Retro Toys make a huge comeback at London Toy Fair 2016.
Hundreds of toy manufacturers have gathered at the 2016 London Toy Fair, competing to convince retailers that they have the next great best-selling toy. Many firms have failed over the years by following trends of the moment. Instead, what companies should be doing is focusing on what they are good at.
The UK toy industry is worth £3.2 billion. In fact, sales have risen 5.9% in 2015. Action figures, building sets, and stuffed toys were among the fastest growing categories in 2015 while the electronics toy category experienced its first drop ever. The arts and crafts category is experiencing growth, especially due to the loom band craze. The challenge for retailers is anticipating demand for the product in a crowded market. Lego minifigures were the top selling toy for 2015.
While children are indeed fascinated with tablets and smartphones, data suggests traditional toys continue to nurture children’s imaginations. ‘Retro’ is a recurring theme at this year’s London Toy Fair. In fact, one wall featuring top toys of the year was filled with classics, such as Stretch Armstrong, Thunderbirds, and Teletubbies. Toy makers are betting big on old classics such as Teletubbies, Danger Mouse, and Thunderbirds.
Teletubbies are expected to make a comeback this year. You may recall these were a success in the 1990s and they were very difficult to get ahold of.
Other highlights of the event include the Wicked Indoor Boomerang and a large red inflatable ball, which was recognized as one of the Top 35 toys for 2016. This may be a hit as parents are gravitating back toward outdoor toys. Lego anticipates its adventure park featuring a ferris wheel and hot dog stand (£90) to be hot items for christmas 2016. Its big product this year is Lego Nexo Knights and it expects success with movie tie-ins, such as Batman vs. Superman and Star Trek Beyond. Movies have proven to provide lucrative revenue streams for toymakers so toy companies are scrambling to obtain licensing rights. H Grossman, a Scottish toy company, expects high demand for its Ghostbusters toys. There will be toys based on green slime tubs and water guns. After all, it’s all about the slime!
There are threats to the global economy out of control of toy manufacturers. A strong U.S. dollar is putting pressure on profit margins, as international trade is primarily transacted on the American currency. In a crowded market, it’s difficult for smaller brands to compete with larger companies such as Lego.
Everyone at the London Toy Show was looking out for the toy that will create the next big toy craze.