President’s Letter: Fall Toy Preview ’17 – Energy, Trends, and Sales Dominate in Dallas

October 10, 2017 | They came, they saw, they discovered, they bought!  All the essential elements for a successful marketplace were in play for Fall Toy Preview ’17. Well over 600 registered buyers helped drive the success of the October 3 to 5 show, including representatives from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, Toys“R”Us, Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Family Dollar, CVS Health, Sam’s Club, and Michael’s Stores. Among the retailers was a wide range, from drug stores and supermarkets to discount chains and department stores.  In total, Dallas welcomed 2,838 attendees from 20 countries.

Based on the overwhelming majority of buyer and exhibitor feedback and the upbeat mood at the Dallas Market Center last week, Fall Toy Preview 2017 was a business success. Attendees tell us that it continues to be a critical stop on the long-lead buying circuit, and this year was no exception, with innovative toy lines, creative takes on classics, and unique trends for next year’s fourth quarter spotted throughout the marketplace. And there were plenty of orders placed for the current season as well. I love that the show is focused on the future, yet can address buyer needs for exciting product here and now. 

Just over 320 toy companies displayed new and emergent product lines in closed, open, or combination booths. I visited or snuck a peek at K’NEX, Adora, Alex Brands, American Plastic Toys, Basic Fun!, Diggin Active, Endless Games, Green Toys, HEXBUG, Jazwares, Ravensburger, Schleich, TOMY, and Wicked Cool Toys, just to mention a few. Several exhibitors told our team that they were fully booked with buyer appointments, had several drop-ins, and got enthusiastic feedback on their 2018 lines. Even when the halls seemed quiet it was because the booths were full and deals were being done.

The reality of the Toys“R”Us reorganization was certainly on everyone’s minds and in countless conversations, yet business went on, the Opening Night Party was a great celebration of our industry, and everyone focused on how to keep their companies and lines vibrant for an evolving consumer base. It was also clear that the steps to refresh and strengthen Fall Toy Preview in recent years ensure that it continues to deliver the best possible experience for our members. We remain focused on delivering great value by connecting key buyers with vendors in the most efficient, timely, and economical manner possible.

Elsewhere, Fall Toy Preview’s continued partnership with Women in Toys’ Empowerment Day, held Monday the 2nd gave companies even more opportunities to sell, learn, and network while in Dallas. Representatives from were also on-hand throughout the show to help even more buyers and sellers discover the platform, which extends the toy community’s go-to-market events by allowing companies to connect and place orders online every day of the year. And FOX once again reported from the Dallas Market Center with our trends team, who highlighted members’ toys from the current selling season in a series of broadcast segments aired on FOX affiliates nationwide.

Finally, the Fall Toy Preview Opening Night Party did indeed give attendees a chance to unwind and mingle in a fun-filled atmosphere in support of a great cause. Proceeds from the party went to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston via our Toy Industry Foundation. It was heartening to see the huge crowd benefitting kids in Texas affected by the devastation left behind by Hurricane Harvey.

As everyone’s attention now turns back to this year’s fourth quarter, I wish you all a successful selling season, and look forward to reconnecting with you in November at our major business-to-consumer event – Play Fair!

All good wishes,
Steve Pasierb
Follow me on Twitter: @Steve Pasierb