Today has been spent whizzing between the Toys and Games Fair and dashing round a last few showrooms. The mood remains relatively upbeat, although some people are beginning to look noticeably jaded, and the sense of relief at our collective impending return home is palpable. Some buyers are heading back tonight, whilst the mass exodus appears to be tomorrow and Friday (although one retailer told me he is here until 18th, which is a marathon effort by anyone’s standards!).
The supermarkets have been missed for sure, but most of the buyers who are here are said to have been in a generally positive frame of mind, suggesting that there isn’t too much stock left kicking around after Christmas. As ever, potential price rises are being widely discussed; raw material costs have stabilised in the main, but wage rises will inevitably have an impact, as will the exchange rate. But pretty much everybody is in the same boat in that respect, so it’s largely a level playing field. Unsurprisingly there is some concern over summer trading, with one retailer telling me he fears very slow sales during the Olympics and the Euro Championships. Whether that will be balanced out by the feelgood factor generated by the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Amongst today’s product highlights were Inspiration Works new Kurio kids’ tablet, a fantastic product which I’m sure will be one of the year’s most coveted toys. It will be on display in a private room at Toy Fair if you haven’t seen it out here; it’s well worth the effort. I also saw a lovely new licensed wood range from Jupiter, and Peterkin’s revamped Dolls’ World range looks great, with beautiful new packaging and point of sale material.
A question if I may; last night’s menu included the appetising dish ‘pig ear and pig bag with rice’. I’m not sure I really want to know, but could someone enlighten me as to what the ‘pig bag’ actually refers to.
Tonight is my last night in Hong Kong. A few of us are getting together to mark a forthcoming (or, in some cases, recently celebrated) ‘milestone’ birthday. Before we left, it was intended to be lively affair. Sadly, we made the schoolboy error of scheduling it at the end of the trip, by which point we are collectively exhausted (from working too hard, obviously!), so I’m sure it will be a considerably more muted event than planned. I just hope we can all stay awake – it’s clearly true what they say about getting older!
I hope on some level you’ve enjoyed the blog – I’ve certainly received lots of positive comments – and that it’s kept you in touch with what’s going on out here (even if it’s just so you knew which clothes to pack, as several people have remarked to me!). The traditional, non-Hong Kong blog will return next Friday, as we count down the days to Toy Fair. And our bumper Toy Fair preview issue is now in the post, so it will be arriving with you over the next few days. Enjoy!