By Reyne Rice, Toy Trend Expert, and Youth Market Specialist
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.
The top trends for 2012 across the toys & games industries include, for simplification, the ABCD’S:
A = APP-lification of Toys,
B = Body and Brain Fitness,
C = Creativity and Storytelling,
D = Digital and Diversity,
E = Eco-Friendly
A = APP-lification of Toys: This trend includes the overall introduction of Apps as a toy concept. These are Toys that have been created to capitalize on popular Apps such as Annoying Orange, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja, and of course, Angry Birds. In addition, already popular toys have created Apps to further their play value with a digital offering that ties to a physical product. App-Mates and App-Blasters from SpinMaster, App-Gear from Wow-Wee/Sablon , App-Tivbities from Mattel, and the Life of George from Lego are examples.
B = Body and Brain Fitness: Moving outdoors for fitness and active play is encouraged by society’s desire for more hands-on outdoor play, and by kids innate interest levels in challenges and competitions.New categories of product that are showing growth include stunt scooters, radio controlled and outdoor activities. Focusing on the previously more sedentary video gamer kid who was sequestered in front of a computer screen, these new products encourage the competitive spirit of these gamers by involving them in individual and group activities. They also offer stimulation and challenges that appeal to the gamer mentality and skill sets. Strategy, negotiation, problem-solving, hand-eye coordination and fitness all combine to build a more balanced approach to play.
C = Creativity and Storytelling: From the continuation of last year’s Transmedia Storytelling trend, kids are also engaging in Digital and Imaginative Storytelling, and creating verbal histories and activities that engage others in very personal ways. Role-playing is encouraged and celebrated. New entertainment and character licenses are encouraging the epic sagas and the mini-episodes to provide for a vast opportunity for all ages to engage in story-telling as a social connection tool.
This trend also celebrates Kids as Creators, as entrepreneurs, hands-on scientists, crafters and storytellers. Whether kids are experimenting with digital content, cuisine, crafting or physics, they are learning while they personalize and develop their skills. These broader experiences also build their ability to weave their own personal stories. Tweens and teens are particularly engaged in this trend.
D = Digital and Diversity: By engaging in a variety of both on-screen and off-screen activities, kids are learning about multi-tasking, social play, strategic gaming, competition and logic. Parents are encouraging the kids to engage in offline, off-screen activities and this has spawned a wealth of new toy development in competitive, hands-on, racing and radio control activities, to name a few. This offline skill set is partnered with the new digital skill sets that kids are intuitively drawn towards, and when combined, provides a balanced approach to the whole child, whole body-and-brain development.
E = Eco-Friendly: The newest trend in sustainability is also appealing to the eyes, to the heart of social consciousness and to a more wallet-friendly approach. Companies have expanded the greener product offerings in a variety of categories and age ranges to provide appealing and affordable products to suit all tastes and sensibilities.
We will be reviewing all of these trends and more, throughout the Fair, in our daily blog-posts on www.YourToyCom.com, in the articles in the daily show editions, across social media, and during the continuing educational series in the Toy Business Forum.
Come share in our expert speaker series. Today, we will focus on Toys4Teens in the Toy Business Forum, between 13:00 and 15:00, located in Hall 4, Innovations Center. While you are there, pick up an Innovations Guide, highlighting hundreds of new product innovations from the manufacturers at the fair, and take a look at a selection of these products that are on display there.