By Reyne Rice, Trend Hunter/ Trend Reporter and 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.
Discover the trends with Spielwarenmesse®
From 2014 onwards, you will find innovations, trends and know-how in the TrendGallery of Spielwarenmesse®. In an exhibition space covering more than 1,000 m², you can discover and explore the fair innovations showcased by exhibitors, get extra hints and tips through the Toy Business Forum and discover the latest trends in the toy industry as collected by our global TrendCommittee.
The key trends that will shape the toy market in 2014 are Fit4Life, Retromania, Mini is King! and TechToys.
For the last few years, Spielwarenmesse had two separate special areas, which called out a specific highlight trend and provided a spotlight focus on that trend. The Toy Fair Special, was highlighted in NCC Entrance Mitte on 300 square meters. The whole trend was accompanied by a research study. In 2013, the topic was Toys 3.0. The other special area included the InnovationCenter, where exhibitors showed their product novelties and innovations, and housed the Toy Business Forum, where free lectures on trend and future topics were held daily.
Spielwarenmesse® now wanted to create one special area where multiple trends, innovations and know-how could be find in one place to give these important topics more space, more visibility and more attention. This expanded Trend Gallery 2014 presentation area, combined with the other showcases for Toy Business Forum knowledge lecture series, the display of the Toy Award and the cubes dedicated to showcasing the novelties and innovations, all combine for a preview of the trends and products contained in all of the other halls of the Spielwarenmesse.This showcase approach gives the chance to highlight more than one trend, and provide a representation of the multiple product categories managed at the Fair.
TrendGallery 2014 Display
The TrendGallery includes the trend presentations, where all of the 4 chosen trends are highlighted on trend islands. Each island represents one trend showing product examples and presenting background information through our digital information system.
The second part of the area is the novelty and innovations presentation where exhibitors can show their product novelties, and trade guests can view a microcosm of the entire Fair in one select area. These products represent all product groups and represent multiple categories of products and manufacturers wares. Further information on these products is provided by the digital information system, and in the Trend Gallery 2014 Product Guide. Stop by the Trend Gallery Information Booth for your own printed copy.
The third part is the Toy Business Forum, offering free and open presentations to the audience.These sessions are recorded and translated into both English and German, and can also be viewed a few weeks after the Fair, on the Spielwarenmesse website.
In addition, Hall 3A showcases the ToyAward winners and top nominees, as a highlight on some of the new product launches for 2014, and the New Exhibitor Area also provides a spotlight ion new thinking with business startup companies and fresh new ideas.
Trends The CORE FOUR Trends for Trend Gallery 2014
Fit4Life describes the trend of learning skills, and how children can learn new hobbies and skills with the aid of toys and toy products. These skills will prepare them for being well equipped for everyday life. The roots of this trend lie in the do-it-yourself (DIY) movement, which initially captured the imagination of adults. Suddenly, TV schedules and bookshelves were crammed full of cooking, gardening and crafts programs and guides. The success of the movement is based on the emphasis on individuality and self-realization, as well as sustainability.
Children have always wanted to emulate their parents and learn very early on to cook, garden, construct, knit and sew, and just explore the world around them, using the tools that mirrored those that their parents and caregivers use. What is new, however, is the intensive fostering of these manual skills with products specifically designed for use by children. Safe and ergonomically designed for their smaller hands, these products were created with simple instructions to provide esteem building opportunities to succeed. These kids products pave the way for providing children the best possible opportunities for later life. “Learning by doing” is the theme of the day here.
Retro is defined as the transfer of properties from times gone by to the present day. Or simply put, studying the past to divine the future.
The classic Retromania phenomenon is a product that was previously a bestseller that may have faded from retail shelves and then was reintroduced and made a triumphant comeback boasting a new design or feature changes. The same unbeatable looks from the past are melded with the relevancy and possibilities of today.
Retro trailblazers can be found in early architecture but also in the automotive industry (e.g. the VW Beetle) and music industry (with numerous covers of oldies).
Retro is hot like never before, reminding us of a simpler, less complicated time without obligations and full of possibilities. As adults, we especially like to reminisce, remembering back to the familiar and proven products that we would like to pass on to our children. Shared experiences bond new cherished memories.
Mini is King!
Mini is King! is devoted to the miniaturization trend. The term miniaturization is mostly 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 that refer to this concept.
Urbanization and the resulting shortage of space are increasing the interest in miniaturization in fields other than technology as well. Urban homes are becoming ever smaller, but people still want to enjoy their usual comforts or familiar products. We have all come across numerous creative ideas and solutions, that offer smaller packages or products, with the right amount of functionality. These include examples such as capsule hotels in Japan, where the requirements of a hotel room are met in a minimal space.
Enormously increased mobility is also driving the Mini is King! trend. When on the move, people want handy products that can be easily transported and don’t take up a lot of space.
Of course, this trend is also being reflected in the toy industry. People want to ensure their children are getting the most enjoyment out of their toys in spite of a lack of space or being on the go. So it makes sense to adapt products through miniaturization.
The rapid advancement of technology in our society is paving the way for a new type of play. Thanks to modern technology and devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs as well as computers and video consoles, traditional toys & games can now be linked with the virtual world. The technology and related devices are already so well integrated into our everyday lives that we can hardly imagine a world without them anymore. The younger generation in particular has never known any other life and is naturally growing up in a technological environment.
This is where the TechToys trend comes in, showcasing exciting product combinations. One example includes tech toys that involve hands on play with physical objects, that is enhanced by a technology solution, such as an app or augmented reality. Other products engage children with robotics or building components that provide cause and effect interactions. Some selections offer adult sized technology in kid sized play products for remote control vehicles, digital cameras, and even kid sized and parentally controlled full functioning tablet computers. Robotic and plush friends that can be “taught” new tricks are fun ways to teach children, while they are having fun , engaging with their new playmates.