Going live again at last: Spielwarenmesse 2023 turns into a grand reunion with numerous highlights
For three years the industry has been waiting for this moment: and when the gates to the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg are opened again at last from 1 to 5 February, participants will get to experience the ‘Spirit of Play’ at first hand
They are flocking to the exhibition centre to discover new products and trends, to reinforce their contacts and to gain valuable knowledge for their day-to-day business. The organiser, Spielwarenmesse eG, promises a unique experience at the fair with the introduction of many added-value innovations alongside the tried and trusted structures, in particular to ensure that personal networking requirements are met. The live event is complemented by the business platform Spielwarenmesse Digital, with new functions to support the visit.
Highly international range of exhibitors
“In recent months we have experienced a thoroughly positive response on the part of the industry – everyone is looking forward to meeting up again after such a long time,” says Christian Ulrich, Spokesperson of the Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse eG. The degree of anticipation is reflected in the numbers: the number of exhibitors has broken through the 2,000 mark. A total of 2,142 companies from 69 countries will be presenting their new products to retailers and buyers from around the world this February. Of these, 402 are exhibiting at the Spielwarenmesse for the first time. The familiar and trusted structures have been retained at the exhibition centre wherever possible, and innovations and trends – whether from leading brand producers or innovative startups – are ready to be explored with all the senses by the trade visitors. They have 13 different product groups from which to choose. New among these are Services for Trade and Industry. This service area in Hall 7 covers not only testing and inspection institutes but also packaging manufacturers and marketing service providers. A number of country pavilions will also be celebrating their premiere. A total of 15 different nations – including for the first time France, Ukraine and Uzbekistan – will be represented together on a pavilion.
Specials for creative assortments
The ‘Specials’ at the Spielwarenmesse bring fresh momentum to the working day. One example of this is Toys go Green in Hall 2. This area is a continuing development of the 2022 megatrend and presents products relevant to the theme of sustainability on four topic islands. In Hall 4 the theme is ‘Stationery meets Toys’. The Insights-X Area, taking its name from the Stationery trade fair, offers stimulating ideas for the back-to-school sector. Equally worthwhile is a visit to Tech2Play in Hall 4A. Here, new products from the categories of Robot Toys, RC Toys, Virtual Play and Electronic Learning can be discovered and tried out. The trade audience will find further product ideas in Hall 3A, where the StartupArea brings young innovative businesses from Germany together with international newcomers, making the shared space an explorer’s paradise. And the New Product Gallery promises further creative impetus. This compact area offers a highly visible secondary placement area and is where the nominations and winners in the six ToyAward categories will be presented. 584 products have been submitted by 338 exhibitors and evaluated in a two-stage selection process.
Toy expertise, licences and trends
Knowledge-sharing also plays an important part at the Spielwarenmesse. The Toy Business Forum in Hall 3A is an established format; every day from 1 pm to 3 pm for the duration of the fair it offers high quality expert presentations on the topical issues for the industry and trade, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Digitalisation’, ‘Trends’, ‘Diversity’ and ‘the Metaverse’. In conjunction with this, the new Live on Stage format will for the first time be offering exhibitor presentations. In addition, in the mornings from Wednesday to Friday at the Toy Business Forum, the LicenseTalks take place in collaboration with Licensing International and Licensing Magazine. The presentations and podium discussions with international industry experts cover the latest trends in licensing, valuable examples of best practice and tips for new entrants. Close by, the defining trends in the field of toys make their big appearance: Discover!, Brands for Fans and MetaToys. Lively topic islands invite visitors to discover and try out the different sample products. Furthermore, daily presentations in the Toy Business Forum will focus on the ToyTrends.
Eventful supporting programme
After a day focused on work, participants can party at the RedNight at the heart of the exhibition centre on Thursday 2 February. For the first time, some 140 exhibitors in almost all the Spielwarenmesse halls will be inviting visitors to free parties on their stands between 6 pm and 10 pm. And throughout the day, a number of activities across the whole of the exhibition ground will ensure the true feeling of a trade fair. These include the outsize igloo from Zapf Creation in the park and various selfie-spots such as the Barbie Cabrio Corvette from Mattel, the giant wooden truck from Brio in the exhibition forecourt, and benches occupied by popular licensing figures in the halls. On the Friday, the Internationale Spieleerfindermesse – Game Inventors Convention focuses specifically on the games sector. In Hall 11.1, national and international game inventors will be introducing their prototypes to experienced games editors. This event concludes with a joint networking party. Then on 4 and 5 February, the Spielwarenmesse fulfils a long-held wish of exhibitors when it presents the Model Railways and Model Construction OPEN DAY to consumers. Access will be to Hall 7A only. As well as some exciting products, a miniature show awaits fans young and old.
Digital assistance throughout the year
For all participants, their personal experience at the fair is enriched by the extended functions of the Spielwarenmesse Digital business platform, which is available now and all year round. The new Leadfinder function is part of this. On the basis of details contained in the company’s profile regarding type of business, product categories and countries served, it provides quick and easy matchmaking and enhances the efficiency of meeting up at the fair. Spielwarenmesse TV is also available through the platform. The hosting duo Jenny and Rob welcome interesting interviewees and share impressions of the fair in an entertaining manner. There will also be live streams of elements such as ToyAward announcements and the Toy Business Forum. The platform is synchronised with the Spielwarenmesse app to provide retailers with ready access at all times to exhibitors, hall plans and their stored Favourites list.
Christian Ulrich sums it all up thus: “In its dimensions, the Spielwarenmesse will be very close to the usual pre-pandemic levels and will have a broad spectrum of products and services on display. We have continued to develop the content in line with requirements and the various target groups, so that our visitors can benefit appreciably from the added value of being on site.”