By Reyne Rice, TrendHunter/Trend Reporter /Analyst from 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.
Although mini figures and miniature collectibles are a part of this trend, it goes far beyond that first impression. Miniaturization is also evident as a societal trend, where we see increased urban lifestyles necessitating families and city dwellers to live in smaller spaces and homes.
The term miniaturization is also applied in the technical field, where it refers to the scaling down of technical components but retention of their functionality. We’ve all heard terms like micromechanics or nanotechnology, and the same thinking can be applied to toys, games and play products. Our beloved objects of desire, whether they are toys, games, home appliances or sports equipment, all need to be able to fit within our smaller living spaces. Not only do compact sizes weigh into the equation, but also mobility and portability for our active lifestyles.
Toy and game products that fit into the Mini Is King trend include:
Travel toys, and snack sized games in tins or smaller versions of a full sized product that have convenient travel cases or foldable boards, and components. Examples include: Rory’s StoryCubes new Dice trios, Takti Flip It Puzzles, Grabolo game, Silhouette Games by Spieleverlag Horst Poppel.
Tiny collectibles of favorite characters, licensed super heroes and other small world replicas allow children and collectors to play and display their vast collections in smaller spaces. Examples include Mini LaLaLoopsie from MGA Entertainment, MiniFigures from LEGO (Hobbit, Harry Potter, Chima, DC Comics SuperHero Batman, Toy Story), Hasbro KREO (Star Trek, GI Joe, Marvel Heroes) , MegaBrands (Skylanders, Halo, Hello Kitty, Smurfs)
Products that support compact portability and on the go mobility include games and toys with an App component, that allows kids to continue to interact with their favorite brands and characters, and play on-the-go, wherever they are. Furby Boom by Hasbro includes a free downloadable app that allows kids to continue to play with Furby and Furbling friends on the app, when they are on the go, and are away from their physical version of Furby. Did you see the World of Apps wall in the Trend Gallery 2014, with even more examples of this trend including puzzles, drawing applications, and adventure games.
Relicas of full sized products that have been scaled down to smaller sizes is very fascinating when it comes to mini flying products and vehicles. Some examples at Spielwarenmesse 2014 include the Nano Falcon mini helicopter by Silverlit. It recently won an award distinction by the Guiness book of World Records for being the smallest mini helicopter in the world. It fits in the palm of your hand and flies with stability and control, for its compact size. Another example is the Nano Quad drone by Revell. Both are remote control versions of larger scale models. A mini remote control car with amazing maneuverability is evident in the TobyRich MicroSUV. Using a smartphone or smartdevice as a controller, this Micro Mini SUV sports proportional control, underbody lights, turn signals, horn, and siren, and includes obstacles such as mini cones for race course precision driving. The EasyPic GoXtreme Nano is a small, lightweight, advanced and proficient HD action camera for kids, offering an affordable solution for active recorders of their favorite sports and active lifestyles.
Products that can fold up, and store compactly, yet unfold into full size versions are often required for smaller living spaces. The riding category of products has particularly been trendsetters in this area, using retractable handles and folding styles, to make storage easy and compact, both for in home storage and for in the car transport, of trikes, bikes, scooters and even wagons. Examples include portable models from Razor, Micro Mobility Systems MicroLino, Rockboard Scooters, and more.
So many new product introductions across the Spielwarenmesse 2014 also fit this Mini is King trend. Please alert me to your newest innovations, in the comments section, so I can cover them in future blog posts and articles!