This year’s 107th iteration of the American International Toy Fair underway this week at the Javits Center in New York has more than 100,000 products on display, including more than 7,900 making their debut. Show organizer, the Toy Industry Association (TIA), is championing this year’s batch of top trends with all ‘A’s’: Active, Accessible, Affordable and Aspirational.
Here’s a quick look at the TIA’s top-four trends:
Even products that have a high-tech component are fostering kid-generated action by incorporating movement into game play (like the Wii gaming system). Focusing on play with a purpose, active imagination and active intelligence toys and games stimulate the mind and creativity through hands-on play. (The NPD Group reported earlier this month that building sets and arts and crafts, which are active intelligence-type toys, posted the highest sales increases in 2009, at 23% and 7%, respectively).
Examples of active trend products from this year’s Toy Fair include: Swinx’s SWINXs Game System, Crayola’s Glow Explosion markers and paper, Gamewright’s Story Cubes, Fisher Price Little People Wheelies Stand N Play Rampway, World Racers Slammer Cars by LEGO and Wild Planet’s Water Babies.
Compact editions of toys and games and shorter play times make it easy to pack-and-go and capitalizing on the e-connected world gives kids anytime-anywhere access to play. As well, iPhone apps and eReaders are incorporating the latest gaming and spatial learning technologies to make content readable and playable.
Examples of Accessible trend products include: Scrabble Flash by Hasbro; University Games’ Sort It Out, R and R Games’ Hide N Seek Safari Jr., Techno Source’s Rubik’s Slide and Mattel Games’ Puppy Tweets, among many other offerings.
Toy makers have pumped up their products this year with detailed designs while keeping low price points, especially in the areas of action figures and dolls and accessories. According to The NPD Group, action figures saw revenue increases of 4% in 2009; the often affordable games/puzzles category held stable with a slight 1% growth in 2009. Another key affordability factor is the extended play value that comes from construction sets, arts and crafts projects, and child-sized role play activities that let kids play again and again with different results.
Examples of Affordable trend products currently making rounds with retail buyers include: Briarpatch Grab N Go Games, Jakks Pacific Girls, FAIRIES 4.5-inch doll assorted Magic Glow Fairies, LEGO’s LEGO Mini-figures, Spin Master’s MoonDough playsets and MegaBrands’ 3-in-1 ride on Fire Truck
From earth-friendly products to eco-aware toys that introduce concepts like recycling and reduction, as well as products that teach kids about charity, mentoring and giving back to communities, this trend includes toys that indirectly teach as well as toys with formal curriculum guides for parents, caregivers and educators. This year, for the first time, Toy Fair exhibitors had the chance to identify themselves to buyers as ‘green’ through the new Earth-Friendly Product Zone that joins 11 other specific product areas on the show floor.
Examples of Aspirational trend products include: Mattel’s Barbie I Can Be dolls and inspirational mentoring website, TCKL’s The Drip Drops eco-friendly Books with plush, Bandai’s Petite Treats Cooking Club, Creativity For Kids’ Recycled Cardboard Dollhouse, Sprig Toys Eco-Trucks and Hosung’s new Dr.Seuss organic plush products