President’s Letter: Gearing Up for Toy Fair New York 2020
February 18, 2020 | The wait is almost over as The Toy Association unveils the 117th Toy Fair New York on February 22, gathering tens of thousands of global toy professionals to preview hundreds of thousands of new and innovative playthings before they hit retail later this year. New York City’s crucial financial and media communities will also again play integral roles further cementing the show’s worldwide prominence.
Meaningful Educational Sessions, Events, and Experiences
Toy Fair New York continues to serve both as a gateway to the world’s most lucrative toy market, the $27 billion U.S. toy industry, and as a platform for America’s toymakers to expand around the world. The show also continually grows its educational offerings for attendees (designers, inventors, retailers, distributors, wholesalers, licensors, vendors, and others) and does so at a time when now, more than ever, the global landscape of retail and consumer preferences are evolving at a breakneck pace.
Just as we see a more experiential retail landscape taking shape, so too will attendees find niche sessions, events, and experiences that satisfy the creative and financial needs of their businesses.
Looking beyond the sold-out show floor, which will feature 122 first-time exhibitors and 100+ countries represented, this year’s Toy Fair will offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy the work of renowned toy photographer Mitchel Wu in a new photo gallery as well as open its doors to the first-ever Student Congress Day, holding workshops and open-booth hours to inspire the next generation of play creators.
New educational programming will examine some of the industry’s most pressing issues with sessions ranging from an in-depth conversation on responsible manufacturing opportunities in regions outside China to a toy safety and compliance update that addresses the threat of counterfeits and trade issues impacting toys. A Toy Association member-exclusive meeting will offer attendees perspectives from Target’s experts on upcoming requirements for toys and from The Toy Association’s External Affairs team on the industry’s sustainability action plan already underway. These and other sessions aim to provide attendees with essential information and tools they need to navigate the retail landscape of today and tomorrow.
Steadfast Support for the Design & Inventor Community
Now in its 18th year, Toy Fair’s Creative Factor programming is again at the intersection of play and technology, delving into topics that impact and benefit the inventor and designer community. On Friday, February 21, select toy designers and inventors will take to the Javits Center a day in advance of the show’s opening to pitch their products to top manufacturers and inventor relations teams during CF@TF Inventor Day. The lineup for the four official show days will include workshops and tech demos; roundtable discussions on topics like STEM/STEAM; sessions that explore more diverse and inclusive design practices, sustainability, the new TRU Kids experience, the use of AR/VR in stores, and more; and even a Robots on the Runway show that puts the latest innovations in robots for service and play on display.
The Escalating Threat of Coronavirus
While Toy Fair New York is again a celebration of the global toy and play community, the impact of the coronavirus on the show itself and on toy manufacturing over the coming months looms large. Foremost regarding the health and safety of show attendees, The Toy Association has taken and will continue to take all necessary precautions – amplifying a norm for the show as it always occurs during the height of the U.S. flu season. This includes making sanitizing and disinfection materials broadly available throughout the venue and the decision to cancel the China Pavilion, following thoughtful consultation with our partners and exhibit organizers, the China Toy & Juvenile Product Association.
Beyond safeguarding personal health, an issue that will pervade all conversations at Toy Fair will be the impact of coronavirus on our members’ manufacturing partners in China and what this unfolding crisis means for supply chains and product delivery during the balance of 2020 including the essential holiday season. We invite members of the toy community to share your feedback on how the coronavirus is impacting your businesses so we can best support you and advocate on your behalf in the weeks and months to come.
As we enter 2020, the business of toys continues to face unexpected hazards and an evolving marketplace that together we must navigate. With all this in mind, for five special days in February our commitment is to make Toy Fair New York 2020 yet another outstanding business and network building experience for everyone in the toys, games, and play community. We can’t wait to see you there!
President & CEO
Follow me on Twitter @StevePasierb
A full schedule of show events can be found at www.ToyFairNY.com or in the Toy Fair Mobile app, available for free on iTunes and Google Play.
Registration is mandatory for access to Toy Fair 2020. Those who can’t make it to the show can follow Toy Fair on Twitter and Instagram (#TFNY) and visit the Toy Fair Online Press Room and The Toy Association's Facebook page for up-to-the-minute show updates.