PERSPECTIVES: Trend Tidbits from TIA

September 27, 2013 | The Toy Industry Association’s (TIA) trend-tracking team will be at Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, meeting with more than 100 companies to preview their 2014 lines. This long lead trend-scouting helps TIA to determine the hottest new trends in toys, games and youth entertainment products for the following year. In addition to toy trend-scouting, TIA’s experts have also been tracking what’s hot in other industries. Adrienne Appell, senior manager of public relations, gives Toy News Tuesday readers the inside scoop …

Having a solid knowledge of what’s hot in other industries, such as entertainment, fashion and music, is crucial for toy manufacturers, retailers and other industry stakeholders looking to stay relevant with today’s hip kids.  Trends that are gaining serious momentum in the world outside of toys could potentially impact the shopping habits, likes, and dislikes of children and their families.
 
Although trend-tracking can be fun, it’s also daunting. Trends and fads move at the speed of light, and with so many outside influences it’s hard for companies to keep up. The TIA trend team does the groundwork so that our members can tap into some great potential ideas and collaborations that can help them grow and sustain their businesses.

The following is a selection from TIA’s most recent trend observations – many of which are expected to impact the development of future toys and games:

  • Upcoming Color and Pattern Trends
    During New York Fashion Week, fashion forecasting company WGSN (the official trend sponsor of the bi-annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week) called out candy-colored pastels as a top trend for spring 2014. To liven up the softer tones, WGSN also pointed out that vivid splashes of all hues of blue – from icy aqua to navy – will add a pop of color in the early-2014 trend palette. Elle magazine has predicted a continuation of big florals, art-inspired prints and offbeat pastel combinations.
  • Nail Art
    The “marvelous mani” trend, which launched in part as a result of the recession (manicures are more affordable than couture clothing) has reached new heights and continues to grow. Gone are the days when models used to wear neutral colors or no polish at all – today, true fashionistas take note of the manis seen on the runway.  Allure even showcased some of this year’s top fashion week nails on its website. 

    The trend has taken social media and pop culture by storm, with countless websites dedicated to the art. The Emmy Awards red carpet coverage now features a “mani cam” for stars to show off their nails; in some cases, celebrities even name the color and make of their nail polish. Expect this trend to continue to grow with teens and tweens.

  • Abstract Jewels
    Stijlinstituut Amsterdam, leading trend forecaster in Holland, predicts that jewelry design will shift from the classical historical influences (like the royal jewels) to more abstract pieces, allowing for more creativity and innovation. New ways of manufacturing have encouraged the use of fresh materials like acrylics and synthetics – and iridescent and mother-of-pearl type hues are expected to be all the rage. 

  • Music to Our Ears
    Top musicians influence toys and the major licensing deals that ensue as their popularity increases, especially among the tween and teen set. Some notable artists to keep an eye on include: 

    16-year-old New Zealander, Lorde, is slated to be one of the biggest pop acts this fall.  Her song, "Royals," has already sold over 600,000 copies here in the US, topping both the alternative and the rock radio charts.

    London rapper/producer K.A.N.T.A. is all the rage in Japan right now.  His sound has been described as a mélange of classic rock and The Beatles infused with high-end hip-hop.

    Bastille is a London-based pop band that just released their first album, Bad Blood. Already a sensation in the UK, they are hitting the road and touring the U.S. Eastern seaboard.

  • Coffee Culture
    With the rise (once again) of independent coffee shops around the globe, the coffee culture is back in a big way. The next level?  Coffee-pairing menus where food is served with an accompanying complimenting taste of select java. Perfect pretend play for the next budding chef or barista! 
TIA continuously researches and reports on overarching societal and parallel industry trends that might influence the toy industry, in addition to trends in the toy marketplace. For full reports and updates, visit www.ToyAssociation.org/Trends

Questions and requests for additional information may be directed to PR@ToyAssociation.org. Toy companies that would like to showcase their latest product lines to the TIA trend-tracking team for media and other consumer-facing promotional opportunities are encouraged to contact Adrienne Appell (646.520.4853 / aappell@toyassociation.org). Preference is given to TIA members.