President’s Letter – April 2, 2013: Strong Vital Signs in the Toy Industry

2013 is off to a strong start and there are great signs of health in the toy industry as we take a quick look back at the First Quarter. Here were some of the highlights:

  • NPD made an upward revision in its mass market toy sales data for 2012, indicating growth – albeit marginal – in toy sales over 2011.

  • The toy business is all about the quality and creativity of the next new crop of products. Exhibitors at the NY Toy Fair were consistently enthusiastic about brisk show traffic and purchase orders. What we experienced at Toy Fair signals robust sales of creative new toys in 2013.

  • Even before the doors to Toy Fair opened, exhibitors displayed high confidence in their products and sales prospects; they occupied a record high of more than 375,000 net sq. ft. of exhibit space, with the average exhibit size increasing to 353.6 sq. ft. Though an untimely snowstorm delayed arrivals and made exhibitor set-up a bit more challenging, the show opened on schedule with only five of the 1,063 exhibitors unable to attend due to the weather.

  • Global attention for NY Toy Fair also reached new heights with double-digit increases across international guest categories and great media coverage of the show. 

Toy markets outside the U.S. are seeing significant growth and looking to the American toy industry as the source of innovative and creative new products. We have launched a new market research project to gather data that will help our members enter the key growth markets of Brazil and China.

Additionally, Anne McConnell joined TIA in February as Director of Research and Data Strategy, a newly created position on our team. Anne has an MBA from St. John’s University and 20 years of experience in market research in both for-profit and not-for-profit environments. She is working with a broad swatch of data and research organizations to develop new information that TIA can make available to our members to help them make good business decisions.  

Watch for new sources of solid toy business intelligence emerging from TIA soon.

TIA’s mission is to be a “leading force in the growth and health of the global toy industry.” We encourage all of our members to rely upon TIA as a resource and let us know how we can best support you and your business. If you are not a member, we invite you to join us and see all that TIA can do to help your business prosper.

I look forward to seeing everyone next month at PlayCon in Arizona (May 6-8) and California Toy Day in Sacramento (May 14-15).

Warm regards to all,


ckeithley@toyassociation.org