Yellow Feather Fund. In Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary year, Ed Wells, Sesame Workshop’s SVP and head of international media and education, was invited to Kids Content London to deliver a keynote on how Sesame Street has stayed vital and ahead of the curve. On February 3rd, it’s Elmo’s birthday and fans can expect to see new social media content, contests and more, while in March, Elmo will be touring London with visits to landmarks and special appearances.

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New Wizarding World exhibition to open at the Natural History Museum The new exhibition and BBC One documentary have been produced in collaboration with Warner Bros and BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit. Hosted in the museum's Waterhouse Gallery, visitors will encounter magical specimens such as an Erumpent horn and the dragon skull from Professor Lupin's classroom, next to specimens and historic objects from the museum's world-leading scientific collection. Spellbinding digital installations and iconic Wizarding World elements from the Fantastic Beasts film series will add a touch of magic to the exhibition, while Magizoologist Newt Scamander, who made his first appearance in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will help educate visitors as they make their way around. BBC One will also produce a special, one-off documentary, Fantastic Beasts: A Natural History, presented by Stephen Fry. Footage from the BBC Natural History Unit’s extensive treasure trove of archive content, alongside scenes from the Fantastic Beasts franchise, will show how closely real-world animals, mythological creatures and Wizarding World beasts are intertwined. The exhibition opens in spring 2020 and will run for seven months before embarking on an international tour. New and existing members of the Natural History Museum will have guaranteed, free entry throughout the exhibition.

Venetia Davie joins ViacomCBS Consumer Products ViacomCBS Consumer Products (VCP) has announced Venetia Davie’s appointment as vice president, UK and Ireland. She began the role in January and reports to Mark Kingston, senior vice president, International, VCP. In her new role, Venetia will lead VCP’s UK and Ireland business, managing the London-based team and overseeing local relationships with key VCP partners. Additionally, she will be responsible for both developing promotional partnerships and leading local VCP retail sales and marketing divisions across the two markets. Venetia previously held several senior roles at leading media company, DC Thompson. Most recently, she led DC Thompson’s acquisition of Petit Collage, a children’s toy and gifting company, and was managing director at Petit Collage in 2017. She also served in leadership positions at DC Thompson’s other brands, Wild & Wolf and Parragon Book Publishing, where her roles spanned Children’s and Licensed Publishing, Global New Business Development, International Sales, and Gifting. In addition, she previously held senior publishing roles at Mattel and Harper Collins.

Trends UK to launch and distribute new Nerf Bunkr Range Trends UK has been named as the official distributor of the Nerf Bunkr range. Multiple sets will be available from spring 2020, including the Nerf Bunkr Take Cover assortment offering single obstacles such as the Toxic Barrel and Traffic Cone. The hero item is the Nerf Bunkr Competition Pack featuring four urban themed obstacles including the Road Barrier, Tyre Stack, Wood Crate and Waste Barrel. Nerf blaster fans of all ages will love the fast and easy game field setups and the integrated gameplay and skill development with the included Nerf Bunkr Game Cards. Graham Spark, sales director at Trends UK commented: “We are thrilled to launch the Nerf Bunkr range of inflatable blaster game field obstacles. This is a fantastic opportunity for consumers and retailers alike who support the Nerf brand, and we look forward to working with our partners at Wind Designs to make sure everyone is ready for the spring 2020 launch.”

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Talking Shop

How was it for you? Always looking keep its finger firmly on the pulse of the UK toy industry, this month’s Talking Shop aims to provide a reflection of the current mood from a variety of retailers up and down the country. We asked one simple question – How was Christmas for you? – and while one retailer declined to take part, stating that ‘they would have to be too negative’, all others reported a positive trading period and an optimistic outlook coming into 2020. Read on to find out more.

Benjamin Rowling - Wigwam Toys, Brighton Portadown We topped off what had been a great year with the launch our new website, which substantially increased our sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Trading was strong for Wigwam Toys during the final few months of 2019; we noticed that people started buying their presents a lot earlier than normal. The best-selling lines were mostly retro toys; the 35th Anniversary My Little Ponies, the Fisher Price Classic Chatter Telephone and Pound Puppies, which made a comeback last year, all performed well, along with the perennial favourite Sylvanian Families.

Our performance over Christmas was better than we expected. Our new website has almost doubled what we were previously selling, though that did mean there was the odd time when we were selling more online than we were in the shop itself. All in all, the whole festive period was fantastic. Usually we just have one member of staff overseeing the shop at a time, but we were so inundated with sales and orders that it took three of us to cope with all the customers, wrapping and delivery of toys. It’s been a very positive start to 2020 and we’re looking forward to a great year.

Joel Meyer-Nicholas - Toyville, Bristol

Dave Middleton - Midco Toys, multiple locations

Christmas was pretty manic for us, with the period up 25% on last year. This is our fourth Christmas and we’ve been growing every year. At the start of November, we moved our shop just across the road to a more prominent location with higher footfall. We’ve now got lots of new customers who previously didn’t know we even existed. It’s a bigger store too, which allows room for better ranging, more products and a more enjoyable shopping experience. One of our biggest best-sellers for Christmas was the Hape Magic Touch Piano; we were lucky enough to get more of those in than first anticipated, which was good for business. Board games and puzzles sell so fast that we can’t keep them in stock. Anything award-winning, like Code Names, Azul, Dobble and Ticket to Ride, as well as Haba kids’ games including Dragon’s Breath and Valiant Vikings, is popular with our customers. Although we’re always growing, the big jump in Christmas sales was a nice surprise. I didn’t think we had the capacity to do it, but we did – although it was hard work. We’re moving into the New Year on solid footing.

Christmas was really last minute, not kicking in properly until around the 20th December. The period immediately after was as good as, if not better than Christmas in terms of both footfall and basket spend. December started off OK; we were flat up until the election, but the week after the election result was terrible – we went backwards. Sales then kicked in a week later, and from then right up until Christmas our shops were heaving. This carried right through to around the 6th January; it seems a lot of kids had money to spend. For us, Lego, Funko, Pokémon and L.O.L. Surprise! were the best-sellers. Lego sales were spread across licensed and generic midrange sets, which we’ve always done well with. We definitely noticed a lack of urgency with Christmas shopping this year. There was no panic at all. Usually we’re inundated with parents frantically trying to find this, that or the other, but we just didn’t have that this year. The product being asked for the most was Pictionary Air. It had been selling steadily for us, but after it appeared on Phillip Schofield’s How To Spend It Well At Christmas sales went through the roof and it sold out. I feel much more optimistic about 2020 than I did in mid-December, when sales were so slow we were beginning to wonder whether Christmas would happen at all. This year will be good, but we really need a trend or craze, something new that will drive people through the door. Customers need something to hunt down.

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Julia Wingate - The Trading Post, Kingsbridge Christmas was very good for us; we had a decent number of shoppers through the door in early in December, then a brief lull, followed by a really busy final 10 days of trading. We’re significantly up on last year, which is great. There was no single standout best-seller, and this brought shoppers back to the basics. As a result, we did well with classics like board games, Lego, Playmobil and Sylvanian Families. We sold a lot of Dobble, Scrabble, Connect 4, Monopoly (which I would have thought everyone had already!) and Cluedo. Big Potato games proved popular, including OK Play and Weird Things Humans Search For, as did titles from Green Board Games. We saw a good spread across Lego and Playmobil, with licensed and generic sets alike evidently a popular choice. The Star Wars and Disney Frozen II ranges from Lego sold well, alongside Lego City and Hidden Side. Spending in November was cautious, but the outcome of the General Election seems to have provided some clarity and confidence, meaning our customers were at last happy to get on with shopping for Christmas as they normally would. As a town, we’re very proactive in getting people to shop locally and be mindful where they spend their money. The community here has been very responsive to that; the messaging has proved effective and has definitely helped the town centre remain relevant and successful.

Lee and Sarah Borastero - Kids Stuff Wells Christmas 2019 started off rather slowly, before gathering momentum when our lovely customers decided that if they couldn’t buy it in our little city of Wells, they weren’t travelling to Bath or Bristol for it (#ShopLocal). We obviously had the right stock in, as we didn’t have many disappointed customers, only those looking for Lego Harry Potter and Star Wars advent calendars as we had sold out of them by late October. We had some independent exclusive offers in store from Playmobil, Lego and Orchard Toys that had the internet giants beaten on price. With no need to wait around at home for deliveries, and the tempting offer of a free carrier bag, the customers were sold - just pick it up off the shelf and go. This year we were amazed by the amount good old-fashioned board games like Mousetrap, Cluedo, Twister, Buckaroo and Frustration that we sold. We sold out of classic Dobble, Harry Potter Dobble, Cobra Paw, Ticket to Ride London and Banagrams too, all from Asmodee. Spirograph was other firm favourite; they always say the old ones are the best. Traditional and retro toys from Basic Fun were popular too.  All in all, Christmas 2019 ended on a very positive note. Bring on 2020!

Bhav Patel - Toy Galaxy

Jason Mahy - Aladdin’s Cave

In general, Christmas trading ended very well, though it did get off to a slow start. We believe this was partly to do with Black Friday being later; many people kickstart their Christmas shopping once these big national sales and promotions have begun, and this didn’t really happen until the first week of December, so pushed everything back. The slow start in December was an initial worry, but as we approached week two and three we saw increased footfall on the high street, which grew further in the last few days before the 25th. This happens when pre-Christmas deliveries for online orders come to a close. Those last few days really picked us back up again, but there is no doubt it was a tougher period than in the past, and I don’t think the political uncertainty at the time helped. But there are always positives to be granted when confronted with a negative - and things only got better. L.O.L! remained a strong range across the festive trading period and its popularity meant we sold out of some lines. Lego was also a success; we had a new Boxing Day release which helped boost sales and attract customers, since the new items were not available elsewhere.

Christmas shopping trends seem to have changed quite considerably over recent years. October used to be a busy month, but we see more and more customers holding off now until late November when Black Friday hits. Early December was also quieter than we would have liked, but the last two weeks was crazy, as usual. Overall, we had a reasonable year with footfall, boosted by our café which opened in 2018. I think we are beginning to see consumers waking up to their impact on the eco-system. Sales of rolls of brown paper, for example, have increased dramatically as customers choose a more recyclable option for Christmas wrap. I think that this year we will see this increasingly bleed over into toy sales where we will at some point see an increase in sales of more sustainable products. I hope that suppliers will take this on board and adapt quickly to the challenges which we and our planet face.

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Talking Shop Ian Melville - Bright Star Toys, Linlithgow 2019 was our first Christmas and it was great; footfall was really high and the whole festive period was much better than I anticipated. We’ve only been open for four months, but word seems to be getting around Linlithgow about the fact that we’re here. Being new, we didn’t have many expectations for Christmas and were happy to keep an open mind, but I won’t lie – it was fab. The vibe from our customers was positive and they seemed quite happy to be spending on Christmas toys and games. Squishmallows were a best-seller for us from the day we opened our doors, and were a best-seller over Christmas too. Our POS display looked a little sad when all of them had been sold, but we’ve restocked and they’re still flying out the door. Games from Orchard and Big Potato, and puzzles from Ravensburger, also performed really well. We’ve now expanded our games offering by opening an account with Asmodee, and I’m sure the games it supplies will be well-received by our customers. Pokémon is a strong area for us too. I’ve noticed a big resurgence, most likely because of the movie from last year. A lot of kids seem to be either discovering it for the first time, or are going back to it after a break. It’s so popular, we held an additional Pokémon Swap Day this month at the shop. I’m feeling optimistic about our first full year of trading. As I speak to you, I’ve spent most of my morning looking through catalogues and I’m planning a trip to Spring Fair after a visit to Toy Fair; I can’t wait to see all the new lines. Christmas has given us a really big boost for the year ahead.

Pete Healey - Howleys Toymaster, multiple We had a fantastic Christmas. L.O.L. Surprise! continues to be strong and was a bestseller over the period, with Pokémon a perennial favourite. Bakugan from Spin Master is growing strongly, and it’s nice to see it back. Classic and traditional toys are always popular at Christmas. Britains Farm and Hornby are both good gift options for older customers and adult collectors. As part of our business plan, we’ve looked at our position in the market and have worked on our strengths moving forward. While still looking after all our regulars, we’re seeing what we can bring in to attract new footfall. We’re offering a much stronger range of toys for our local customers now, having ascertained the percentage that are after big toys, the percentage that are after little toys, who wants pocket money collectibles, and who’s after a mixture of them all. We’ve always got new customers coming through with babies and young kids, and we want to become the first location for new parents looking for toys and kids’ products, as opposed to them looking online or with our competitors. We’re focused on bringing new customers in and giving them the experience they want, so they have confidence in us for years to come. We’re attacking 2020 from a strong position, and we’re really looking forward to another great year.

Philip Baldwin - Crookilley Toys Emporium, Stockport This was our first Christmas following a full trading year, as we only opened our store in midDecember 2018. Mid-December this year seemed to mark the beginning of Christmas shopping in earnest; sales were good, better than perhaps we expected, and we’re very pleased with how the whole period was for us. Zuru’s Robo Alive products sold well, and Paul Lamond’s 3D football stadium puzzles went down a storm here in the Manchester area: both the Manchester City and Manchester United editions performed brilliantly. Plush is a favourite for Christmas and was in high demand this year. Products for kids aged 0-4 was a big area for us, especially the Hape and Jumini ranges. Customer feedback has been really positive. We had a lot of new faces through the door to do their Christmas shopping, meaning repeat footfall from established regulars was further boosted by new customers just discovering the shop for the first time. A number of customers told us that they welcome the opening of an independent toy shop in the area – before we opened there hadn’t been one here for about seven years – and also that they were particularly keen to shop locally and support their local traders. We’re looking to maintain our impetus and development moving into this year.

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NPD Insight

New Year, new start

Melissa looks at the figures for December trading and, despite some challenging overall results, picks out the highlights which have contributed to growth in the toy market in 2019.


Melissa Symonds

New Year means a new start, and the UK a toy. We’re looking forward to the results of the Toy market is hoping that this will be 2019 Christmas study (available at the beginning the case for 2020, after December ended of February) to see if that trend has endured, or if consumers expectations and requirements online. up being as challenging for toy sales as parents reduced their overall spend this year in One of the driving factors behind the decision to the rest of the year. Before we can look keeping with the general lethargy in British high purchase toys online is that consumers perceive it to forward, it is important that any lessons from 2019, streets this year. be good overall value for money and a better choice particularly from the all-important Q4, are taken Across the UK, there seems to be a significant of brands and products than in-store purchasing into account to prepare for the year ahead. Week 51, shift in how consumers are shopping for toys. options. However, while online retailers come out historically one of the highest earning weeks of the Brick and Mortar store sales are declining, down strongly for value and range offering, they often year, saw sales fall -3% on 2018’s performance. While -10% January to September 2019 (NPD Consumer miss out on the impulse purchases that successful this may have been a better year-on-year trend than Panel), while online sales continue to grow, +3% merchandising and knowledgeable staff add to inmany weeks in 2019, it wasn’t exactly the last-minute in the same period. Online continues to be a big store purchases. One of the key challenges facing the growth which many had been hoping for. However, growth area for the UK toy market over the last toy market globally is getting the balance between week 52 was up significantly, by +35%. With an four years, with over a third of all sales now made online and in-store offerings to complement each extra shopping day just prior to Christmas, every online, increasing to 40% in Q4 (2018 NPD Consumer other, rather than compete or cannibalise. supercategory showed growth, and this resulted in Panel). This is one of the key reasons why NPD has Looking ahead to 2020, January is traditionally a year-to-date week 52 trend of -7% in value in total launched its UK e-commerce service, offering insight one of the quieter months of the year for the toy toys (NPD POS Tracking). into where consumers are purchasing online and market with less than 5% of annual toy sales, but While the Games and Puzzles category enjoyed how frequently, as well as which properties and nevertheless it is an important month as it reveals its traditional last-minute surge, accounting for manufacturers are driving the online growth - or the first consumer reactions to the Spring/Summer 18% of all toy sales in week 51, some categories, being left behind. As a growth area of the UK toy offerings. At the time of writing, early 2020 sales are such as Infant/Toddler & Pre-school Toys and Youth market, both retailers and manufacturers need to not available, but will be closely monitored to see Electronics, saw their week 51 sales decline by over have a strong online strategy to take advantage of if the trend of the last £1m. One question three years has finally NPD is asked a lot is changed. After a period if the decline in toy of disappointing toy sales is as a result sales for the market, of Video Games or Online sales grown +15% in the last 4 years while instore declined -20% it’s evident that Consumer Electronics those retailers and being purchased for suppliers who have children. In 2018, NPD’s outperformed the Christmas Gift study market in 2019 worked showed an increase 35% hard to offer something of +10% in parents 27% different, whether spending on their through product, children’s Christmas merchandising or presents, but the toy marketing. Innovation market didn’t see a and risk-taking can similar uplift. In fact, pay for itself in the toy for Boys aged 0-14 market, so let’s take years, 33% received a YTD 2016 YTD 2017 YTD 2018 YTD 2019 some risks in 2020 Video Game or Console and create some new as their main gift Source: NPD Consumer Panel | YTD Sept 2019 vs 16 trends, new marketing compared with just 1 The NPD Group, Inc. | Proprietary and confidential and hopefully new 32% of them receiving consumers for toys.

Director UK Toys, EuroToys NPD

Online % of Total Toy Sales

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To monitor what’s happening in the ever-changing toy market, NPD collects point-of-sale information from all major toy retailers. This information, combined with our analysts’ industry perspectives, delivers a comprehensive view of what’s selling and where. We also field over 12m consumer surveys annually to help industry leaders understand why consumers shop where they shop and why they buy what they buy. For more information visit www.npd.com. Follow NPD on Twitter @npdgroup.

Property Progression

Item Description

Rank # Nov 2019

Rank # Dec 2019

Exploding Kittens Original Game



The Games category always enjoys a significant share of sales in December at 39%, higher than the total toys average of 24%. 2019 seems to be the year of card games and while games such as Dobble (original and Harry Potter versions) and Uno have performed well throughout the year, consumers discovered Exploding Kittens late in the year. In the four weeks before Christmas, Exploding Kittens leapt up the top selling items to #44. Despite only having 50% weighted distribution, the game was one of the fastest selling (where it was stocked) for both value and volume in December. For week 51, Exploding Kittens was actually the 21st best-selling toy across the total market for the week.

Fastest Growing Subclasses in Toys With just one week of sales still to be calculated, Action Figures Collectibles is the fastest growing subclass in 2019, adding over £11.5m sales in the last year. This was heavily driven by Funko POP! which contributed more than half that growth, as well as newer collectibles like Fortnite, Superzings and Ryan’s World, which all saw strong double-digit growth this year. Fashion Dolls had a fantastic Q4 resurgence with Barbie, LOL Surprise! and Disney Frozen all contributing to growth. Barbie was also a key driver behind Fashion Accessories growth, with the Barbie Dream Plane and Dreamhouse helping the category to growth of +31%. Scooters are driving the Skateboards/Skates & Scooters subclass, helped by new manufacturers such as DGL Group. Card Games is the fastest growing Games category, thanks to Dobble, Uno and Exploding Kittens all performing well. Battling Toys & Accessories growth is due to the relaunch of Bakugan in the second half the year, while Playset Dolls Accessories growth was driven by LOL Surprise! playsets as well as Sylvanian Families and Polly Pocket growth. Large Dolls growth is driven by increased distribution of Our Generation, the new launch from Moose of Kindi Kids and a late surge from Disney Frozen.

Fastest growing subclasses Action Figures Collectibles the fastest growing category in UK Toys 2019 Sales Gained £M

Action Figure Collectibles Fashion Dolls Fashion Accessories Skate/Skateboards/Scooters Card Games Battling Toys & Playsets Strategic Trade Card Games Playset Doll Accessories Large Dolls & Acc ELA Hardware/Software&Acc









Source: The NPD Group | Retail Tracking Service | YTD Week 51 2019 vs. 18

DocumentThe classification: Client/Third Party Confidential NPD Group, Inc. | Proprietary and confidential

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Viewpoint Millennials now in charge of the next generation

Ruth Clement Ruth is director and founder of Consumer Fluent and will be speaking at Spring Fair on 2nd February. To arrange a meeting, please contact ruth@ consumerfluent.com. More about Consumer Fluent’s brand growth services, news and insights can be found at www.consumerfluent.com.


y the time Millennials start a family, most will have never had an Argos catalogue in their own home and from 2020, new parents will have never shopped in a nursery specialist chain like Mothercare or visited a Toys R Us. Millennials have profoundly different experiences, attitudes and practices when it comes to parenting too, which will ultimately have an impact on the toy and nursery industry, shaping the retail landscape, product development and the way brands connect with their target consumer. Most profoundly, only 65% of Millennial parents think playtime is important, compared to 85% of Baby Boomers. Since 2018, over 79% of new births in Britain have Millennial parents, those adults born between 1981 and 1996, now aged 25 to 39 years old. They’ve spent most, if not all, of their teenage and adult years living in an internet connected world. Their children, Generation Alpha, have a digital footprint from the day they are born. The preceding generation, Generation X parents, were early proponents of online shopping, but placed greater trust in the advice of people they knew, valuing the insights from experience which other parents in their personal network passed on to them. 69% of Millennials say they learn more from the internet and are influenced by the “power of numbers amongst strangers” - the number of followers, shares and likes that a social media influencer, a brand or a product can generate. Despite acquiring larger quantities of facts, opinions and advice online, Millennials are more prone to feeling overwhelmed by that very same volume of information, and less inclined to trust their own intuition. By the time Millennials start a family, they have fewer expectations that they will ever own their own home, they have student debts

to repay, have less grandparent support in providing childcare and started their careers in an era of post-recession, zero-hour employment uncertainty. They’re far more conscious of the impact that buying brand new goods will have on the climate and will be less impressed by promises to reduce plastic by 2030. 90% of them expect companies to take responsibility for their environmental impact now and are already seeking climate friendly, plastic free alternatives. Brands like IKEA already have a track record, evidence of a commitment to be climate positive and claim that 100% of the cotton and wood used in their products comes from sustainable sources. They have promoted WWF re-foresting schemes for over 20 years. They use words and phrases like “free from harmful chemicals” and “naturally sourced” in everything from baby textiles to toys, under the brand umbrella of what conscious consumers perceive to be a sustainable, well designed, trustworthy and affordable Swedish brand. Without Mothercare and Babies R us, new parents have far fewer opportunities to examine, touch and feel the nursery goods and toys they think they should be buying and crucially, IKEA provides a retail environment in which they still can do that. The next step for IKEA will be to increase the range of products in categories they already operate in. By the time Millennials start a family, most will have never had an Argos catalogue in their own home. Since 2014, kids’ use of catalogues to show their parents what they want for Christmas has fallen to just 23% of the child population aged 3 to 14. Compare that to 2009 when use of a catalogue by kids was as high as 69%. For many years the Argos catalogue was a “top 3 mention” when parents and children were asked where they got their toy ideas from. Nowadays, Millennial parents need reminding of the very existence of the Argos

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catalogue, whilst Generation Alpha kids are deprived of the experience of using it altogether. The retail fixture is losing ground too. 36% fewer kids show their parents what they want by pointing out toys in store. As internet shopping has grown, visits to large format grocery stores reduced, as toy and nursery specialists closed their doors for the last time, children have had fewer opportunities to browse an adequate in store toy range. Online wish-lists have not filled the gap left by catalogues either. 20% of kids get ideas on what they want for Christmas by browsing online, but only 13% make an online wish list. Independent on-line browsing is confined to kids who can read and type in search terms. Search is an important part of creating a wish list, as is the display of choices for kids to pick from, but unless and until new UI models are designed with kids in mind, with familiar and appropriate visual semiotics, voice input search mechanisms to match text ones, it’s unlikely that the appeal and adoption of online wish-list creation will surge for pre-literate children any time soon, and will be slow to take off for pre-operational kids too. Brand owners should watch this space for new initiatives by Google and Amazon in voice activation and PPV advertising, discover the visual semiotics which work at the very youngest age to improve UX for independent search and list compilations and accelerate green initiatives, if not already done. In terms of retailers, Smyths is already increasing its focus on the nursery category to fill the gap left by Mothercare and BRU. Independents and brand owners can learn from IKEA and create a distinctive proposition for the conscious consumer, working to overcome the concerns which Millennial parents have over the provenance of goods, from environmental impact to safety and product authenticity.


ver the last quarter I met with a number of highprofile CEOs to discuss the main issues currently facing manufacturers and distributors in the UK. My interviewees represented a variety of suppliers, ranging from small owner-managed businesses to global organisations. Taken collectively, their responses provide a fascinating “View from the Top.” Market At the end of November, YTD UK toy sales were 10% lower than the corresponding period in 2018, which was unsettling. The consensus was that a variety of factors had caused a lack of confidence from consumers, coupled with consumer expectation that retailers would heavily discount prior to Christmas. The lack of any meaningful Argos promotions (the usual 3-for-2 did not take place) meant that other retailers deferred their consumer promotions with a consequential impact on sales. The collective view was that only a modest proportion of this shortfall would be recouped by Christmas and, given the lateness in the season, that the main beneficiaries of this would be online retailers and particularly Amazon. Margins Margins were a major cause for concern. The cost of goods had deteriorated significantly since the UK EU referendum, as a result of the depreciation of sterling and the increasing costs of manufacture. The combination of low UK inflation, low consumer confidence and struggling retailers meant that suppliers have only been able to pass on a fraction of this increase in cost, which has had a consequential impact on marketing budgets, headcount and bottom line. At its worst, this meant that some suppliers had to cease trading altogether, such as Re:creation. However, suppliers with strong brands, innovative products and tight control on costs showed that they can still be profitable. Retailers The relationship with retailers is one of the most crucial issues facing CEOs. The last few years has seen the collapse of a number of bricks and mortar retailers including TRU, Mothercare, Top Toys, Ludendo and Mamas & Papas, and concerns remain over other high street names. CEOs are clearly frustrated by the speed credit insurance is pulled, how quickly businesses can be put into administration and are therefore struggling to find effective

ways to manage their exposure. The risk-sharing approach for support of new lines has also changed. A listing from a retailer is now much less likely to come with a material order for a new product which would cover the minimum order quantity and underpin the advertising budget. Understandably, retailers are minimising their stockholding and passing on the risk of inventory to the supplier, which in turn has consequences for their working capital requirement and bottom line. In order to address this, some suppliers are investing more in exclusives, which can be effective with the right product. Online Online sales were seen as a huge opportunity by CEOs, who view online retailers and suppliers’ own websites as just another channel to market. Some smaller companies preferred managing their relationships with consumers through their own website; although administratively more complicated, this ultimately generated a greater financial return and strengthened the relationship with their ultimate customer. Managing online retailers requires a different skill set to a traditional bricks and mortar retailers, and for the larger suppliers, specialist Amazon account managers have been appointed to manage this. Attributes looked for in a successful Amazon account manager were the ability to think like a retailer, to manage stock levels, to pay close attention to daily sales and to instigate carefully costed flash sales or promotional activity at strategic times in the year. Marketing The majority of CEOs and MDs were also candid about their advertising strategy. Long gone are the days when they could rely on TV advertising to drive sales. Consumers, particularly children, are spending less time watching TV, and more time online with digital influences such as Ryan Kaji of Ryan’s World, social media, catch up TV etc. Consequently, suppliers are grappling with how to allocate their advertising spend between traditional TV advertising, influencers, other social media and consumer promotions. The consensus was that no one had yet found the magic formula to optimise spend, and that companies were spending more time and money to get the same net result. Product Innovation Product innovation is the driving force of the industry and we have seen the companies behind the innovation

have a huge impact on the market. However, the investment required for new product development is significant, and the chances of success relatively small. China Sourcing Rising costs, demonstrations in Hong Kong and Donald Trump’s trade war with China have meant that many distributors were considering alternatives to sourcing their product solely from the region. Alternatives being considered included Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Eastern and Southern Europe. Whilst nobody is planning to move all production from China, there certainly appears to be a growing consensus to explore lower cost centres of production. However, an alternative view was that the shift of production away from China by USA toy manufacturers presented a unique opportunity for smaller manufacturers who may be able to negotiate better prices with Chinese vendors due to the capacity that has become available. Environment Several CEOs commented that environmental issues were becoming a much higher priority, with parents and children are increasingly taking the environmental impact of goods they purchase into consideration. Whilst big strides are being made to ensure packaging is more environmentally friendly, it is more challenging to do this for toys. There are a number of initiatives to help try and address this issue, ranging from toy rehoming programmes, reducing small plastic giveaways, replacing plastic components where possible, introducing biodegradable materials and reviewing packaging. Conclusion Whilst the current cohort of CEOs have got a lot to grapple with, it is encouraging to see how they are adapting to change. The move to online retailing has been embraced whilst continuing to strongly support bricks and mortar retailers, which remain critical to a vibrant toy sector. The challenge of margins and a reliance on Chinese sourcing is being addressed by reviewing alternative manufacturing locations. Work is being done to review how toy companies communicate with customers, whether digitally or through more traditional methods such as TV advertising. Thanks to consumers, innovative solutions are being explored to make toys more sustainable and help combat the climate emergency.

Toy World 23

A view from the top

Simon McIntosh Simon McIntosh is the founder director of Strathmore Advisory, an agency which provides SMEs and the toy trade with advice on core business strategies. Formally the CFO and COO of Vivid and prior to that a manager at Price Waterhouse, Simon can be contacted on 07500 805275 or at simonmcintosh@ strathmoreadvisory.com

Viewpoint Looking into the crystal ball…

David Ripley David is currently EMEA category director at Groupon. His long career as a toy buyer has included stints at a number of the industry’s largest retail accounts.


f all of the retail stats from the last 12 months of the decade failed to resonate, then reflecting on the total retail impact over the past decade as a whole will certainly shock. Several age-old and much-loved brands were consigned to retail history, and this was a decade that excluded the numbers from the large-scale closures of the early 2000s, which included Woolworths in the UK; the chain finally closed its doors in Jan 2009 There is no existential argument that challenges the continuation of the non-essential, non-food retail landscape, including toys, more than the digital manifestation of ‘stuff’. This year, my own festive purchasing habits for gifts were 90% digital, and the physical products I did purchase were no more than low price point token gifts. I was always a sceptic when it came to digital trading card games versus the physical versions. I could not see how opening a pack online could give children the same level of excitement that opening a physical pack could generate. However, I can now see first-hand how FIFA has improved the digital delivery of pack openings with a high level of sports presentation that includes Walk-Out cards, Board cards and Rare or Regular Gold, Silver and Bronze cards, all overlaid

with firework graphics. It is possible that the effective digitisation of once physical products will also have a positive impact on the environment and the race to minimise micro and macro carbon footprints. It does not take the power of the oracle to predict that the next decade will be a continuation of the last with predictable levels of company failure, further corporate consolidation and increasingly efficient distribution models within the toy industry. I will be shocked if this was not the continuing narrative, alongside another emerging trend that will hit tipping point over the next 10 years: direct to consumer selling (D2C). Previously, factories manufactured, suppliers marketed and retailers sold to customers. With the emergence of platforms of scale such as Wish, Alibaba, eBay, Groupon and Amazon etc, both factories and suppliers have tapped into the vast customer databases that these platforms provide access to and have added their own active selling D2C websites. D2C is a large and highly profitable opportunity for manufacturers and brand owners to improve revenues and showcase the full extent of their ranges. This trend has been growing rapidly since the early 2000s but is yet to hit mass impact. One reason for the slow growth in this area is

Toy World 24

the suppliers’ reticence to compete directly with retailers on the same portfolio of products they supply to them. E-commerce retailing is still therefore the preserve of retailers, but manufacturers are catching up and scaling D2C is increasingly becoming a stated objective of many supply side corporations. Toys is still a key search term on Google and will therefore rank highly in organic search on many corporate websites. Global physical retail space is continuing to shrink, so the need for suppliers to have a scaled D2C strategy is growing and will replace the lost in-store retail sales. Manufacturers with a passive website, with limited customer databases simply for the sake of showcasing brands and products, is not nearly enough, but was historically a way to show retailers that suppliers were not trying to compete directly with them. What this does, in essence, is put e-commerce retail professionals at the forefront of the skills queue over the next decade, transferring these skills into manufacturing and branded portfolio companies and away from the steady head count decline in retailers. This is not new news, the trend has been gathering pace for the past decade and, I predict, will continue into the next.


efore I arrived in Hong Kong, there had been a lot of talk about potential disruption to people’s schedules from the unrest – or indeed, the possibility of more than just a bit of inconvenience. However, throughout the trip, all the talk was about….jet lag, just as it usually is! (Apparently lavenderinfused eye masks are one solution. I was initially sceptical, but after achieving a personal best/worst of approximately two hours’ sleep on the Sunday night, I may have to put aside my reservations next year). Of course, it was sensible to be aware and prepared; representatives from one major global toy company who were on the same flight as me on Friday were being updated with potential flashpoint locations via a secure WhatsApp group headed up by a US SAS-style security guru. But the reality is that there was absolutely no sign of any unrest on the ground. A lot of local people were going round in masks, but that was apparently due to concerns over MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) rather than being a sign of subversive behaviour. For weeks, my local contacts had been insisting that the situation had calmed down significantly, and thankfully that has proved to be the case. Is it all over? Almost certainly not – it’s a long term, deep rooted social issue which won’t be an easy fix. But while things play out, Hong Kong is doing what it does best – just getting on with things. Of course, there is no denying that Hong Kong itself was different to previous visits. It was noticeably quieter in general, not just in terms of visitors from the toy community. Lan Kwai Fong was unusually subdued on Saturday evening, with bar and restaurant staff being increasingly pushy and persistent in their attempts to drum up custom – it was like trying to evade the ‘copy watch’ and suit sales brigade all over again. Similarly, the streets of Tsim Tsa Tsui were slightly less frantic than usual, as were the aisles at the Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair – although as a firm believer in the ‘quality, not quantity’ mantra, I don’t think that was a major issue for most companies. The vast majority of the key people were there, and for those who walked the show floor over at the Convention Centre, several remarked that the level of design in much Chinese product seems to be coming on leaps and bounds, making a trip to the show well worth the effort,

especially for suppliers sourcing new vendor factories. There is palpable relief amongst the Chinese toy community that the US China tariff situation has been resolved; naturally, some had started to make contingency plans – with Vietnam and Indonesia mentioned as the most likely alternatives – but most had clearly hoped they would never be needed. Which they don’t seem to be – for now, at least… For those who do like to visit both the official Toy Show and the TST showrooms, it might be worth noting that next year’s official Toy Fair dates fall a week later in the calendar – 11th – 14th January. For visitors, and especially UK companies, exhibiting at the show, this leaves only a few days before the London Toy Fair opens on 19th, with a schedule potentially involving three shows in three consecutive weeks - including Nuremberg - and four events in four weeks for those who feel the need to have a presence at Spring Fair. It’s going to be a busy January 2021! But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; coming back to this particular trip, my guess is that many of the absentees were from mainland China, although inevitably some international visitors were precluded from travelling by corporate governance or insurance issues. However, it’s important to keep all this in perspective; I can only speak for the British contingent, but there were very few notable absentees. Perhaps a few of the travelling parties were pared back – I was told that one of the largest UK accounts sent four people this year, far fewer than the ten that travelled from the same organisation last year. But by and large, the people I would expect to see there were all present and correct: that much was evident from the fantastic turn out at the bi-annual charity football match on the Tuesday evening. 260 people came along to watch the UK team turn the form book on its head and win for the first time in a decade, raising a fantastic £36,000 for the Fence Club in the process. Quite literally, everyone’s a winner! And there have already been suggestions that the ‘pint’ celebrations should be adopted by the Toy of the Year awards. I’ll keep you posted on that.

am sure they would have appreciated. In terms of product, no craze has yet emerged. Some retailers have apparently been disappointed by that, but the supplier community is probably not too despondent, as a huge craze often disadvantages more toy companies than it benefits, as it concentrates sales in a relatively small number of hands. The same could possibly be said about licensing; rather than one dominant brand this year, I get the impression that a fairly broad range of properties are looking promising and will secure respectable retail distribution. Of course, the enduring positivity and enthusiasm of the toy community always results in a good vibe in Hong Kong. It only takes a few minutes scanning the news headlines to illustrate that 2020 is going to bring fresh challenges and the fallout from a brutal 2019 is now in full swing. Poor toy sales were specifically said to have affected Argos’ festive sales performance (no great surprise to most people in the toy market I would imagine), with general merchandise sales falling by 4% overall and the retailer losing market share in toys as a result of abandoning its traditional ‘3 for 2’ promotion. Meanwhile, over at John Lewis, boss Paula Nickolds is to ‘step down’ after the retailer warned of declining sales and lower profits. Yes folks, scapegoat season is very much in full swing. So while the traditional upbeat mood prevailed in Hong Kong, it was at least tempered with a greater dose of realism than has often been the case – a case of Ying and Yang, if you will.

The triumphant UK toy football team

There was one piece of sad news announced at the football – that Casdon’s Paul Cassidy had passed away the day before. Our condolences to his family; the spontaneous minute’s applause which broke out after the announcement was a genuinely touching moment which I

Toy World 25

Ying and Yang

John Baulch John has worked in toy trade publishing for over 35 years, and will be well known to our readers for his personal analysis of industry matters and forthright opinions. If they get past Anita.


Toy Fair New York

The American way Ahead of Toy Fair New York, Toy World caught up with Marian Bossard, EVP global market events, The Toy Association, and Steve Pasierb, president & CEO to find out how the US market fared in 2019 and what visitors can expect at this year’s show. How did 2019 end up for the US toy market? Steve Pasierb: Final holiday results yet to come will tell the tale, while analysts are predicting a modest decline for 2019. Nonetheless, super-categories like action figures, dolls, and games are anticipated to show strong performance/growth for this year, thanks to the popularity of brands and properties like Toy Story, Fortnite, Frozen II, L.O.L! Surprise, Barbie, Pokémon, and Magic the Gathering. US toy sales are predicted to show growth in 2020 through 2021, with action figures, arts & crafts, building sets, dolls, games/puzzles, and outdoor/ sports toys leading the pack, according to a recent NPD Group Report.

Marian Bossard

Do you think the market has now fully re-adjusted to the demise of Toys R Us?

Steve Pasierb

SP: The last of the Toys R Us impact was felt in the first half of 2019, when sales were down 9% against comparisons to first-half 2018. In the first six months of last year, the market benefited from temporary growth fuelled by Toys R Us liquidation sales. While Toys R Us’ market share continues to be redistributed, the loss of the single, dedicated big-box toy retailer will be a lasting headwind to opportunity and growth for smaller toy manufacturers and inventors.

Which retailers really stepped up to take advantage of the gap left by Toys R Us?

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SP: Mass retailers led by Walmart and Target, mid-mass, all forms of e-commerce, and specialty retail have all stepped up to capture Toys R Us’ market share, while offering consumers great incentives to shop, from low prices and personal service to fun in-store experiences for families. The entire US retail sector continues to evolve swiftly and become more omni-channel.

How are US suppliers and retailers feeling ahead of 2020 – are they confident of a better year? SP: The mood is upbeat, with amazing movie, TV and digital-first properties driving toy development and sales, and innovations in play ready for unveiling at Toy Fair New York 2020. All exhibition space for the event has sold out, as global toy professionals prepare to descend on the most exciting toy, game, and youth entertainment marketplace and city in the world.

Can you tell us more about how the Toy Fair is shaping up for 2020? Marian Bossard: The 117th annual Toy Fair New York will host the equivalent of nearly eight football fields filled with toys during its four-day run from 22nd to 25th February 2020. Global professionals from about 100 countries are expected at the marketplace, all looking to get a sneak peek at hundreds of thousands of ground-breaking toys and games. There is so much anticipation building for the

show; Creative Factor continues to expand, with educational offerings that will highlight the intersection of technology and play from concept to consumer. Now in its 18th year, Creative Factor celebrates and serves the creative professionals across myriad job functions including inventors and designers, sales and marketing, and retail. Also, for the first time at Toy Fair we’ll present Robots on the Runway, which is exactly what it sounds like; a fashion show format displaying the latest in service robots, as well as robots to play with. We’ll also continue our popular programming for the entertainment and licensing community, independent retailers and trendspotters, and other play professionals. I encourage readers to download the free Toy Fair mobile app (available on iTunes and Google Play) for complete show information, including floor plans, exhibitor listings, seminar schedules, and more.

Do you feel that this year’s show may benefit from the recent protests in Hong Kong? It does seem to be largely US retailers who were threatening not to make the trip to the Far East in January this year… MB: In recent weeks, The Toy Association and other members in the global toy community have been in communication with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in New York City to discuss the escalating tensions in the region and the potential impact this could have on members preparing for their annual toy meetings there in January. Tensions seem to have subsided and, at the time of writing, many manufacturers as well as retailers are now planning to go after all. We will

continue to gather and share information as we receive it from our members. It remains true that some member companies have decided to schedule meetings in Los Angeles instead of Hong Kong over the same period. We appreciate the information we receive from members and ask everyone to continue to keep us informed of updates in their plans. Hong Kong in January is key for our members and separate from the activities that take place at Toy Fair New York, as they look to further refine selections with buyers and work closely with factory partners.

What should visitors be looking out for at the Fair this year? MB: Toy Fair New York continues to expand its offerings in line with the expanded audiences we welcome each year. The toy community has come to expect more from Toy Fair and that is exactly what they will get. Renowned toy photographer Mitchel Wu is part of our Creative Factor programming and to make that even more exciting, we will bring a Mitchel Wu Gallery to Toy Fair. Mitchel will join us for the ribbon cutting on Saturday morning, 22nd February. 2020 will also bring the inaugural Student Congress. Each year we welcome 250+ universitylevel students, and this year we’re putting together

Toy World 27

a day of networking, education, and up-close open-house access to exhibits. If any reader’s company is interested in welcoming these future professionals, let us know. The Toy Association’s trends team works yearround to stay abreast of toys and themes that resonate with kids. One of our most popular offerings, the team will share an exclusive first look at the top trends in toys and games for 2020 using product examples from the show floor during the Toy Trends Briefing, taking place on opening day, Saturday 22nd February at 1:30pm (Level 1, Hall 1E, Room 1E09). We encourage attendees to attend this not-to-bemissed session. Several additional educational seminars and professional networking activities are also in the works – download the Toy Fair Mobile app to learn more.

What do you see as The Toy Association’s biggest challenges in the year ahead? SP: China tariffs have been a considerable challenge to business planning. Without question, the most significant issue upon which we and our members collaborate is intellectual property protection and preventing potentially dangerous counterfeits from proliferating on ecommerce sites and online marketplaces. While there are over 100 safety and regulatory standards governing US toymakers, and clear accountabilities on the part of traditional retailers, the e-commerce space and especially third-party sellers on marketplaces are not held to the same high level of responsibility. These rogue manufacturers and sellers, which threaten the health and safety of the children we all exist to serve, must be stopped.

toyworld toy world The business magazine with a passion for toys

Spring Fair 2020 Preview (starts here) To find out how you can get involved with Toy World in 2020 please contact: John Baulch – John@toyworldmag.co.uk Mark Austin – Mark@toyworldmag.co.uk Rachael Simpson-Jones – Rachael@toyworldmag.co.uk

February 2020 Volume 9 Issue 6


Spring Fair 2020

Renewed and refreshed S

Spring Fair, which this year takes place from 1st-6th February at the NEC Birmingham, underwent a ‘re-edit’ in 2019 which promised a renewed look-andfeel for 2020, reinvigorating the way buyers source products and connect with exhibitors. Toy World spoke to Yvette Marshall, head of Play & Tech at Spring Fair, as well as some of the companies attending this year’s show, about what visitors can look forward to.

pring Fair welcomes the Play & Tech area for the first time, having been introduced by show organiser Hyve Group for Autumn Fair 2019 within the new Gifts sourcing destination. A better location, on a main thoroughfare between Gifts and Home & Living, has improved footfall, and the area will be scaled-up for Spring Fair following its Autumn Fair debut. This overhaul is part of Hyve Group’s major investment in Spring and Autumn Fair, as Yvette Marshall, head of Play & Tech at Spring Fair, explains. “With new investment, we’ve been able to totally revamp and rework the show floor for 2020. This re-edit has allowed us to create two distinct buying destinations – Home & Living and Gift – with 16 redefined sectors. As part of the Gift showcase, the new Play & Tech sector has solidified itself as the most important marketplace for finding the products and insights that will drive sales and profits throughout 2020 and beyond.” “The toy area has been a staple of Spring & Autumn Fair for years, so with Autumn Fair 2019 we really wanted to re-assess our offering and make sure we were still delivering on what the market really needs,” Yvette continues. “This is where the new Play & Tech sector came from – a desire to reflect the

changing needs of our core visitors and the sector’s most important buyers. We’re really looking forward to bringing Play & Tech back for Spring Fair, albeit on a bigger platform. We’re focusing on ensuring that buyers have the most trailblazing and cutting-edge products at their fingertips, the kinds of products that stimulate children’s imaginations and drive all-important sales. Embracing innovation and exhibiting the newest offerings in Play & Tech will be exhibitors like Brainstorm, Smart Toys and Games, Berg toys, Rainbow Designs, Wild + Wolf and Hornby. Also expect new products from visitor favourites such as Ty UK, and the latest in educational play from companies including Learning Resources.” As part of Spring Fair’s Hello New! show theme, the Party Playground has been launched within the Play & Tech hall. Home to live product demos throughout the show, as well as the Winter Wonderland Café, the playground represents an all-new vision for Play & Tech product sourcing. A huge range of products within the toys, games and kids’ categories will be on show at Spring Fair, from plush to partyware and everything in between. Hunter Price, which returns to the show with a raft of new introductions including licensed Warner Bros line, as well as several enthusiastic new hires,

is looking forward to forging new relationships with attendees eager to view its 2020 lines. “As a business, we’re on a hugely exciting journey - we’ve invested heavily in talent and team development to be able to offer the full package for our customers,” says Jeremy Winburn, commercial director. “We believe our product offering will demonstrate a clear level of differentiation at Spring Fair this year. We have so many new and exclusive ranges to showcase for the very first time, from some very exciting brands. As well as leading in product innovation, what truly sets Hunter Price apart, is the people and what we’re able to offer as a team. From our unique design & sourcing capabilities, to our marketing and service support, what we are able to provide is unrivalled. We build meaningful relationships with each and every one of our partners, which enables us to have a clear vision and create effective and bespoke strategies to market for all our customers, and we’re really looking forward to engaging with visitors to our stand (9C60-D61).” Visitors to the Amscan stand will be able to view the latest ranges across partyware, balloons and dress-up, as well as new licensed ranges, as Charlotte Terry, marketing executive, explains. “We’re excited for visitors to see our new Warner Bros costumes


Spring Fair 2020

and accessories at Spring Fair,” she says. “The initial range launch includes icons from the DC Universe, from Batman to Supergirl, as well as Scooby-Doo and leading characters from the Wizard of Oz; with many more to be revealed throughout the year.” Charlotte continues: “Our variety of product categories sets us apart in the market; we’re a ‘onestop’ shop for all things party. We will be showcasing an array of new licensed products featuring some of the hottest brands for 2020, as well as a great choice of popular everyday party themes. Our ranges include designs suitable for pre-schoolers through to older children, teens and adults. We encourage toy retailers to come and look for themselves in Hall 5, Stand 5J70-K71.” Licences have long been at the heart of Rainbow Designs’ plush line-up, so 2020 sees the company return to Spring Fair with several new collections based on beloved properties including Peter Rabbit and Peanuts. “Arriving this spring is the beautiful new nostalgic Peter Rabbit Signature Collection of keepsake infant Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny soft toys, which will create heirlooms for generations to come,” enthuses Anthony Temple, managing director, Rainbow Designs. “There’s also a stunning new Miffy Baby collection in a stylish and contemporary navy-blue striped pattern. Launching for autumn, we also have two gorgeous new Snoopy gift collections from our new Peanuts licence; My First Snoopy and Everyone Loves Snoopy.” Rainbow will be in Hall 5, Stand 5H10-J1. Retailers and buyers looking to freshen up their pocket money offering should look no further than Tobar, (Hall 5, Stand: 5G20-H21). The company will be showcasing a range of products selected to appeal to the diverse range of buyers at Spring Fair, including a new range of stylish wooden pocket money toys with strong gifting potential. “Pocket money is an important sector this year for us,” says David Mordecai, Tobar CEO. “Our Squiggle Bandz, a great new collectible which we think will

really take off, can be worn as bracelets or knotted together. Our research shows these are destined to be a playground favourite and they are available in a wide variety of styles too. Collectibles are also big, so our Embryonics, a fusion of alien and slime will appeal across the board. The revival of the classic Atmosfear game is already making waves. This updated app-based version really brings the Gatekeeper to life for a new generation of players, and it can be played across all devices. We have really taken the time to package our lines attractively, and their shelf appeal is very high. Of course, our model vehicle ranges always get a great response at Spring Fair as diecast appeals to such a broad range of retailers. We look forward to a great show.” With sustainability very much a buzzword for this year, Spring Fair is introducing a new Transparency Award. The show’s #PowerOfOne campaign supports and encourage retailers and their suppliers to make changes that will protect the planet and inspire sustainable behaviours, and Hyve Group is now extending the initiative to supply chain ethics. The Power of One Transparency Award is supported by Sedex, one of the world's leading ethical trade service providers working to improve working conditions in global supply chains. “We’re acutely aware of how important the market for sustainable products is; it’s a key driver of consumer spending,” details Yvette. “Helping buyers to realise where they can make a difference, and make some sales at the same time, is what we’re focused on. That’s why we’ve launched the Power of One Transparency Award, to support and encourage retailers and their suppliers to make changes that will protect the planet and inspire sustainable behaviours. Our Sustainability Library, which is hosted on our website, allows visitors to read all about exhibitors’ journeys towards more ecoconscious and ethical practices. Alongside this on the show floor, we’ll also be highlighting sustainability trailblazers through our Sustainability Trail.”

“I’m always really excited for our theatre lineups,” Yvette adds. “This year will be no different, with an incredible line-up of speakers at our three dedicated stages over the four-day show. Visitors can look forward to hearing from industry leaders at the forefront of their respective sectors talk about everything from digital strategy to international sourcing and from colour trends to innovative supply chain solutions. I’m most excited to hear insights into new trends in children’s play with a talk from Consumer Fluent’s global insights director, Ruth Clement, at 12.10 on 2nd February at the Inspiring Retail Stage. In the session, Ruth will help buyers to fully appreciate the importance of licensed products and understand why nostalgia remains an important aspect of consumer purchasing decisions.” Alongside the Inspiring Retail Stage will be the Design & Source Stage and the Retail Skills Theatre. In the former, attendees can learn about sourcing compliance, sustainable packaging solutions and waste reduction, while the latter will introduce visitors to new ideas on how to make the most of their social media accounts, eCommerce strategies and search engine optimisation. “Spring Fair is the most effective way to engage with the biggest group of influential decision makers, trend-driving buyers and retail gurus in the UK and European retail markets,” finishes Yvette. “It’s where you catch-up with existing customers, create new partnerships and make strong connections. With 50,000 visitors coming through the NEC’s doors for the show, it’s an amazing opportunity to generate leads and sales. We attract such a diverse range of visitors too – it’s one of the few shows that can entice everyone from high street buyers, indie owners, and manufacturers to designers, creators, interior specifiers and product specialists. See you there!” Over the following pages, Toy World brings you a selection of the toy, game and kids’ products that will be on show at this year’s event.


01626 835400




Spring Fair 2020

With a spring in their step Toy World spoke to exhibitors at this year’s Spring Fair, to find out what they hope to get out of the show and what their companies are looking forward to in 2020.

James Mountfield

Peter Shaw

Spring Fair is still the largest and most important platform for us to launch products in the UK; it’s an opportunity to get strong early commitment on product to help shape demand for peak trading. Ridley’s Games and Petit Collage perform extremely well in a seasonal gift environment as well as in the year-round toy and games retail space, so Spring Fair really benefits us through the diversity of buyers we meet. The timing of Spring Fair fits well in our seasonal sales journey because buyers have had time to formulate their strategy following other toy fairs, and so arrive with a clear agenda. We will be presenting our full 2020 Ridley’s Games collection for the first time at Spring Fair to quench buyers’ thirst for new, exciting and innovative games. Our Ridley’s team have pulled out all the stops for 2020 with a really fun card game called No Llamas launching in spring/summer, a new series of Mini Games and a new uniquely-packaged game called Lucky Cat.

Spring Fair is a significant focal point in the calendar for Berg, one of our largest global exhibition presences and certainly our biggest in the UK. Our extensive product mix of pedal go-karts, small ride-ons and trampolines is a perfect fit for the show and the attending leading buyers. We see most retailers from the UK of course, but many also come to see us from Ireland. Berg attends other shows that are more specific for product or buyers, but Spring Fair offers a much broader catch-all and this is the reason it works for us. Our Small Ride-Ons in particular are popular with toy and gift stores, garden centres and department stores, while larger items are supplied to the leisure market, eg: farm parks, theme parks, hire companies and rental points. Another important aspect of Spring Fair is that many entrepreneurs attend the show; our product mix offers an exciting prospect and an opportunity to invest in a new business venture.

UK sales director, Wild + Wolf

Sales manager UK, Berg Toys

Jeremy Winburn

Commercial director, Hunter Price Innovate or die is something we truly believe in at Hunter Price, so we travel the world visiting all the key fairs and markets to stay ahead of the game. We strive to be first-to-market adopters and to continue to evolve our product and service offering. We started the year with the Hong Kong Toy Fair, where we meet with our brand partners and key contacts and continue to develop our plans, before attending the London Toy Fair for the first time. We’re teaming up with one of the fastest growing toy and activities companies in the world, Orb Toys. We’ll then attend Nuremburg, before Spring Fair at the NEC, meaning that by the time we showcase our collections in Birmingham, business will already be well underway within the annual toy buying calendar. Ideally, we’d love the event to be earlier. Spring Fair remains a huge opportunity for us, as it’s where we officially unveil our new and exclusives in front of key industry influencers for the first time. A key advantage of this show is that, as well as seeing our product ranges, new and potential customers will be able to meet our core teams, from designers and sourcing experts to our marketing and service specialists.


01626 835400




Spring Fair 2020

Robert Ling,

Marketing executive, Pyramid International 2019 was a good year for Pyramid, and we’re hoping this will continue into 2020. Spring Fair will be the third trade show for Pyramid in 2020, even though it’s only February. The show remains an important event in Pyramid International’s calendar. It’s our first UK show of the year and provides us with a great opportunity to showcase all the new products and licences for 2020, kicking off the coming months positively. Spring Fair offers a great opportunity for us to engage directly with our UK-based independent retailers. We’re excited to share the prospects 2020 will provide, how our products and licences fit in, and how we can support our customers. The show is great for building strong, lasting relationships.

Philip Morris

UK and Ireland country manager, Bertoy Due to our customer demographic, Spring Fair is the most important fair for us in the UK calendar. It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to catch up with existing customers and meet potential new ones, and provides the first opportunity of the year for us to showcase our new products. For 2020, Bertoy will be welcoming the US Squishable plush brand to its portfolio. The range will be officially launched at Spring Fair; following its success in the US, we’re very pleased to be offering the Squishable line to the UK and Irish markets. The range will feature both animal and food related designs, in 18cm and 38cm size options.

Steve Aseby

National account manager, Cheatwell Games Cheatwell is very supportive of all trade shows; in 2019 we presented our games and gift ranges at 10 shows globally. Ask us where Spring Fair sits in that list and it’s in the top three for sure. We don’t have a showroom so it’s vital that we get in front of buyers at trade shows, and several key buyers tell us that Spring Fair is the only show they will attend. As the event is spread over five days, we get to spend quality time with a number of these buyers, which isn’t always the case at other trade shows. Spring Fair offers an opportunity to not just present our product packaging, but also to demonstrate each line, so that the quality, content, fun and value of our products can be truly appreciated. Fancy grabbing a blaster and firing off a few shots at your colleagues? Then come and see us at Spring Fair in Hall 4.

David Mordecai CEO, Tobar

For us, Spring Fair is an important part of the trade show calendar. It allows us access to a more diverse range of buyers than many other trade events and is especially useful for connecting with the gift market, which is getting broader every year. We show a wide range of products across many categories and covering all price points, making us a good starting point both for retailers who are moving further into the toy market and those who want to enhance their gift offering. We can cover all bases. Spring Fair really is a great one-stop showcase for us.

Anthony Temple

Managing director, Rainbow Designs January and February are jampacked with trade fairs for us, both in the UK and internationally, but Spring Fair is the fundamental show when it comes to showcasing our complete 2020 range to independent retailers. Run over five days, it’s a great event that allow us to spend quality time with our existing accounts and gives us the opportunity to meet new retailers.

introducing our new

collection TOBAR is excited to present an all-new range of traditional wooden toys that includes everything, from a play and learn clock, to dragons, unicorns and more!

Come and find us at Spring Fair 2-6 February 2020, Hall 5, Stand G20-H21, NEC Birmingham

A World of Fun!

Spring Fair 2020

Blue Sky Designs 01133 879 670 www.blueskydesigns.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5H18-J19 This years’ Spring Fair will be Blue Sky’s most ambitious to date, as the company has invested in a bigger stand in order to maximise the potential of all the ranges Blue Sky has to offer this year, both new and existing. An exciting new area of focus that visitors can enjoy is a dedicated Harry Potter shop, where attendees can enter through the arches to experience the ultimate production collection for budding wizards. With various props and feature themed displays, Blue Sky is hoping that customers will feel they’ve found their destination for all things Harry Potter. Blue Sky’s product development and design departments have been working across all key product categories to provide the most cohesive ranges with consistent quality and design throughout. The company is launching many new licensed products at this year’s Spring Fair, together with revamped packaging solutions in which the company has managed to either remove, or drastically reduce, the amount of single use plastics utilised. Many of the company’s feature pens and smaller products, which were previously packaged on blister cards, are now sold in new, plastic free window boxes. Blue Sky is also replacing plastic vacuum trays for holding contents in place within packaging with newly designed, clever card sleeve and rope solutions. The company constantly aims to ensure it achieves both a ‘wow factor’ and desirability, together with a guarantee of quality with all products. This reliability encourages repeat customers, making the ranges an attractive proposition for retailers. Blue Sky has seen increased demand for better product quality, better detail and longer lifespan on goods, as consumers move away from the throw away culture of cheap licensed products. The quality of the company’s product has been tailored to satisfy the consumer making more considered purchase decisions. Amongst the new product launches, Blue Sky is looking forward to showcasing its new Riverdale range at Spring Fair. The collection features items including bags, lunchware, stationery and wall banners. Riverdale is proving to be an extremely popular licence for 2020, and the company has reported a high volume of interest to date. The initial launch range is looking very strong, and the designs incorporate feature towelling patches on some products. There will be a host of innovative new products on show in the company’s Harry Potter collection, such as the magical liquid filled potion pen, a levitating wand pen, a self-stirring caldron shaped mug and collectible fabric wall banners. The fabric wall banners come in various designs and are presented rolled up, in small card tubes with no plastic packaging, which makes them compact enough to easily and effectively display on a shelf. The banners were the standout product for the company at the Harrogate gift show last summer, so Blue Sky has worked further on the range and is delighted to be offering an expanded selection this year. The premium quilted leather look backpacks with gold crest badges, finished in black and tan, will also be on show. There is a matching premium lunch bag - a must for discerning Harry Potter fans. The Friends range has been expanded for 2020 with the addition of denim backpacks, drinking flasks, wall banners and various new stationery products, giving customers a much broader range to choose from for fans of the popular show. New and existing customers are invited to visit Blue Sky’s stand this year, to meet the team and explore the expanded ranges and innovative product that the company has to offer.



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Fluffy Flamingo


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new catalogue

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Spring Fair 2020

Pioneer Europe 01279 501 090 www.Qualatex.com Hall 9, Stand D76 Pioneer Europe Ltd, European supplier of Qualatex and Northstar balloons, will be offering the first look at a host of new balloon and party ranges at Spring Fair. Visitors can expect to see displays that showcase the latest trends in balloon décor and themes, as well as great designs created by world-renowned balloon artists. On top of this, the highly anticipated new 2020 collections will be on display, focusing on the hottest trends and latest fashion and lifestyle themes. New products will include a large range of Qualatex latex, Microfoil balloons and exclusive Bubble Balloons, as well as new Pioneer Party products that feature coordinated tableware and party accessories suitable for any party and occasion. In addition to the new product ranges, Pioneer will also have Qualatex Instructors on the stand, showcasing the latest trends in designs and offering tips and tricks to help visitors develop their balloon display skills. Spring Fair visitors can also watch Qualatex Instructor demonstrations on the Party Stage in Hall 5. To make an appointment to see a regional account manager at the show, email pelorder@qualatex.com.

The Source Wholesale 01306 646 885 www.thesourceltd.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5J10-K11 The SOhi range from The Source Wholesale is designed for water, beach and city use. This collection of play gear is all about highenergy and imaginative play. The City section of the range leads with the SOhi Orbit, an ultra-high bouncing ball available in yellow, red, blue and green. The Orbit’s big brother is the SOhi Orbit XL, made using the same high-bounce tech and still perfectly suited to being used one-handed. The Orbit XL comes in yellow, red and blue. Topping off the City section is the SOhi Scatter, a random-bounce ball whose surface is specially shaped to ensure it scatters when bounced, delivering a rebound that is as random as it is high. For use in water, the SOhi Aqua is made using soft fabric and is designed to bounce on water’s surface, bringing a new dynamic to water-based ball games. The Aqua ball comes in four different tie-dye designs. The SOhi Aqua Skimmer skims along the water surface like a skipping stone. Equipped with a soft fabric coating, the Skimmer comes in four different tie-dye designs. The Beach range includes the SOhi Flexi Flyer, a flying disk made from durable silicone which comes in four designs that are split between marble-inspired and tropical. The Beach range also includes the SOhi Shuttle, a light-up shuttlecock for the new generation. The Shuttle’s LEDs flash when hit, ideal for play even after dark, and it comes in two bold designs. The SOhi range appeals to a wide variety of age groups with price points ranging from £6 to £8. The company also has four new additions to its best-selling STEM range, Construct & Create, launching early this year. The 6 in 1 Solar Recycler Kit promotes re-use and recycling. This kit includes everything kids need to build their own bots using common household items such as water bottles, cans and CDs. The Solar System Kit allows kids to build a scale working model of the solar system. The solar-powered planets move and orbit around the central sun. The Joystick Robot Arm allows the user to control a self-built robot arm using two joysticks. Each joystick has an 8-point range, allowing fluid, precise control of each movement. Using four axes, the user can move the arm in any direction, controlling the gripper to pinch objects with two claws, or pick them up using all four claws. This fun, educational build teaches robotics and gear transmission. The wearable Hydraulic Cyborg Hand is powered by water. Eight adjustment modules dynamically move liquid between one another, using the pressure changes to mimic muscle movements, allowing performance which mimics the movements of a human hand. Tribo the Robot promotes coding education and requires no computer or apps to operate and code. Simple actions can be coded using the keypad atop his head. Tribo can be transformed into three models: Shooter, Sweeper and Doodler, each of which includes fun and functional movements to explore.

The BIGGEST names in role play toys! Play indoors or outdoor!

Working suction!

Little Helpers love replica toys and with these ‘big name’ Casdon toys they can have tons of role play fun in lots of different ways! See us at: UK Spring Fair: 2-6 Feb, NEC Birmingham Stand 5L29

Real life fun & play Casdon Ltd., Cornford Road, Blackpool, Lancs FY4 4QW Tel: +44 (0)1253 766411 Fax: +44 (0)1253 691486 Email: toys@casdon.co.uk www.casdon.com

Spring Fair 2020

Wilton Bradley 01626 835 400 www.wiltonbradley.com Hall 5, Stand 5L10-M11 Wilton Bradley will be showcasing new toy launches at Spring Fair, plus beach ranges including Yello, Bestway and Volkswagen official licensed products. The new toy releases for 2020 include baking and cooking sets created for kids from the company’s new partnership with Nadiya Hussain. Wilton Bradley will also be introducing new toy sub-brand: Playhouse, which creates imaginative role play fun for kids through their very own play kitchen. Also on show will be craft sub-brands Sew Amazing & Knitting Circle, which introduce kids to the world of sewing. As part of its licensed partnership with Volkswagen, Wilton Bradley will be showcasing the VW camper van tent which is a 1:1 scale of the original T1 camper van. VW enthusiasts can take camping to the next level with this camper van tent that is easy to set up and comes with everything users need to go camping. Products from the Bestway range will also be available at Spring Fair. The stand will showcase a selection of the new large fashion floats in a range of striking designs, including a unicorn and alpaca. Also available is the H20GO! Constant Air range; these fun bouncy castle water parks feature vibrant colours and features such as water slides and sprays. Other items within the H20GO! range include a variety of different garden water slides, perfect for any garden throughout the summer months. The Garden Games brand offers fun for the whole family through a selection of popular games and encourages kids to enjoy playing outside. Products include a giant stack and fall, and a classic limbo, ideal for families. The Little Roots brand will also be showcased at Spring Fair and includes all the gardening tools little ones need to get started with having fun in the garden. The tools are specifically designed for little hands by being lighter with smaller handles. Kids can take great delight in planting and watching plants grow. The range aims to get them involved in gardening from a young age, thus giving them an appreciation of nature.

The Elf on the Shelf 0800 009 6177 www.elfontheshelf.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5M29 The Elf on the Shelf and Elf Pets is returning to Spring Fair 2020 and celebrating its sixth year with new additions to the North Pole range, designed to make memorable festive moments this coming season. The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition launched in 2005. Fifteen years on, the tradition is celebrated by millions of families. More than 13m of Santa’s Scout Elves have been adopted globally and there are now over 2,500 adoption centres to date in the UK, with a 50% growth in sales in the UK from 2018 to 2019. The brand has a host of new additions for 2020 including the Secret SnoPrize. To discover a snowflake surprise, kids pour water into the novelty globe, then watch as it fills with snow to reveal the secret figure hidden inside. The Elf on the Shelf is bringing its second advent calendar to market in 2020 with the new North Pole Advent Train. This train-shaped advent calendar counts down to Christmas with a daily surprise, including mini figures and themed playable accessories. The Claus Couture Collection fashion line for Scout Elves has a number of new fashions for 2020. New products that the brand will be showcasing at Spring Fair include Merry Minis, brand new character miniatures which come in blind bags for the surprise factor, encouraging collectability and making perfect stocking fillers for Christmas 2020. Further new lines include Insta-Moment Pop-Ups, with which kids can create instant scenes for their Scout Elf, by opening up and watching a unique backdrop come to life. Available in a five pack, the pop ups are easy to fold and store. The Soaring Snowflake Set is an elf-sized inflatable sled and scarf, and the new Sugar Plum Party Dress comes complete with sequins and a sparkly tutu. Also on show will be The Elf on the Shelf’s Night Before Christmas - a treasured classic story from a Scout Elf’s perspective. World’s Smallest The Elf on the Shelf is a miniature version of the original full-sized Elf On The Shelf Scout Elf. At less than four inches from the tip of his hat to the bottom of his feet, this mini Scout Elf has fully articulated arms, legs and head and is a perfect collectible item. On top of new products, the brand is also planning to release its fourth animated special, which will be released in the run-up-to Christmas 2020. The Elf on the Shelf and Elf Pets will be supporting the company’s return to Spring Fair with a multi-touch point campaign, which includes digital and social media and traditional PR support, as well as character costume appearances from the official The Elf on the Shelf and Elf Pets mascots.

Spring Fair 2020

Asmodee UK 01420 593 593 www.asmodee.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5J90-K51 Asmodee is bringing its best-in-class portfolio of board and card games to Spring Fair, with great products for wider retail including gift retailers. A must-have across the board is Dobble, which retained its title as the UK’s best-selling game for a second year in 2019. The game of speedy observation’s eye-catching tin and instantly accessible gameplay makes it an ideal gift purchase. Dobble is now joined by Dobble 360, a new twist on the original model. Maintaining the aim of spotting the single matching image between two cards, Dobble 360 adds a motorised component as cards constantly rotate, testing players’ memory skills as well as a keen eye. Following the acquisition of Green Board Games in 2019, Asmodee is now offering the acclaimed BrainBox range of educational games. Each BrainBox title challenges players to learn information against the clock, adding a fun competitive element to learning across a wide variety of topics. Great at bringing parents and children together at the table, the BrainBox collection is a part of Asmodee’s new Family Games range, which also includes Ticket to Ride London – the bite-sized spin-off of the worldwide hit Ticket to Ride. Also new for 2020 is the Party Games range, ideal for larger groups of friends or family looking to share fun and laughter. The range is led by Hint, now available for retailers across the UK after massive commercial success in Scandinavia. A guessing game for two teams, Hint will have players drawing, humming, miming and speaking to communicate secret words or phrases from categories ranging from types of pasta to charity singles.

Funko 020 3376 3223 www.funko.com Hall 4, Stand C72-D73 Spring Fair will see Funko extend its Pop! category and sub-brands including Funko Games and Loungefly, as well as launch new IPs. Funko’s ever-expanding range of Pop! always follows the latest trends and includes everything from super-sized variants to the introduction of chrome, clear, metallic, flocked and even glitter options. Whilst Pop! remains Funko’s most well-known format, this year will see a lot more focus and attention given to other sub-brands in the Funko portfolio. This includes softlines such as Loungefly and the growing apparel line including Pop! and Tees, Funko Home & Gift and the company’s newest category extension - Funko Games. This sector debuted with the popular Funkoverse light strategy game during the run-up to Christmas with DC, Harry Potter, Rick & Morty and Golden Girl offerings. Funko acquired board game creators Forrest-Pruzan Creative in early 2019, to form Funko Games. The company specialised in game invention, game design and playtesting, all of which Funko will continue to action under the Funko Games banner. Spring Fair will be showcasing new Funkoverse boardgame licences, as well as the introduction of new signature games yet to be announced - ideal for all gaming fanatics who enjoyed the previous iterations last Christmas. New Loungefly items will be introduced at the show, including new accessories from Harry Potter, Peter Pan, Mulan and Pixar., Attendees can count on getting a sneak peek of several of the upcoming exclusive Pop! lines, complemented with premium Tees featuring Funko stylised artwork. Funko Home & Gift is dialling up its collection by marking the 70th Anniversary of Cinderella with a nod to the classic Disney princess. Similarly, Mickey Mouse is getting a revamp with a Mickey Rainbow range and there are also Rick and Morty must-haves on the horizon to complement the new season.


(+44) 116 284 3640 www.pyramidinternational.com

COME AND SEE US AT SPRING FAIR Hall 5 Stand A30 To Discover Our Great New Collections For 2020! Including...

BATMAN and all related characters and elements © & TM DC Comics. (s20)


Spring Fair 2020

Hunter Price 0161 653 1306 www.hunterprice.co.uk Hall 9, Stand 9C60-D61 Hunter Price International is gearing up to make a real statement at this year’s Spring Fair, with its biggest and most engaging show to date. For its eighth Spring Fair, the company is setting out its stall with a host of leading brands, from Warner Bros, Tetris and Orb Toys, to Hasbro and Elf Mates. The Manchester based business, which specialises in toys, stationery, homewares, bags for life, seasonal & licensed products, will also unveil its 2020 own brand collections, created by retail and product experts at the Hunter Price Design Studio. Many exclusive product collections will be launched for the first time across the company’s portfolio of high-profile brand partners, including one of its newest partnerships, Warner Bros. As part of an agreement with the entertainment giant, Hunter Price will showcase ranges for Batman, Wonder Woman, Scooby Doo and Friends, across stationery, back to school, outdoor play, inflatables and pocket money toys. After a successful first year, Elf Mates, from the creators of Elf on the Shelf, is back and will premiere the Christmas 2020 collection. Hunter Price is the exclusive licensee for Elf Mates and its second season includes an extensive product range extension, with over 70 accessories to accompany the cheeky and fun-loving elves. With prices ranging from £1 to £5, Hunter Price will be looking to bring on board a select number of retail partners for this year’s festive period following a strong first year’s trading with exclusive retailer, Poundland. New and exclusive collections from Orb Toys will also take pride of place on the stand. As the UK’s leading distributor, Hunter Price will show a selection of Orb’s game-changing, trend setting brands, including Orb Arcade, Orb Odditeez and Orb Sprouti Palz. As well as its competitive licensed offering, Hunter Price’s design experts will present innovative in-house collections, which include stationery, storage, bags, drinkware and accessories. All brands and products featured at the 2020 Spring Fair will be underpinned by strategic marketing campaigns alongside partner brands and retailers, to maximise promotional opportunities across all key channels and seasonal spikes.

Rainbow Designs 01329 227300 www.rainbowdesigns.co.uk Hall 5, Stand H10-J11 There will be a host of new collections on display from The Home of Classic Characters at Spring Fair this year. Alongside the ever-popular Paddington Bear and Disney’s Classic Winnie the Pooh ranges there will be new collections from Peter Rabbit, Guess How Much I Love You, Miffy and the new addition to the Rainbow family, Snoopy. The new nostalgic Peter Rabbit Signature Collection has been created to help parents and grandparents share happy memories and traditional values of their own childhood with their children. These keepsake infant toys, featuring a ring rattle, comforter and soft toy formats, show Peter Rabbit and Flopsy Bunny in their most traditional form, creating heirlooms for generations to come. Rainbow Designs is also welcoming back Snoopy. 2020 will see the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Peanuts brand, and in celebration Rainbow will launch two distinct Snoopy collections. The ‘Everyone Loves Snoopy’ range features high quality classic soft toys of Charles Schulz’ iconic characters, including a Cuddly Snoopy and Woodstock and a Cuddly lying down Snoopy. The My First Snoopy collection will feature Snoopy and Woodstock rattle toys, ring rattles, My First toys and a comfort blanket. Both collections wil launch in autumn 2020. This year will also see the 65th Anniversary of Dick Bruna’s white bunny, Miffy, and to celebrate this milestone of the on-trend character, Rainbow Designs is launching a new Miffy Baby collection in a stylish and contemporary navy blue striped patterned. The collection features baby soft plush infant toys that are all suitable from birth, including a comforter, ring rattle, activity book and musical pull down toy. Rainbow Designs will launch a new collection, as part of the Guess How Much I Love You range, based on characters and sentiment from the muchloved classic children’s tale. The new collection includes the Large Nutbrown Hare holding a red heart with the message ‘I Love You to the Moon and Back’, as well as two Little Nutbrown Hare gifts, both delivering sentimental messages and presented in illustrate plinth boxes, complete with a gift tag ready for personalisation. The gift collection is ideal for special occasions including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Birthdays. As well as these new collections, Rainbow Designs will have its entire 2020 range on display at Spring Fair.

Come and see us at Spring Fair


For all enquiries



Spring Fair 2020

Amscan International Ltd 01908 288500 www.amscan.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5J70-K71

2020 is set to be a big year for Amscan, with a mix of new ranges joining its portfolio. The party product company has been busy developing new lines across its main categories of party products, balloons and dress-up, which will be showcased at Spring Fair 2020. Amscan is launching a range of licensed Warner Bros. costumes and accessories which will be ready to view at Spring Fair. The initial launch will include icons from the DC Universe, from Batman to Supergirl, as well as Scooby Doo and leading characters from the Wizard of Oz; with more to be revealed throughout the year. Other new licensed dress-up options for 2020 include Crash Bandicoot, Doctor Who, Money Heist, Paddington Bear, Stranger Things and new Trolls styles themed around the upcoming movie; all sure to add lots of character to any fancy-dress event or occasion. Disney fans will love Amscan’s new Mickey and Minnie Mouse foil balloons. Following the movie launch last November, Frozen II is set to be a major party theme for 2020. Amscan recently launched a Frozen II range of foil balloons by Anagram which includes a mix of formats to suit all budgets. Designs feature Anna and Elsa, as well as other key characters like Olaf, Kristoff and Sven. Amscan has also expanded its pre-school offering to include a colourful new Peppa Pig party ensemble, including tableware, decorations and favours, as well as co-ordinating foil balloons. What’s more there are also new Peppa Pig costumes and a George Cape, which make a fantastic gift or dress-up addition for a party. Joining Amscan’s party offering is a Dino-mite party ensemble and an On the Road range; both perfect for pre-schoolers. There is also a new Confetti Fun birthday range ideal for all ages which includes mix and match milestone options from ages 18-80. Visitors to Spring Fair will also get to see Amscan’s new spherical MarblezTM balloons by Anagram. There are six colour options in the range which make a stylish party decoration for any occasion. Iridescent continues to be a popular balloon trend and Amscan has added some eye-catching new juvenile foil balloons to its 2020 collection, including a Pastel Rainbow SuperShape, Cloud with Streamers SuperShape and Swan SuperShape - perfect for birthdays or baby showers.

Berg 0161 2478377 www.bergtoys.com Hall 5, Stand 5K30-L31

At Spring Fair, the company will be showcasing the Jeep Buzzy Rubicon, complete with off-road tyres, a round steering wheel with spinner knob, plus a hood adorned with a grill and angry-looking eyes. The Berg Buzzy is perfect for children aged 2-5. The Berg Reppy Racer features a low bucket seat, front spoiler and racing tyres, making this Reppy a true Racer. The sports steering wheel comes equipped with a sound box, and the Racer boasts four EVA 10” tyres that will never go flat, as well as a swing axle. The Reppy is perfect for children aged 5-6. Berg Trampolines has a large assortment of different trampolines on offer. Every part of each trampoline is designed and tested to ensure it is strong and safe. The protective edge, for example, is not only UV and wearresistant, it also fits perfectly on the jumping mat, ensuring great quality and safety.

VISIT US AT BIRMINGHAM SPRING FAIR! HALL 4 C72-D73 THE LARGEST LICENSE PORTFOLIO IN THE INDUSTRY! For any queries please contact us via email at orderseu@funko.com FunkoEurope




Spring Fair 2020

Posh Paws 01268 567317 www.poshpawsinternational.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5F24 As Posh Paws takes further steps into the gift industry in 2020, with plenty of new ranges, visitors to Spring Fair can meet Bailey Bear, a premium teddy bear from Posh Paws’ brand-new Chic & Love collection. Bailey Bear has been lovingly made from the highest quality materials and presented in a hand finished gift box. Adorned with Swarovski Crystals, Bailey Bear offers a unique gift giving opportunity for those wishing to send a special message. Complete with an exclusive Swarovski hologram, recipients are able to register its authenticity online. Another collection on offer is Posh Paws’ new range of Love Hearts, including two brand new themes. Full of fun, with sentimental and cheeky messages, the items make the perfect present for friends, family or loved ones. From the traditional era of rag dolls, the brand new Ragtales collection is a beautiful collection of British designed toys. Each product is made with handpicked fabrics, the softest velour, hand knitted clothing and all presented in distinctive quality packaging. The Ragtales collection offers a variety of toys from baby ranges to ragdolls, teddy bears to wooden toys; all centred on the cutest animal characters.

Pyramid International 0116 284 3640 www.pyramidinternational.com Hall 5, Stand A30 Pyramid International produces licensed products including posters, drinkware and accessories, and the company’s new 2020 ranges will be showcased at Spring Fair. Key brands and products on show include ranges designed to complement the upcoming Trolls World Tour movie. The sequel to the 2016 Trolls film is expected to be a big family film for 2020 and Pyramid International is supporting the release with product across its complete portfolio including posters and wall art, stationery, accessories and drinkware. The new range is bold and bright, thus tying in perfectly with the characters and world from the film. Pyramid International also has new collections for the upcoming debuts of Birds of Prey, Onward, James Bond, and Minions The Rise of Gru. Pyramid International will also be highlighting its continued development for the Frozen franchise. Building on the success Frozen II saw at the end of 2019, Pyramid will be showcasing its complete existing collection for the franchise as well as new additions. This will include fluffy Olaf and Sven notebooks, an ontrend Eco-Travel Mug and a host of accessories, among the many lines available. Another evergreen property of focus for 2020 is Star Wars. Collections for Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker, the conclusion to the epic saga, will be on show as will products for the popular Disney + show, The Mandalorian. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the latest Pyramid collections for brands including Nintendo, Stranger Things, Call of Duty, Friends, Harry Potter and more. Spring Fair attendees will also be able to discover a number of new product categories such as umbrellas for DC comics, Harry Potter and Friends which are due mid-February. Due at the end of January are oval mugs for Pyramid’s music licences, including Guns ‘n’ Roses, Queen and The Rolling Stones, as well as for all the Harry Potter Houses. These will be joined by new metal signs and a range of glassware.

Nuremberg Toy Fair Hall 1, Stand E22

Spring Fair

Hall 5, Stand H10 - J11

Peter Rabbit TM & © Frederick Warne & Co. Peter RabbitTM, the Movie © 2020 CPII All Rights Reserved.

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Spring Fair 2020

Gibsons 020 8661 8866 www.gibsonsgames.co.uk Hall 5, F30-G31 Gibsons is exhibiting at Spring Fair with its new array of jigsaw puzzles and games. The company has a brand-new stand design and there will also be a chance for customers to win prizes when they place an order over £450. Gibsons is adding seven new designs to its White Logo Collection. This is a range of design-led jigsaw puzzles for adults that are also kinder to the environment and designed and manufactured in the UK. Amongst the new releases are three 500pc designs including a celestial image, Written in the Stars, and Paper Flowers, a beautiful floral image created entirely from paper. The company will also be adding seven new products to its Little Gibsons range of fun and colourful jigsaw puzzles and games made for inquisitive pre-schoolers. Amongst the new releases will be Crunch Bunch and Woodland Friends, both of which contain eight two-piece puzzles, suitable for children 18 months and over, with big puzzle pieces that are perfect for little hands. Three Frogs More is one of the two games that was added to the range in January. A game for 1-4 players aged five and above, players score points by making rows of three or more frogs of the same colour. Finally, Gibsons Pass the Bomb range will be expanding with Pass the Bomb - The Big One. This is a frantic, fun game for nimble fingered know-it-alls. This action-packed version of the classic game Pass the Bomb provides family fun for all ages, with players testing their skills as they take on weird and wonderful challenges.

Tobar 01603 397105 www.tobar.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5G20 – H21 There will be a wide variety of gift items to choose from on the Tobar stand at Spring Fair this year, including a new selection of wooden toys, featuring traditional push puppets, squeaky cars, pullback and go unicorn and dragons, squeaky roly polys, noisy farm animals, puzzle blocks and a rainmaker. The items come in primary colours and a scandi-style design. The Animigos animated plush range embraces the company’s traditional-with-a-twist ethos, with animated toys that add an extra dimension to plush. This year Tobar is adding a limited-edition Magical Rainbow Bunny which will be available in time for Easter. Other additions are a cat, sheepdog, lion, giraffe and lamb. In the pocket money toys range, new Squiggle Bandz are multi-coloured bands that can be worn as bracelets or knotted together. When not stretched, they form an animal shape and are available in an assorted CDU, mixing neon, glitter and glow in the dark options. The Rainbow pocket money range features rainbows on pens, rings, hairclips, snap bands and putty. Embryonics is a brand-new collectible fusion of alien and slime. There are six coloured eggs to collect, each with one of six named aliens in three different colours. The packaging has a heat reveal sticker on the front. Each Alien has its own story and the Embryonics family is set to grow throughout the year. Atmosfear, the best-selling game of the nineties, is back. The updated version is fully interactive with a Gatekeeper who is more lifelike than ever. The new version is linked to an app, and can be played on the TV, tablet or mobile. Fifi the Flossing Sloth from Zuru’s Pets Alive range will be making an appearance, joining Boppi who will be back on stage for 2020 with her new rainbow coloured coat. She will be joined by new Robo Alive Raptors in red or green. For 2020, Zuru is also introducing Cuddles the So Soft Sloth, set to lead the way in soft animatronic pets. Cuddles has over 100 lifelike sounds and movements and the patented Air-Mazing technology allows smooth flowing movement to create a real emotional bond with kids. The 2020 range from Maisto and Bburago includes a classic Ford Capri 2.8 Injection and the new Radio Control X Ranger. Celebrating 110 years of the Bugatti, the Bugatti Chiron Sport special edition celebrates the famous Bugatti blend of sophistication and sportiness. The classic model Vespa Primavera 150 is available in red, white or blue.

Spring Fair 2020

Casdon 01253 608 428 www.casdon.com Stand 5L29 Following a successful year, Casdon will continue its international expansion in 2020 with its role-play toys and gifts for children having multilingual packaging, plus exciting features to keep kids busy in the playroom. Casdon combines pretend play with internationally renowned household names to bring replica appliances and role play accessories to the playroom. Whether children are Little Helpers, Little Cooks or Little Shoppers, there’s something in the Casdon collection for retailers across multiple categories. The Little Helper collection is the home of the Dyson replica vacuums. The Dyson Cord-free Vac is a direct replica of the life-size Dyson and has been specifically designed to be true to life, right down to the last detail. The model features working suction, spinning beads, realistic sounds and a twist and turn action, just like the real thing. The spinning beads will mesmerise children and will be an instantly recognisable favourite at home. Designed with the same bright colours as the real-life vacuum, kids will be able to feel grown up by pretending to clean the house just like their parents, as well as developing essential life skills. A further addition to the Little Helpers collection is the Hetty and Henry Vacuums. These robust multi-purpose vacuums have everything little ones need to help with day to day chores. Each vacuum will pick up small bits of paper from the floor, storing them in a removable drawer that is quick and simple to empty. Supplied with a T-shaped nozzle, the accessories pack away neatly at the back of the vacuum. Finally, for summertime, kids can use the Flymo Lawn Mower; another replica from Casdon Toys. The Flymo features a foldable handle for easy storage and a mechanical click when the mower is on the move. It also features the iconic orange base. For more information email roger@casdon.com.

H. Grossman Ltd 0141 613 2525 www.ozbozz.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5G30-H31 The Ozbozz brand is renowned for outdoor toys and 2020 sees new items on offer for younger children. There are two brand new balance bikes with adjustable handles. Perfect for pre-schoolers - the bikes come in two themes, dinosaur and unicorn. Sturdy and safe, these colourful balance bikes will be popular with both parents and kids. Capitalising on the popularity of toilet themed toys, The Poop Scoot is a colourful scooter featuring images of poo, with wheels which light up when moving. Also new for 2020 are remote control cars with great play value. The chunky vehicles are designed to retail at an attractive price point and make an ideal gift purchase, at under £10. Pocket money toys have been a great success for HGL and this year the company is investing even further in new pocket money lines. Go Flo Bucket is a combination of the latest flowing foam with a life of its own. Flowing through fingers and moving slowly along, it really looks like it’s alive. Multi-coloured putty in a mega pot is also on offer – retailing at under £5, this play putty is an ideal pocket money item. HGL is bringing Loom Bands back for a new generation of kids to stretch, knot and knit into their own designs and creations. Loom band gift sets will be available from an affordable retail price of £2.99, and larger sets will be available as a more comprehensive gift item.

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Visit Pioneer Europe at Spring Fair (Hall 5, Stand 5G80 – J81) or Spielwarenmesse (Hall 9, Stand D76) to see the latest from Qualatex and Northstar balloons and Pioneer Party products. Perfect for setting the scene at any party!

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Call 01279 501090 or email pelorder@qualatex.com for details

USA ©2020 PBC


Spring Fair 2020

Bertoy (32) 03 777 0533 www.bertoy.com Hall 5, Stand L28

The Squishable brand is joining the Bertoy family. A US company based in New York City, Squishable’s high quality plush range, offering everything from animals to fruits and vegetables, is designed to put a smile on everyone’s face. Opposites is an all new category from Crocodile Creek for 2020, featuring three different 48-piece puzzles which teach children to be inquisitive and observant. In the puzzles category, Crocodile Creek has even more novelties in store for 2020, including brand new 24-piece canister puzzles that will replace the previous shaped 24-piece puzzles. The new canister puzzles are a perfect on the go item and come with sturdy rope handle packaging For Back to School, Bertoy is bringing back all new insulated stainless-steel bottles and matching Bento Boxes On The Go. For older children, new 500-piece puzzles will provide the perfect challenge. These puzzles have themes that will suit both parents and children; children can work on the individual colour blocks and border, while adults tackle the more complex parts. Together they can create memories that will last a lifetime. The Mudpuppy classic Magnetic Tins are an ideal travel toy and quiet time activity. The sturdy tin packaging offers hours of imaginative play, along with easy clean up and storage of pieces. Kids can mix and match the magnetic parts for dressing up or making fun combinations. The magnets adhere to the tin itself for compact, portable fun. Tiger Tribe reinvents colouring with each new season. With the Tiger Tribe colouring sets, kids can colour in the animals with the markers included and secret patterns will emerge, adding an interesting and creative texture to their designs. Snails is a non-toxic nail polish where nature and technology come together to create a safe, innovative and fun activity. Going beyond ordinary children’s nail polish, the Snails collection has created the first water based and washable French kids’ nail polish. The nail polishes are made in France and the lead-free bottles are imported from Italy and manufactured in Greece. The collection is available in three gorgeous ranges: Classic, Rose and Snails Play, suitable for all different tastes and budgets. Accessories including lip gloss and body glitter are also available. Bertoy will be happy to discuss any items featured on its stand at Spring Fair. Alternatively contact the UK country manager, Philip Morris at philip@bertoy.co.uk or on 07748 150906.

Cheatwell Games 02392 524098 www.cheatwell.com Hall 4, Stand C62-D63 Spring Fair will once again see Cheatwell launch a brand new range of games, puzzles, novelties and gifts for the year ahead. Top-selling board game Tension has expanded with the launch of three new Tension Extensions. Each stand-alone game focuses on a single category; Music, featuring 10 Queen Hits; Movies, with categories such as Films Featuring Dogs; and Foodies, with titles like 10 Pizza Toppings and 10 Male Celebrity Chefs featured. Plop Trumps continues to be a top-seller for Cheatwell and this year it is joined by two new card games, Snot and Puke. With Snot, players lay their cards in order, from Ah-choo to Tissue. Players can change direction, or flick a bogey and miss a turn, but if they can’t go, they have to pick from the pack. The first player to play their last card wins the game. Puke is the game in which players fill up on food by flipping over one food card at a time – but if they turn over a Puke card, they will lose their lunch. The first player to fill their boots, but not their bucket, wins. Dinner Party Games allow for a dinner party with a difference. Each pack comes complete with a classic collection of post-pudding pastimes. Meanwhile, Christmas Games is a seasonal selection of games to entertain family and friends during the festivities. Cheatwell’s Top Trivia cards come in packs with a thousand category questions. 2020 sees the launch of a brand new series covering four decades, from the Swinging Sixties to the Nifty Nineties. Other hilarious and entertaining games include No way! a game of bluff, lies and surprise where players work to con themselves to victory and detect lies; the more adult version OMFG! which is rude and shockingly funny, with facts to make players laugh out loud… and others with that full-on 'ouch' factor and Sexy Charades, an adult party game where players act out and guess a whole host of suggestive charades, whilst trying to keep a straight face. Engenius Contraptions is a flat-packed marble run that is a puzzle to assemble but a delight to see in action. Powered by an electric motor, the marbles rise to the top before descending down the spiral and then the zig-zag track. Three new designs will be on show at Spring Fair.

Spring Fair 2020

Hailit 01254 872 454 www.halilit.co.uk Hall 5, Stand M33 Halilit Music is introducing a packaging rebrand for 2020. With a contemporary and stylish look that showcases the products perfectly, the new look makes an eye-catching statement for the well-respected manufacturer of quality musical toys. Alongside bright colours and updated photography, the new style also incorporates information about the developmental benefits of the products to increase consumer understanding and further encourage sales. Halilit already enjoys strong brand awareness with parents thanks to the use of its products in almost all toddler groups and music classes across the UK. The new look of the packaging and a striking new logo, alongside the clear brand messages, will help to further elevate the awareness and increase desirability of the range. With POS options available too, the company considers the brand a must-have for toy and gift retailers alike. Halilit also distributes Taf Toys, a stylish design-led range of developmental toys and gifts which has won several consumer and industry awards during the past year. For 2020, Halilit is introducing the Hunny Bunny Stacker, an award-winning and stylish stacking toy which includes handles for an easy grip, flat profile sides for rolling, added bead features and a cute bunny on the top. Halilit will also be unveiling new additions to Taf’s Koala Daydream, including the Koala Car Wheel Toy and My Feelings Crinkle Toy. Edushape focuses on sensory play and bath toys. The brand’s tactile and colourful Textured Pop Blocks, which offer substantial learning and developmental benefits, saw a surge in demand in 2019 following industry recognition. Offering 10 interlocking building blocks, this versatile product aids children with colour and shape recognition, counting and stacking.

Brainstorm 01200 445 113 www.brainstormltd.co.uk Hall 5, Stand 5M61 Brainstorm is adding brand new lines to the EUGY range in 2020. Launched at Toy Fair in 2019, the arts and crafts line has proved popular with retailers across varying sectors thanks to the sustainability of the product range, which has wide appeal to consumers looking to make more eco-friendly purchases. EUGY is an innovative arts and crafts collectible range that is made from environmentally friendly, biodegradable card with natural eco-friendly ink and non-toxic glue. Children can collect a wide range of different 3D creatures to build using a simple number sequence. New characters include a Mermaid, Humpback Whale, Turtle, Sloth, Zebra, Tiger and a new dinosaur; Tricera. Once built, the 3D models are sturdy enough to keep and display. Brainstorm has created bespoke POS for EUGY stockists that not only displays the product to maximum effect but also aligns with the sustainability of the product. A free-standing floor display unit and CDUs are available, including a wooden CDU. All POS options are supplied free of charge with a minimum order quantity, and free display models are also provided. EUGY is an ideal fit for garden centres, zoos and museums as well as traditional toy and gift retailers. With 20 different animals and creatures to choose from at impulse price points, retailers can stock the full range.

The dedicated UK team based in London’s Covent Garden can offer bespoke supply chain solutions for all sizes of retail operations.


Come see the Noble Collection at this year’s Spring Fair at the Birmingham NEC from 02 February to 06 February,

Hall 5: Stand F10-G11

ver the past 19 years The Noble Collection, under licence primarily from Warner Bros, has become established as a premiere brand for quality licensed merchandise. The flagship range of Wizarding World collectibles and prop replicas has gone from strength to strength alongside The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and DC Comics and the company is happy to announce new licence opportunities coming in 2020, the first of these being Jumanji.

The Noble Collection is continually adding to its offering, creating a whole new plush family of the cute Nifflers, which now includes a brand new Squishy Niffler. In addition, it also launched two new electronic Interactive Mandrake Plushies for Christmas 2019. Its range of card-mounted bendable characters has been a solid hit, with characters including the Bowtruckle, Dobby and the Cornish Pixie. The company is also adding to its wand selection, with more characters from the new and classic Wizarding World films.

The Noble Collection’s core lines have proven to be as popular now as they were when the company first launched them, demonstrating the evergreen popularity of the licences. The success of the Harry Potter range of wands shows no sign of waning and has been built upon with the introduction of a value wand collection at a pocket money-friendly price point.

Looking forward, The Noble Collection will continue to expand its range of products for the mass market sector, aiming to build upon the previous success of the Time Turner and Chocolate Frog keychains and value wand range, with attractive SRPs of £9.00 and £12.00 respectively.

The impressive sales trend is reflected across the entire range of product in the Wizarding World franchise, encompassing both the Harry Potter movies and the new Fantastic Beasts cinema releases. Capitalising on this success,

The company is also capitalising on its knowledge of the retail market with of a range of CDUs designed to capture the interest of the everyday shopper and impulse purchaser. An innovative Mystery Wand Collection is joined by the Mystery Box Magical Creatures

and Fantastic Beasts Mystery Wand Collection. These are just the beginning of the company’s expansion into this area of the market, with more to be launched during the 2020 Trade Fairs. Within The Noble Collection’s stable of licences, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings ranges, based on the Peter Jackson films, are a consistently popular part of the business, and with the anticipated Amazon big-budget TV series set to hit screens within the next two years, the company anticipates even more demand for timeless pieces such as the Evenstar, the One Ring and the Elven Leaf Brooch. Noble’s range of items, including delicate pieces inspired by the jewellery designed for the films, extends to more than just the iconic One Ring, encompassing both costume jewellery and items crafted from sterling silver alongside prop replicas and an exclusive chess set for the higher end of the market. Alongside these, mass market pieces such as keychains, letter openers and the brand-new Battle for Middle Earth PVC Chess Set and a plush Gollum are currently available, with more to be brought to market this year.

HARRY POTTER and FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM characters names and related indicia are trademarks and ©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights ©JKR. WB SHIELD™ & © WBEI (s18)


Toy World Magazine February 2020  

Toy World Magazine February 2020