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Lessons from Spielwarenmesse 2015

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Spielwarenmesse 2015 is now over, having attracted 2,857 exhibitors and over 70,000 international visitors in the space of five days. Visitors had the opportunity to cast their eyes over thousands of new products that toy manufacturers are set to release this year. With the event now over, let’s take a look at some of lessons we can take from the fair about 2015 and how the toy industry might perform.

Developing toy markets will lead to global growth

The global traditional toys industry is forecast to accelerate in growth over the next few years, with 2015 being the kick-start year for this change in the market. The majority of growth is going to come from developing toy markets, in regions such as Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Disposable incomes for many in these regions are improving at fast rates, helping to fuel increased spend on consumer goods.

Accelerating global growth will also, in part, be driven by a turnaround in developed toy markets. Key countries such as the US, France and the UK are expected to experience improving sales in 2015. Consumer confidence and consumer spending power are expected to rise and benefit the consumer goods industries of these countries, as macroeconomic conditions improve.

Further, the ever present threat of video games is going to make itself known in developing toy markets that have, up until now, enjoyed a certain level of freedom from competition with video games. Penetration rates of smartphones and tablet devices is increasing globally, reducing toy playtime in markets that have previously not been affected by the video game industry.

What lessons can we take from the Spielwarenmesse 2015

With thousands of exhibitors at the Spielwarenmesse this year showcasing their range of products, there was plenty of opportunity to see what trends will be driving the industry in 2015.  Licensed toys look to be a key seller for most markets globally.  Traditionally popular in developed toy markets, licensed toys are becoming increasingly popular in developing markets.  Led by a host of significant film releases, such as Star Wars, Minions, Frozen and Big Hero 6, 2015 is set to be a big year for licensing.

At the premium end of the market, a lot of attention was given to drones. Ranging from sophisticated flying machines to more budget hovering devices, the variety of drones is already very diverse. However, the growth of this product type is endangered by legislative challenges. Governments worldwide are clamping down on the unwarranted use of drones, which could limit the potential growth of these products as consumers become wary of the implications in owning one.

Lastly, video game culture is mixing itself more with traditional toys. Toy manufacturers are utilising the success of video games for the benefit of their products. This means manufacturers are creating physical toy replicas of characters or environments featured in popular video games. Further, manufacturers are also creating toys which can connect and interact with video gameplay, demonstrating that where threats arise, new opportunities can also emerge for the traditional toy industry.


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