By Reyne Rice, Trend Hunter, Trend Reporter/Analyst, New York, NY
First posted on the YourToyCom.com blog forum and community website serving the toys, games and childrens’ technology industries, on behalf of the Spielwarenmesse. Spielwarenmesse is the leading and largest International ToyFair in the world, held annually in Nuremberg, Germany in early February.
Every year, as a trend hunter, I sleuth for the newest lifestyle and over-arching industry trends that are shaping the toys, games and children’s technology industries. Some of these 2014 trends include stepping back into classic revivals, seeing new iterations of cherished brands and the newest versions of our classic favorites in games, toys and riding vehicles.
Even Facebook has adopted Throwback Thursdays and Fridays versions of our younger selves, so it is no wonder that we crave the familiarity of our cherished brands and childhood memories.
In the Retromania trend that is one of the Core Four trends recognized in the TrendGallery 2014, we see a resurgence of toys and heroes from our childhood. Classics like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are celebrating a 30th anniversary, Power Rangers 20th anniversary, Brio and Playmobil both honoring 40th anniversaries, and even Godzilla has wreaked 60 years of ground stomping movie mayhem.
These retro characters and favorite brands are a part of the Retromania trend that offer positive reminders of our own play experiences. It is logical that as parents, and gift givers, we will want to share these cherished memories with the special children in our lives.
Some retro brands popular today are comebacks from older brands, that are recognizing a resurgence in popularity. Some of these include Tamagotchi (Bandai). Furby Boom (Hasbro), Pac Man (Bandai), and Maya the Bee.
RetroMania also embraces the warmth of wood and heritage products that encourage a simpler lifestyle. Included in this is a love for the tactile joys of real wood and eco friendly products manufactured for use by children. Teaching our kids about sustainability by the choices we make with their toy selections, is a living example of environmental responsibility in choice and action.
Some elegant examples include top nominated ToyAward 2014 products: such as the ToyAward 2014 Winner in the Baby & Infant category, Heroes Building Block Chain (Simba Toys GmbH & Co ), and nominees PullAlong Animals (Einfach Gut), EQB My Rider Series of wooden vehicles (ArtHouse Co, Ltd) and last years’ nominee, GoToy with their 2014 products, Classic Wooden Cars. What could be more Retro than a throwback to the 1960’s with the Peace and Love Blocks with positive affirmation words (Wooden Story).
Classic play patterns such as wooden marble runs are reincarnated as elegant ,tactile and active toys in the Quadrilla (Hape), the classic Cuboro range, and the musical Xyloba marble runs by Weizenkorn.
Using recycled and natural materials to create playthings is also top of trend by companies such as the Makedo Ready to Build Range of dinosaurs, robots, cars, animals and pets. The creative M2P On The Air Retro Radio from (Make2Play) Portugal offers instructions to make a real working retro styled classic product, from the golden age of radio. The M2P product is also displayed on the RetroMania trend island, in TrendGallery 2014, Hall 3A.
Another aspect of RetroMania involves using retro influences or materials to convey the nostalgic feeling. The Retro kitchen “Rosa mit Zubehor” (Schopper Gmbh & Co) uses metal utensils, metal materials, and retro pink colors to remind us of grandmas stove and evoke memories of those delicious scents coming from her love of baking and cooking. Werkhaus Design uses retro designs such as the original Volkswagen bus or classic Hackney cabbie coaches for pencil holders and creative utensils.
No matter how you look at it, retro and classic influences continue to weave their way into our hearts and into our wallets, as we buy these products that support our feel good memories.
Please alert me to your examples that I may have missed in walking the multiple halls of Spielwarenmesse 2014. I can’t see everything in the six days of the Fair, so I rely upon you, to share your news with me, so I can include your new product launches, or retro reincarnations in my future blog posts and articles. Please leave me a comment!