Tech at Toy Fair 2019
A Q&A with Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events, The Toy Association
Dealerscope: What are the Association’s estimates in terms of square footage that will be occupied at the Javits Center, and can you provide an estimate as to the number of exhibitors (and will that be up or down)? Back in October the estimates were that the 2019 show would attract more than 30,000 buyers and other visitors.
Marian Bossard: At Toy Fair ’19, approximately 445,000 square feet at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center will be filled with hundreds of thousands of new toys and games. This is the largest the Toy Fair has ever been and the show is essentially using every inch of available space at the Javits Center.
Buyers and other trade guests will have access to 1,000 unique global toymakers, including first-time exhibitors whose cutting-edge toys and games will be featured in the Launch Pad section (Hall 1E), and veteran brands that have been showing fresh and creative product lines at Toy Fair for decades. In all, nearly 30,000 global play professionals will be attending Toy Fair to spot next holiday season’s most coveted toys and games and to make lucrative deals.
Talk about the show’s increasing attractiveness as a venue for exhibition for manufacturers of “tech toys,” such as drones, STEM and STEAM learning toys, robotics, Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR)-related toys, headphones optimized to protect children’s hearing, interactive toys of any kind (i.e., Fingerlings by WowWee), etc. Do you expect a rise in these types of exhibitors? Are there any tech areas that will be especially on the rise and more greatly in evidence at the 2019 show and if so, what would they be?
Bossard: Toy Fair is the place to see the newest and hottest toys and games coming to market, including innovative tech toys. Over the last few years it has been apparent that tech toys are not just a separate category anymore. Rather, toy companies have been incorporating technology into products to enhance all types of classic play and engage children in new ways – whether it be an educational toy using AR or VR to bolster learning; interactive dolls, pets, and robots that respond to your commands; or technology toys and games that get kids up and moving. We expect to see even more ground-breaking tech playthings revealed at this year’s show.
Is the Toy Fair planning any special keynotes or conferences or panels at the Toy Fair that would address the growing interest in tech toys or “youth electronics”?
Bossard: Attendees will be privy to a lineup of rich educational sessions to help them stay current on industry happenings and learn about compelling topics related to the toy industry to help them succeed. Of particular interest to professionals is always The Toy Association’s Toy Trends Briefing, taking place on Sunday, February 17. The Association’s trend experts will share an exclusive first look at the top toy trends in toys and games for 2019, using product examples from the show floor. It is always an impactful session for buyers looking to hone in on new products, including the latest in tech toys, and emerging trends that will attract toy consumers to their stores.
Where on the web can our retailer readers get more information about the show? And tell us why tech retailers should be excited about attending.
Bossard: If you’re looking to find what’s new, what’s next, and what’s trending in the world of tech toys, Toy Fair New York is a must-stop destination. Retailers can visit ToyFairNY.com or download the free Toy Fair Mobile App (available in the Apple Store and Google Play) for information on registration, exhibiting companies, special events, educational opportunities, hotel bookings, and more. Toy Fair will also have a vast presence on social media and it is a fantastic way to keep tabs on all there is to see and do while at Toy Fair, including engaging activations, product demonstrations from the show floor, and important announcements. For up-to-the-minute happenings at the show, be sure to follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/TheToyAssociation); on Instagram (toyfair_ny); and on Twitter (@toyfairny).
To help buyers prepare for the show, The Toy Association hosted a free webinar at the end of November where show organizers provided answers to commonly asked questions including:
- I’ve registered as a retailer … what should I do to prepare for Toy Fair?
- Are there any educational sessions for me at Toy Fair?
- Where should I stay during the show?
- How do I find and make appointments with companies that fit my buying needs?
Buyers interested in listening to a recording of the webinar may contact Jackie Retzer, manager of audience relations at The Toy Association, at JRetzer@toyassociation.org.
The 116th North American International Toy Fair will take place Saturday, February 16 to Tuesday, February 19 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City.