• Industry’s global decision-makers all in attendance
• Excellent mood among exhibiting companies
• Presentation of themes and trends with great potential
Opening its doors for the 71st time, the Spielwarenmesse has clearly asserted its position as the world’s leading industry event. The international share of both visitors and exhibitors reached its highest level ever. From 29 January to 2 February, 63,500 independent retailers and buyers wended their way to Nuremberg’s Exhibition Center from 136 countries (2019: 66,876/132). The decline in the number of visitors is linked to fears surrounding the Coronavirus. Even so, the mood among exhibitors was extremely upbeat: 2,843 companies from 70 countries (2019: 2,886/68) provided a comprehensive overview of the market.
Taking a closer look at the visitor numbers, 66 percent (2019: 62%) travelled to the fair from abroad. In the country ranking, the UK and the USA posted the biggest increases. In addition, the level of demand at the Spielwarenmesse remained stable. Shay Mugrabi, CEO of Israeli wholesaler Hot Stuff Toys, is among the many returnees to the fair: “This is the best toy fair in the world. Every year, we find new things, exhibitors and services.” Paola Zuzunaga of chainstore Caramba made the journey all the way from Peru: “The Spielwarenmesse is unique in my eyes because we can find international brands and a lot of variety.”
The exhibitors repaid the compliment. 92 percent of them were very happy or happy with the outcome of the fair, praising, above all, the quality of the trade visitors. “This year’s Spielwarenmesse was by far our most successful because of the first-rate visitors,” emphasises Craze’s Vice President Florian N. Lipp. “We’ve met the most important international decision-makers across all distribution channels in the space of just a few days.” CEO Alexandre Pariente of Safari adds: “We keep coming back because there’s simply no other show that connects so many prospective partners.” This exhibitor has been loyal to the Spielwarenmesse for more than 25 years.
Another US company used the industry event to mark its 75th anniversary: Toy giant Mattel celebrated this milestone birthday directly at its exhibition stand. As a marketing tool for exhibitors, the Spielwarenmesse generally scores top ratings: 97 percent state that the industry expo is very important or important for their company. Ögeday Uçurum, Co-Founder of Toyi Oyun ve Tasarim from Turkey appreciates the significance, particularly for start-ups, of forging plenty of new business contacts: “The Spielwarenmesse is the place to be as we make all our deals here. This year, we appeared in the TrendGallery as well, which was a great opportunity for us.”
Providing a good reflection of the current market, the three trends “Toys for Future”, “Digital goes Physical” and “Be You!” were well received by trade visitors and exhibitors. Besides tolerance and inclusion, the focus is on connecting digital and traditional toys and on environmental awareness. “The Spielwarenmesse perfectly reflects our philosophy of sustainability which will play an even stronger role in the industry in the future,” says Alain De Rauw, International Sales Director of Thai toy maker PlanToys. The organiser has plans to expand this theme at the next Spielwarenmesse.
The coordinators behind the event are already equipping trade visitors with the tools they need to rise to the challenges of the retail environment. With 120,000 innovations on show in Nuremberg, the winners of the ToyAwards gave visitors valuable guidance. Gollnest & Kiesel is one of the five award-winning companies. Senior Vice President Thorsten Koss explains: “The ToyAward is more than just recognition of an innovative product, as it also generates a lot of interest, as has been confirmed by the extremely positive response we’ve received at the fair.”
The presentation arena and the special shows for specific target groups likewise attract plenty of footfall. Melbot from Spain was represented at the Tech2Play activity area. CEO Iván Expósito Sánchez: “The innovative concept offered us a great opportunity to let visitors from all over the world test our product directly. The atmosphere was fantastic.” Sieper’s Managing Director Britta Sieper highlights its unique flair: “In our digital age, the trade fair is a really important platform for forging and nurturing personal contacts.” The majority of exhibitors clearly share this view with 92 percent already pledging to return to next year’s event from 27 to 31 January 2021.
Ernst Kick, CEO Spielwarenmesse eG, concludes: “The high proportion of international visitors and the positive mood among exhibitors corroborates our forward-looking approach to the event. Venturing down the right track early on, we set our sights on leading the industry into a new and successful business year.”