• Kidults on the rise: inspiration for the future
• Powerful sense of community in an ideal atmosphere
Between 30 January and 3 February, the entire industry came together at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre for its sole global event of the year. 2,354 exhibitors from 68 countries – an increase of 10% over the previous year – took the opportunity to publicise their trends and new ideas. Alongside the product innovations, a multitude of different networking opportunities and stimulating ideas on the lead theme of Kidults awaited the 57,000 visitors from 125 nations who gathered there.
97% of the exhibitors (2023: 95%) considered participation in Nuremberg to be important or very important. The Spielwarenmesse is the place where everyone from all over the world meets. You won’t find these opportunities anywhere else,” declares Ram Ronen of PMI Trading & Enterprise. For the Vice President, the fair is the ideal opportunity to meet up with existing customers and to generate new contacts. “We were able to welcome customers, potential customers and press representatives from all over the world – from New Zealand, Asia, Europe, and the USA to South America – to our stand,” adds Paul Heinz Bruder, CEO of Bruder Spielwaren. Andrea Herre of Spin Master International rates visitor quality very highly, too: “We had all the relevant decision-makers and key accounts meeting us at our stand.” Christian Ulrich, Spokesperson of the Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse eG, notes that China, one of the most important consumer markets, was able to re-establish its very high pre-pandemic levels. In addition, central Asian countries (such as Kazakhstan) and Ukraine have acquired a dynamism that compensates to some extent for Russia’s absence. The USA, too, which was already showing high potential last year, is among the top 10 countries for visitors.
Overall, more than 90% of exhibitors were satisfied with their participation. “The Spielwarenmesse is the centre of the toy universe!” explains Jennifer McIver of the Wishbone Design Studio. “We can show our products to so many countries all in one place. And we discover the latest trends here, too.” With its key focal themes, the Spielwarenmesse has once again proved itself to be the initiating force for the sector. “We were particularly interested by the Kidults focus, which we seized on with enthusiasm where new ideas were concerned,” says Fischertechnik MD Thomas Bußhart. With its special area ‘Life’s a Playground – Toys for Kidsters, Kidults & Co.’, an international study and expert talks, the Spielwarenmesse highlighted adults as a target group, offering promising new suggestions for the trade. “Renowned exhibitors such as Mattel took up the Kidults theme in a big way. And the market figures from market research company Circana also demonstrate that we’ve picked up on the spirit of the age,” emphasises Christian Ulrich.
In addition, the large number of events taking place during the Spielwarenmesse underlines its global relevance: both the Disney Group’s breakfast, which takes place every year, and that of Circana have grown from being European to worldwide events. Licences, moreover, are becoming ever more prominent. The partnerships with the global association Licensing International and with BRANDmate – the B2B event for partnerships, collaboration and licensing – have thus continued to expand. “The LicenseTalks were a perfect opportunity for us to generate new knowledge,” says Maria Gunderson from the Flops startup company. The LicenseLounge brought together everyone who is anyone. Licensors such as Paramount, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. were represented. “At the Spielwarenmesse, all the stakeholders are there,” underlines Martina Vierkötter of Haba, for whom winning the ToyAward in the Baby & Infant category was the icing on the cake. “It’s a great place to have conversations, it put a noticeable wind into our sails and generated various spontaneous meetings.” Winning the ToyAward in the Teenagers & Adults field brought many visitors to the Fizz Creations stand, too. “We’re very fortunate to be part of this incredible trade fair,” says Caroline Hedges.
Exhibitors’ opinions of the supporting programme were every bit as positive as their views on the range of services. For the second RedNight on the Thursday evening, over 100 exhibitors invited interested trade fair visitors directly to their stands. “Personal discussions with customers, networking at the RedNight, which is still in its infancy, and the inspiring atmosphere are all important elements,” thinks Waltraud Maria Iden of the Iden Group. Vedes Board Director Julia Graeber was another who spoke in praise of the positive atmosphere: “The Spielwarenmesse is a lively platform for intense discussion – a true class reunion that reflects the warmth and sense of belonging in our industry.” Across all five days of the fair, small and mid-sized retailers were as heavily represented as the leading retail groups – which included firms such as Auchan, Amazon, Costco, Müller, Target, Smyths Toys and Walmart.
The degree of personal contact and the networking nature of the fair provided the Spielwarenmesse with opportunities for communication and relationship-building for a wide range of target groups. Those with an interest in games were able to cultivate key contacts on the Friday at the second edition of the Internationale Spieleerfindermesse – Game Inventors Convention. Similarly successful was the second OPEN DAY on the Saturday, for which 3,200 consumers flooded into the model railways hall. “With its diversity, its wide-ranging supporting programme and its unique service, the Spielwarenmesse showed again this year that it continues to be the international meeting point for the sector. The ‘Spirit of Play’ was in evidence everywhere,” concludes Florian Sieber, CEO of the Simba Dickie Group.
84% of exhibitors (2023: 83%) plan to participate in the Spielwarenmesse again. The next edition of the fair takes place between Tuesday 28 January and Saturday 1 February 2025.