President’s Letter – February 7, 2012: Opportunity Knocks

The Hong Kong and Nuremberg fairs were busy and productive this year, and events there affirmed the increasing importance of license properties in the toy business.  In Hong Kong, the Licensing Show has grown from 15 to 170 exhibitors.  And in Europe, NPD reported that sales were particularly strong for licensed toys in Germany: up 24%. 

In Hong Kong, a new Asian Licensing Association (ALA) has been formed to mimic LIMA in the U.S., and in Europe, I was pleased to facilitate new linkages between LIMA and European toy organizations.  In response to the increased importance of licensing in the toy business, Toy Fair will provide an important forum for licensors and licensees who will have plenty of opportunities to negotiate deals for their developing properties with qualified toy vendors at the Fair.

And there was other interesting news at these fairs as well.  In Nuremberg, NPD reported that they are seeing significant new trends that bode well for the toy industry.  For the first time ever, sales of traditional toys to older children ages 6-11 have increased at double-digit rates, while sales of toys to younger children have remained flat.  NPD’s conclusion is that toy companies are successfully incorporating new technology into toys in ways that attract older children, so in contrast to the “KGOY” (kids getting older younger) threat that confronted the industry several years ago, they see a new trend of “KGOO” (kids getting older older), renewing the interest of older children in traditional toys.   

I can’t wait to see what is new at our Toy Fair in New York.  The show sold out early this year, and we opened up new space in Special Events Hall 1D to accommodate exhibitors who would otherwise be foreclosed from displaying their new products to retailers.  TIA member companies are taking larger exhibit space this year, and pre-registration numbers from major mass-market retailers indicates double-digit growth!

The toy industry is as vibrant as ever.  See you in New York!

Warm regards, 

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ckeithley@toyassociation.org