Spielwarenmesse canvasses trade on Covid-19

Published on: 23rd June 2020

Visitors and exhibitors were surveyed on how they are coping with the global crisis, with the results showing the Spirit of Play is alive and well. 

Spielwarenmesse eG, organiser of the annual Spielwarenmesse fair in Nuremberg, has surveyed visitors and exhibitors in an effort to gauge the current mood surrounding the coronavirus. Some 1,810 trade visitors from 42 countries took part, while 548 companies from 42 countries also offered their feedback. Infographic survery results can be viewed at the end of this story.

On the visitor side, the questionnaire was completed by senior managers across a range of trading formats, the majority of whom operate both a bricks & mortar shop and an online store. Many of them report success in creating new sales channels, ensuring continued access to their products despite the Covid-19 pandemic. These include existing online stores (43.9%), newly created online stores (9.1%), delivery services (22.8%), in-store collection (14.4%), initiatives by local shops (7.1%) and new forms of customer communication (18.3%), such as telephone and email, messenger services, social media and online advertising.

As readers are aware, challenges have been rife. Spielwarenmesse eG’s survey shows 45.6% of shop owners have been forced to implement reduced working hours, whilst 18.6% have had to make staff redundant. Toy manufacturers participating in the survey reported similar feedback, with 52.6% enforcing reduced working hours, 43.4% asking employees to work from home and 22.7% having to let staff go. Regardless, companies have been supporting their retail partners by extending payment deadlines and granting discounts, helping them to set up an online store, or sending products directly to their customers.

With manufacturers and retailers alike creating new methods of customer communication, launching digital offerings earlier than originally planned or discovering them for the first time, the toy industry has seized the opportunity to modify business models, trial new working models, improve in-house crisis management and strengthen team spirit. The survey indicates plenty of optimism for the second half of the year, with 25.8% of retailers and 32% of manufacturers expecting to make up lost sales through new channels. Nearly half of both sets of respondents – 49.7% and 45.5% respectively – believe their businesses will fully recover from the crisis.

Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, stated: “The findings of the survey reflect the current mood in the toy industry. While the crisis is posing a huge challenge for trade and industry, it is also accelerating the implementation of new, forward-looking measures.”


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