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The Top 4 Trends From Toy Fair New York

Precise TV at the Toy of the Year Awards in New York

After a three year hiatus the Toy Fair returned to New York this past weekend and there was a noticeable buzz about being back in the Big Apple. With hundreds of exhibitors showcasing new products and prototypes, the Toy Fair is one of the biggest events in the industry’s calendar.

Here are the top four trends toy trends we saw:

Sustainable Toys

Throughout this year’s Toy Fair, there were a number of brands that were on a mission to bring more sustainable practices into their design and manufacturing. Over at Green Toys, ocean bound plastics are recycled into toy planes, and no plastics are used in packaging, only recycled cardboard. Tender Leaf toys create beautiful wooden toys made with trees that are a by-product of the latex industry, saving those trees from being wasted. Sustainability is brought into play with the Green Planet Explorers toys from Hape. Bamboo and plastics made from sugar cane, along with other sustainable materials are used to craft toys that educate children on the natural world. Plan Toys have long been champions of sustainability and their toys are designed and manufactured to last a long time; they even offer tips on increasing the longevity of toys.

Diversity 

There was great energy at the Fresh Dolls stand. The brand, developed by Dr Lisa, is on a mission to create ethnically diverse dolls and toys. With children learning so much through play, the aim is to have a diverse toy box that represents a wide range of ethnicities, teaching them important lessons about inclusivity and diversity. In Kidz also has inclusivity at its heart. Their range includes ‘culture kits’ that educate kids on a range of different cultures including Black America and Persia.

Plushies 

Sometimes life imitates art, and in other cases it’s Beanie Babies who imitate art. Dominating the entrance to the Javits Center were unmissable banners of TY’s Beanie Babies irreverent takes on famous paintings and movie posters, including Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, Wood’s American Gothic and, a personal favorite, The Silence of the Lambs.

It wasn’t just TY showcasing plushies, they were all over the exhibition halls. This year’s winner of the Plush Toy of the Year and Collectible of the Year, Jazwares, had a large stand in the center of level 3, as their Squishmallows product continues to be extremely popular. This achievement was reflected in Laura Zebersky, president of Jazwares, winning the prestigious Visionary Leader Award at the Women In Toy Awards. 

Just Play has introduced interactivity into plushies with the singing and dancing Elmo Slide. It was introduced at the Toy Fair with an accompanying flash mob, drawing big crowds.

At other booths, there were interesting takes on plushies. Moon Pals had weighted plushies, which are claimed to reduce anxiety, while Starpony’s Mewaii® Loooong is available in a range of lengths all the way up to 52 inches. One thing is certain, plushies popularity is going nowhere.

Robots and AI

Interest in AI has exploded this year, with Google searches up 4x from the same time last year. While not a dominant trend at Toy Fair yet, it was interesting to see how it was being brought into consumer products. Thames and Kosmos have created a robot as a way to introduce AI to children. KAI, short for Kosmos Artificial Intelligence, learns different audio and visual commands, and teaches kids how AI models respond to input data. The impressive product was named Specialty Toy of the Year. WowWee introduced us to their new Dog-E toy. The robot allows different family members to set up unique profiles and interact with it in varying ways.  Meanwhile, robotics brand Miko’s entire range uses AI, from companion robots to an AI-powered chess game. Arizona GameGo had created a card game entirely using AI. The catchily named Monkey Says Baa? is a combination of snap and Simon Says. We’ll be carefully watching how AI will further be incorporated into the toy industry. 

Our team had a fantastic time at the event and we are already looking forward to the next Toy Fair, in London January 2024. Precise TV will have a dedicated lounge to meet with you. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about advertising your toy brand on YouTube, YouTube Shorts and TikTok whilst adhering to strict COPPA compliances, reducing up to 60% media wastage and achieving up to 50% improvement in view-through rate, please get in touch here.

Topics: advertising, contextual targeting, digital, ToyFair