The 68th annual Toy Fair returned to Olympia London last week, welcoming back exhibitors and visitors from around the world.
This was the first Toy Fair since the Covid-19 pandemic began, and the only dedicated toy fair that has been able to take place this year.
During the show, 260 exhibiting companies unveiled thousands of new products for the year ahead. Toy Fair has been the first opportunity in 2022 for exhibiting companies to showcase their new products in person with both new and existing customers.
â€œHaving tested our first two products at Toy Fair in 2020, the feedback and support from the industry was so encouraging we couldnâ€™t wait to return this year with all our new products,â€ said Louise Clasby, director of Paper Engine.
â€œTo be able to showcase our expanded brand and new range of products was key to our plans and we really appreciated being able to do this in person with people face-to-face. The feedback we have had not only from buyers, but fellow exhibitors and licensors has been fantastic. This has been such a worthwhile fair for us, with many follow-up discussions to keep the sales team busy.â€
The top trends and themes from the show included family play, licences and STEM toys with science kits, build-your-own robots, and board games featuring in media coverage from the BBC, Daily Mirror, and The I newspaper, plus many others.
The winners of Toy Fairâ€™s Hero Toys promoted outside the press office attracted attention from visitors and the media, making it into the national media coverage of the show. Winners including the Gotham City Racer from Bladez Toyz Ltd and the Sesame Street Talking Cookie Monster by Posh Paws International were some of the highlights.
The Editorâ€™s Choice award also returned this year and saw the new Talking Paddington Bear from Rainbow Designs crowned media editorsâ€™ favourite new product of the show.
â€œAfter a year away, it has been a delight to see the industry come together again at Toy Fair to kick start 2022,â€ commented Roland Earl, director general of the BTHA. â€œI would like to thank our exhibitors and contractors for the support and extra lengths gone to this year to put on a successful show. We are pleased to have welcomed a wider range of visitors from the UK and overseas to the show this year and wish all participants well in the year aheadâ€.
Applications for Toy Fair 2023 will be announced in March 2022 at www.toyfair.co.uk.
This is what just some of the exhibitors at the show had to say about their experienceâ€¦
Debra Tiffany, Brainstorm
â€œLike all exhibitors we of course returned to Toy Fair with some trepidation. Any fears were allayed as soon as the doors opened. It felt like business as usual and a real boost to be back at what is for us, our main trade show of the year. Both exhibitors and visitors alike seemed buoyant, and we are delighted it went ahead as itâ€™s been a great event for the industry. Long may these face-to-face events continue.â€
Richard Keel, Keel Toys
â€œToy Fair 2022 has been even better for business than in January 2020, we have experienced a big increase in orders. Itâ€™s great that the trade shows are back up and running. It has been incredible, we have been non-stop writing orders.â€
Kate Scott, HoloToyz
â€œThis is our first year exhibiting at the London Toy Fair and the response we have received has been amazing. We started HoloToyz during the first lockdown, so having the opportunity to meet people face-to-face and demo our products in person has been a game changer for us. As we are brand-new, we needed to showcase our portfolio of products to the toy industry in order to secure distribution and network with experts in the industry. Having won second place in the Editorâ€™s Choice Awards 2022, we will never forget our first experience at London Toy Fair, and we will definitely be back next year!â€
Clive Wooster, Geomagworld
â€œThe Fair has been critical this year for small-to-medium enterprises. They cannot demand previews or meetings, so we rely on the big guys walking past and saying â€˜hey, that looks interestingâ€™, and this is exactly what happened. We missed that terribly last year, we grew, but we needed more distribution and undoubtedly this year has been excellent for that.â€
Nazneen Yasin, Fabula Toys
â€œI was very pleasantly surprised at our first Toy Fair as we had visits from three big chain-distributors, including international distributors. I have had very productive meetings and have realised that people are very friendly and they have a lot of respect for new companies breaking into the industry that are trying to get their foot in the door.â€
Roy Greenwood, Kidicraft Ltd
â€œIt has been extremely profitable to be here at Toy Fair. If the show didnâ€™t go ahead, I think we would have lost 12 months. We have just got the licence worldwide for Hornby puzzles so weâ€™re looking for European partners for distribution. We had 13 European distributors come in on the first day, which would have been an opportunity missed if we hadnâ€™t exhibited. The retailers wanted to be here and the exhibitors wanted to exhibit. It was everybody pulling together.â€
Dennis Blackmore, Learning Resources
â€œItâ€™s been good to be back at London Toy Fair. The Learning Resources team has benefited from showcasing our exciting new launches which includes the innovative Numberblocks products on our stand this year. Response from existing customers and the new visitors to the stand has been enthusiastic and positive. The Learning Resources team has welcomed the opportunity to engage with our trade customers face-to-face.â€
Katy Fletcher, Ravensburger
We are delighted to have been back in person at London Toy Fair this week. It’s been great to meet so many of our valued retail partners and present to them our ranges across the business, as well as see many industry colleagues.
Mark Handley, Redlands DistributionÂ
â€œNothing beats being able to demonstrate innovative and fun toys in person and weâ€™ve had a fantastic show watching the reactions to our range of Sharper Image R/C and Discovery toys. It has been especially amazing to see our new Gravity Rover come to life on our stand, the only wall to ceiling climbing RC in the world, and to hear both customers and journalists talking so excitedly about it. You donâ€™t get that same wow factor on Zoom! There has been a real buzz to the show this week and weâ€™re looking forward to a busy year ahead.â€