President’s Letter: First Toy Fair Everywhere Market Week Delivers Vital Sales & Learning
July 21, 2020 | You proved it again. The toy community is stronger when we pull together!
The first-ever 100 percent digital market for the global toy community wraps up today – and what a week (plus two bonus days) it has been! Thank you to all the pioneers who took part in week one of Toy Fair Everywhere, whether you were an exhibitor whose products were among the nearly 30,000 items showcased, one of thousands of participating retail buyers in search of innovative toys to stock shelves through the holidays, an industry trend-spotter on the lookout for what could be hot for Q4, or anyone else with a stake in the global toy community. Your virtual presence, and your support, delivered sales for so many and vital feedback that is already being implemented for the next market week in August. All this activity and interest was great to see during a time of so much uncertainty and disruption for the toy and play community.
Browsing Toy Fair Everywhere, I was inspired by more than 150 companies making superb use of our platform to display products in their unlimited “booth” space. Many of these showrooms were visually stunning, marketed exceptionally well to prospective buyers, and took full advantage of all the platform’s features. Virtual meetings and product demos were held, new connections made, and real-time analytics were harnessed by exhibitors to tailor buyer outreach. We all learned a lot and found ways to improve and refine our plans for the next iteration. As an innovative approach to sustaining and growing business, Toy Fair Everywhere was featured in a wide swath of media including Forbes, and buzz continues to grow as we prepare for market weeks taking place August 17 to 23 and September 14 to 20, 2020.
It’s clear we all crave personal connection, networking, and the exhilarating experience of live shows, but until we can safely meet again in person, this digital solution to link people and drive business is the way we must forge ahead. Parents and kids are counting on toys, whether they are looking for educational products to help with at-home learning, outdoor toys to boost physical activity, or to get an early start on the holidays. Consumer behavior is proving that play is a crucial outlet for all ages – now more than ever! We leveraged years of development and the deep talents of our technology partners to make Toy Fair Everywhere not simply a stopgap response to the limitations of the pandemic, but to pave the way toward a year-round business-generating solution for the toy community, even when normal travel, meetings, and trade shows resume.
A few reminders: new educational content will be unveiled in conjunction with the August marketplace, including an exclusive mid-year trends presentation from The Toy Association trends team, providing insight into how trends have evolved or intensified as a result of the pandemic and predictions for Q4, using product examples from exhibitors. You may have seen we also announced the Toy Fair Everywhere Influencer Choice List, powered by Clamour. You can nominate your product(s) here for a chance to make the list and gain invaluable exposure in front of top-tier digital content creators. The picks will be revealed during the September market week.
At the end of every in-person show, The Toy Association team takes time to gather feedback from exhibitors, buyers, and other guests on the quality of their experience and how to improve. This time is no different – in fact, your feedback on Toy Fair Everywhere is even more crucial as we work to streamline and tweak this new platform for the next market weeks. I urge you to reach out with your questions or comments to Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events, and Kimberly Carcone, vice president of market events, so that we can deliver the very best experience to help you maximize Q4.
Rest assured we’re quickly taking all the exciting learning, success stories, and hiccups of the inaugural week and infusing that into the platform so the next market week soars even higher. We look forward to “seeing” you again August 17 to 23. In the meantime, all good wishes for continued health and safety to you, your colleagues, and your loved ones.
President & CEO
The Toy Association