Trend experts unveiled the six top trends for 2019 at Toy Fair New York: Unboxing 2.0, Compound Crazy, Retro Toys, Foodie Fun, Inspirational/Aspirational Play, and Explosive Entertainment!
What are the biggest toy trends for the year? The Toy Association’s trend experts recently announced the top toy trends for 2019 at the 116th North American International Toy Fair in New York.
Ken Seiter, EVP of marketing communications at The Toy Association, stated: “Parents and kids today are looking for toys and games that are fun, engaging, and keep them coming back for more, but that also enrich the play value to help build life-long skills. The toy industry is doing an amazing job of providing innovation along with classic toys and games to deliver cutting-edge playthings to the toy aisle. The top trends announced today reflect a continued demand for toys that include a surprise element, toys that tap into nostalgia, playthings that encourage kids to try out different activities and explore new worlds, and unique licensed-based toys that enhance developmental skills through play.”
The Toy Association’s trend experts team expects to see some of the most creative and imaginative new products in years. In order to track the latest developments in toys and youth entertainment, this team convenes with hundreds of toy companies around the world over the year. Before announcing this year’s hottest trends to media, buyers, and other guests, the team carefully evaluated thousands of products on the showroom floor.
Here is a brief summary of the 6 major toy trends for 2019 along with examples from the show:
• Unboxing 2.0 – The unboxing phenomenon continues to be a major trend because kids love unboxing surprise toys and finding rare or limited-editions of these toys. Unboxing evolves to a new stage with additive play patterns/features that build upon the surprise component by promoting new ways to play with the toy. This makes this trend more than being simply about unboxing and collecting. When the unboxing play is interwoven into the story, this is achieved. Examples include a secret decoder or innovative packages that transform into storage/playsets. EXAMPLES: L.O.L. Surprise! Makeover Series #Hairgoals, L.O.L. Surprise! Fuzzy Pets, Blume.
• Compound Crazy: Dough, Slime, Sand and More…. – Creative and reusable compounds, such as slime, Kinetic Sand, dough, putty, and others, are popular as a standalone product but also within the unboxing trend. Compounds are another layer kids have to ‘dig through’ to get their ultimate reward. Compound activities are a perfect way to inspire creativity, allowing kids to acquaint themselves with different textures and styles of design and construction. Based on The Toy Association’s Genius of Play initiative, creative play gives kids the freedom to explore new possibilities and learn to ‘think outside the box’, allowing them to develop creative-thinking skills and create unique solutions to challenges, which are important life-skills they will need. This educational value is likely to get parents on board with the compounds craze. EXAMPLES: Treasure X Hunter Quest for Dragon’s Gold, Pop Pops Snotz, Pop Pops Pets.
• Throwback Toys – 2019 marks big anniversaries for some of entertainment’s most-beloved characters and movies, and classic toys and games will evoke nostalgia for parents and grandparents harkening back to their childhood days. Parents want to share toys and characters playing a big role in their own childhoods with their kids, which includes classic, low-tech playthings. EXAMPLES: Speak & Spell, Pound Puppies, Doodle Bear.
• Foodie Fun – From trendy foods, farmer’s markets, and food trucks, there are a number of reasons why food and drink items have become popular playthings. First, this is a result of millennial parents prioritizing being health-conscious and their awareness of where their food is sourced. Evidently, both girls and boys are interested in toys and games reflecting the foodie culture. Additionally, from fruity, spicy, off-putting, or disgusting smells, scented toys have become a must-have item for kids. They find it fun to choose an appealing scent and collect characters, toys, backpack charms, and other playthings featuring their favorite smell. EXAMPLES: Pikmi Pops Surprise! DoughMis, Foodie Roos.
• Inspirational and Aspirational Play – Whether it’s a fashion designer, a chef, or learning to build a robot, there exists a growing trend of toys, games, and activities preparing and inspiring kids for the future. These playthings have features that enhance learning, such as utilizing innovative technology, nurture a child’s curiosity, and motivate them to explore skills/interests that may lead to their future career path. Based on The Toy Association’s Decoding STEM/STEAM report, toys play a crucial role in teaching STEAM concepts to kids by helping foster these critical skills/competencies through play. Additionally, the report found toys can motivate kids to become excited about new areas, make mistakes without fear, and encourage collaboration among peers. EXAMPLES: Artie 3000, Vex IQ Robotics Construction Kit, Crayola Color Chemistry Arctic Lab.
• Explosive Entertainment! – 2019 marks a busy year with a full slate of family-friendly movies that will have movie tie-ins. Top films include Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, Detective Pikachu, The Lion King, Aladdin, Star Wars: Episode IX, Avengers 4: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, and How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World to name a few. Licensed toys and games represent 30 percent of all U.S. toy sales. Popular licensed properties will see a wide range of products ranging from plush and playsets to tech toys. EXAMPLES: Toy Story 4 toys, Frozen 2 toys, Detective Pikachu toys, etc.
Stay tuned to Toy Buzz for complete coverage of Toy Fair New York 2019 on YouTube. It’s sure to be an exciting year ahead in the world of toys, games, and playthings!
Source: The Toy Association