The first of our Show Off features looks at the impact of the loss of key shows, how suppliers are addressing communication challenges and looks at service providers that can help.
With travel restrictions and social distancing measures causing disruption to what would usually be a busy schedule of trade events and previews, suppliers and retailers are having to find alternative ways to keep the toy industry connected and show off their ranges.
From March, postponements and cancellations of trade shows and events for all sectors began, right across the globe. Distoy was called off early on and Toymaster has been cancelled for this year too (having originally been postponed to September from its usual May slot), as has Cologne’s Kind + Jugend. Autumn Fair will be an online-only event in the form of a Virtual Forum. The Independent Toy & Gift Show announced its intention to hold a streamlined buying event at the end of September, however AIS has now reported that this will not be feasible. BLE has also recently announced that the show will be replaced this year by the online Festival of Licensing and Licensing Leadership Summit. With international travel bans and 14-day quarantine periods still in place, the October Hong Kong trip looks to be in jeopardy. Although Nuremberg Toy Fair has confirmed its intention to go ahead, uncertainty still remains around prospects for many of the early 2021 fairs.
Trade fairs and previews are a vital part of the toy industry’s yearly calendar, each one providing its own unique atmosphere, audience and opportunities, and the loss of them this year is not being taken lightly. There’s not much can replace the joy of getting hands on with an awesome new toy, or seeing major clients face-to-face, supported by likeminded colleagues. However, if there’s one thing that the coronavirus has taught us, it’s that the toy industry is brilliant for making the best of a bad situation, and the innovation and ingenuity usually seen in product is now making its way into the events, networking and retail spaces.
As more and more companies turn to the online space to keep buyers fully informed about the latest product releases and plans, specialist service providers are ready and willing to help toy companies navigate the coming months
Naturally, Toy World is delighted to play its part in helping to support toy companies and retailers through this unpredictable period; we have maintained both our print issue and daily email newsflash service throughout lockdown; we took the decision very early on to maintain full coverage, in order to keep the latest information flowing throughout the toy community. In the absence of trade shows and events, Toy World will continue to offer a platform for suppliers to let retailers know about their latest news, product launches and marketing initiatives.
To read more from the extensive Show Off feature in our August issue, click here.
There will be a follow-up Show Off ‘Indie Special’ in our September issue, which will focus specifically on the independent retail channel.