The 69th annual Toy Fair returned to Olympia London this week, welcoming back more than 250 exhibiting companies and thousands of visitors from around the world. It was a sold-out show which welcomed just under 60 new exhibitors and had increased its footprint since 2022 by maximising the full space in the National Gallery to accommodate extra stands.
Brea Brand from CONNETIX commented: “This year was our first time exhibiting at Toy Fair and it’s been wonderful. We have been inundated with new retailer connections as well as meeting current connections in person for the first time. To top it all off, we won the Best Stand Award for self-build stands which we were ecstatic about. We can’t wait to return next year!”
Katy Fletcher, from Ravensburger said: “We’ve had an outstanding 2023 Toy Fair; the calibre of meetings has been exceptional and the reception we’ve received for the launch of our Disney Lorcana trading card game has exceeded even our own expectations.”
From the newest start-ups to leading toy brands, exhibiting companies of all sizes were out in force over a busy three days. It was the first opportunity of the year for many to network and showcase their exciting launches in front of buyers, retailers, licensors, media and the wider industry. With thousands of new products launched around the show there were also many famous faces on hand to build excitement. Asmodee UK invited Stephen Mulhern to launch his brand-new Catchphrase board game, as well as Matt Edmondson to compete against visitors at his very own board game. Vivid Goliath launched a game based on hit TV show The Traitors, and cast members Wilfred and Hannah were on hand to support the launch.
One of the top trends announced on Press Day, during the first morning of the show, was nostalgia with Care Bears, Paddington Bear, Sylvanian Families, Wallace & Gromit and Sesame Street’s Elmo all making an appearance in Toy Fair’s Hero Toys winning line-up. With so many blockbuster movies and milestone birthdays being celebrated this year licensing has expanded and the offering from many exhibitors has increased. Also on Press Day, the NPD Group shared 2022 data from the toy industry which showed plush toys was the fastest growing category up by 29%, driven by Squishmallows, TY and Bluey, and toy sales to ‘kidults’ (12+ age group) increased share to 28% of total Toys in the last 12 months.
After a packed press briefing and busy first day at the show, Toy Fair was broadcast live on Sky News and BBC regional radio stations as well as print coverage in the Daily Mail, the i, and online coverage including BBC News, Mail Online, Evening Standard, ITV This Morning, the Metro plus more media coverage pending.
Toy Fair also welcomed content creators back this year with thursday a dedicated Influencer Day where more than 100 influencers attended, driving social engagement at the show. Toy Fair TV and the Demo Zone also returned for 2023, adding to the buzz and excitement of the show with presenters Anna Williamson and Gavin Inskip roaming around the halls discovering the hottest new toys.
Majen Immink, Director of Toy Fair, commented: “Toy Fair 2023 has been a fantastic start to the toy calendar year. It has been lovely to see a packed show of exhibitors and top-quality industry visitors fill the halls. There has been a real buzz around the show, and we are grateful to all exhibitors for all their efforts in helping to make the show look vibrant and colourful, and making it a great environment for business to take place. We wish everyone the best for 2023 and look forward to seeing you all back in 2024 for our 70th show!”
Applications for Toy Fair 2024 will open in March 2023 on the Toy Fair website www.toyfair.co.uk.
To keep up to date with the latest Toy Fair news you can follow us on Instagram and Twitter @ToyFairUK.
Toy Fair testimonials
Adam Moore, PLAYMOBIL “We’re back for the first year after COVID and what a great opportunity to showcase our full product range. The show is a key tool for us to meet face to face with key retail and marketing representatives. Highlights of the show were the character parade and winning a Hero Toy. We 100%, absolutely will be back next year!”
Dennis Callaghan, Tree Toys UK Ltd “It was our second time at the show and we absolutely love it here! We have seen lots of international buyers which we wouldn’t usually have had the chance to meet and have been delighted with the footfall around our stand. We also had a great time demonstrating our products on the Demo Zone which adds a real buzz to the show. Toy Fair is so well organised and we recommend other toy companies who haven’t exhibited before to do so!”
Michelle Wilkins, Noffle Studios “As probably the smallest, youngest company at the London Toy Fair, we’ve appreciated the opportunity to get our game in front of retailers large and small. So much wisdom and experience under one roof.”
Jason McKenzie, Build Your Own “Toy Fair 2023 has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase our new Wallace & Gromit kits (under license with Aardman Animations Ltd.) along with our full product range. They have been incredibly well-received, and we’re thrilled that the Wallace & Gromit Rocket was a Toy Fair Hero winner also! It’s been brilliant to meet up with existing partners, as well as many business owners, media, and potential future clients. We can’t wait to return in 2024!”
Kasia Leskow, Zapf Creation UK “It has been wonderful to be back at Toy Fair this year. The whole team and I at Zapf Creation have been delighted to showcase all the exciting new product launches we have in the pipeline for 2023. From BABY born’s best friend – BABY born Bear, receiving rave reviews from the young judges in the Demo Zone, to Baby Annabell’s exciting new interactive dolls and accessories, which celebrate the brand’s 25thAnniversary. What’s more, the team is thrilled to unveil the brand-new BABY born Minis range for the very first time at Toy Fair, a new product line our customers will be able to get their hands on later this year! It’s been a pleasure to hear all the glowing feedback from buyers and press alike.”
Dennis Blackmore, Learning Resources “We’re leaving Toy Fair very optimistic. We feel that the customers we kept in touch with in 2022, and our new prospects are enthusiastic about things to come.”
Matt Shaw, Epoch Making Toys: “We were excited to be back at London Toy Fair and have had a really positive show meeting existing and new business opportunities. We were proud to showcase our new product releases for the spring/summer and autumn/winter seasons from Sylvanian Families, Aquabeads and Epoch Games and we look forward to a strong 2023.”
Becky Matthews, Sales and Marketing Director, Golden Bears – “Toy Fair has been fantastic for us this year, it has been a perfect launch pad for our 2023 product. As we grow our presence across new categories for Golden Bear, forming new connections and catching up with old faces has been invaluable. We have had a busy stand for the whole three days with a really positive vibe and a sense of excitement. There is nothing like the magic of London Toy Fair.”