About The Toy Fair
Toy Fair 2015 was the 62nd annual Toy Fair. It is the only dedicated toy, game and hobby exhibition in the UK, with more than 260 exhibiting companies all under one roof. These range from large internationals to the new start-up companies. Showcasing many toy types such as electronic, outdoor, educational, teddies, dolls, board games, puzzles, jigsaws, popular television ranges, balls, licensed toys, skateboards, bicycles, micro scooters, roller skates, eco-friendly, wooden, pre-school, family, construction, puppets, scientific – and much much more.
The importance of The Toy Fair to a Blogger
The British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA), in partnership with the NPD Group, has announced that the British toy market has increased by 2014 in 2014. That Black Friday week saw an increase of 10% with sales higher than the week before Christmas (traditionally the largest selling week in the toy market). What this says to me (as a parent) is actually to budget for Christmas shopping on this date again this year. 38% of toy sales are online – up 11% in the last 12 months (source The NPD Group/Consumer Tracking Service, 12 months ending September 2014). What I feel this means for me as a Blogger is that I personally feel that these results are because parents are more and more coming to rely on information about toys online, and are planning to buy their toys for the best price.
Newly launched products accounted for 37% of annual sales, with a 16% increase on 2013 figures. “Each year tens of thousands of new toys are launched at Toy Fair,” Frederique Tutt, Toys Global Industry Analyst for the NPD Group. This year there were “49 new toy companies, including 45 first time exhibitors. The Greenhouse Area plays a vital role in launching many new companies into the toy industry,” Jon Diver – Toy Fair Chairman. This means that my audience will want to know about the latest toys. Toy Fair provides visitors the ability to touch, feel and experiment with the products of the future but also offers a fantastic networking opportunity. I went along to see what new products to expect this year and to discover new companies.
New Toys learning from Last Year’s Toys
It is important to consider where the demand is. 2014 saw a lot of children making things with the Top 10 best-selling toys, being linked to strong licences, movie or cartoon. Although Loom Bands may have come and gone it seems Frozen is still high in popularity. I was really pleased to see a lot more Olaf products as my son isn’t particularly into dolls or pink. 2015 sees plenty of excitement for those who love toys of all age with the next instalment of Jurassic World and the latest Star Wars.
Vtech (Corp)’s Kidizoom Smart Watch (which has new colours for 2015) was one of my favourite toys of 2014 so I was pleased to see that it was one of the top ten toys. Therefore, it was great to see that the Kidizoom Action Cam (5+ years, RRP £49.99) received an Editors’ Choice Award. It allows children to take photos and videos on the go and comes complete with a waterproof case. It has mounts for bikes and skateboards and reminded me very much of my Go Pro. In an era of so much technology and so many young people on YouTube I think this is a fantastic product for youngsters who want to add photo effects to their images or create videos. They won a Pre-School Best New Toy Award for their Toot-Toot Friends Busy Sounds Discovery House – which even has a working lift. They have also introduced a Sheep, Pig, Donkey, Cow and Horse to the popular range of Toot-Toot animals – all with their own fun phrases and realistic sound effects. They have also entered the doll market with Little Love Baby Talk and the girls’ collectable category with the launch of Flipsies.
Vtech are also relaunching the Kidizoom with a new dual lens (front and back), You and me photo effects, stop motion video creator, 5 great games and 4 x digital zoom button to switch from front to back lenses.
Great People at Toy Fair 2015
Whilst I was waiting to see Vtech I got to see eight-piece boy band Stereo Kicks. The former X-Factor heart-throbs, who were mentored by Louis Walsh, kindly stopped to have their photo taken. They were amongst many big named stars such as Pixie Lott, Justin Fletcher, Vernon Kay, lots of Toy Characters and much much more. But as well as those I met YouTubers Nigel from Toy Testers Tv and Beau from Beau’s Toy Farm; as well as many people I had only ever e-mailed and new people.
Favourite Toys for 2015
There were so many great toys and I will be telling you more about them over the coming year. Particular favourites are The Frozen Mosiac by Numbers (Asobi), Flair have an AMAZING new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle range, Scooby Doo is going to be big (as anything to do with movies – Frozen, Minions, Big Hero 6, Spongebob, loving some of the New Monopoly’s coming out, the Nerf weapons, Hatch ‘n Heroes (Ban Dai). Magic Snow Sleeve (Flair) so that you can magically realease snow and ice like Elsa, Twirly Woos (Golden Bear) and I did like the addition of Mario Kart™ 8 to the K’NEX range, plus the Mario figures and blind bags. I liked new comers Wannabees (who have already won The National Toy Talk Awards for best Role Play) because I really felt that their product helped give the message to children that they could be who they wanted to be: So girls can be equipped to become doctors. I also really like Anagranimals (who won ToyFair Best New Toy Award 2015). Although I never made it around to their stand I took a press pack which had their book in it and immediately both my boys (5 & 7) loved it. It is a great concept of the animals not being happy with what they can do so they swap body parts with other animals, but in the end they realise they were happy being themselves.
Top Toy Choice 2015
Maybe it helps that I am a massive Lego Fan, and so is the entire family, but I really believe that LEGO have come out on top for toys this year. I cannot tell you about everything in the pipeline but it is all very exciting.
LEGO won all 3 Best New Toy Awards for Construction: Bionicle Master Assortment (#70784); Minecraft: The Dungeon (#21119); Disney Frozen: Elsa’s Sparkling Ice Castle (#41062).
They unveiled new ranges including LEGO Elves for girls to launch in March, and LEGO Speed Champions, a partnership with Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche and the relaunch of Ninjago (which returns with Season 4 ‘Masters of Spinjitzu’ episodes airing on Cartoon Network in February 2015!
Some of the things that I can share are my favourite new Disney Princess Aurora (Lego Disney Princess Sleeping Beauty’s Room #41060), that I am super excited about the new additions to Lego Friends including the strong positive messages for girls from LEGO Friends Mia’s Roadster and LEGO Friends Vet Clinic. My favourite mini figures from Series 13 are the Hot dog guy, The Leaflet King and the Leaflet Unicorn Girl. Obviously these are blind bags and I was lucky enough to receive one from The Toy Fair.
Of course it’s not all work and no play – I mean it is a Toy Fair. There were Haribos, Champagne, Milkshakes and a free massage.
There is absolutely loads more Toys that I have not even begun to cover and I am sure I will be kicking myself about something fantastic I have forgotten. Do check back as I am making a video to showcase the event and will definitely by sharing more about the toys.