Spielwarenmesse® 2015 kicks off a year brimming with innovations

The toy world knows that the widest, most creative product offering is to be seen at the Spielwarenmesse, thus the number of international buyers at this year’s trade fair rose to 58 percent. Around 72,000 trade visitors (2014: 75,088) worked their way through the innovative products presented in Nuremberg by the industry. Retailers appreciated the TrendGallery as a transnational platform for planning their ranges amid the huge variety. In Nuremberg they encountered a record-beating offering by a total of 2,857 manufacturers (2014: 2,748) from 67 countries.

Since the date did not coincide with the Chinese New Year, more Asian buyers were in attendance. However, the current economic and political situation also impacted on the Spielwarenmesse. Due to the concentration in the retail trade, fewer German retailers visited the fair. Exhibitors also clearly noticed the decline in Eastern European buyers (51 percent fewer Russian trade visitors). However the number of customers was just fine, in the opinion of Manfred Holl, Managing Director, Dickie-Tamiya Modellbau GmbH & Co. KG: “All the main customers were there, even if we did note that their teams were smaller.”

Spielwarenmesse fulfils its pivotal role between makers and retailers with bravura. After all, 35.1 percent (2014: 32.1 percent) of buyers attend no other fair. 78.3 percent (2014: 68.7 percent) of trade visitors rated the benefits of attending the fair as very high or high. And 78 percent (2014: 77.3 percent) were extremely happy with the overall impression of the fair. This feeling is shared by 81 percent (2014: 81.1 percent) of exhibitors. Ernst Kick, Chief Executive Officer, Spielwarenmesse eG, is particularly interested in the intention of 90 percent (2014: 90.8 percent) of exhibitors to come back again: “We are all delighted to have created a marketing platform that is positively rated by our exhibitors on a regular basis.”

ToyAward-winning companies gained additional marketing opportunities. They were the subject of brisk interest by retailers, as reports Christian Nimmervoll, Managing Director, Scoot & Ride, Austria. His company received the innovation prize for a scooter with push bike function by the name of Highwayfreak: “The ToyAward rocketed us into a whole new bracket of sales opportunities. The day after the award ceremony, a retailer with whom we’d been negotiating for some time, placed his order. The award prompts retailers to quit hesitating and close the deal”. Four companies received the award, yet this year the other companies were close contenders in creativity, as reflected by the high number of 601 (2014: 491) submissions for the ToyAward.

Hermann Otten, Managing Director, Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH, emphasised this year’s innovative diversity as one of the three factors of a successful fair: “In Nuremberg retailers found great products for their businesses, Spielwarenmesse provided a fantastic setting for meeting customers, not to mention excellent service”. The latter included the supply of product information to help retailers identify innovations and trends. Trade visitors made intensive use of the TrendGallery in Hall 3A to get up to speed on trends. In 2015 products for inquisitive young minds (trend: Little Scientists), creative products that encourage individuality (trend: Express Yourself) and toys with electronic refinements (trend: Beyond Reality) are popular.

The new lifestyle and trend article offering meets a growing demand, as Elke Brunne, Managing Director, MuKK GmbH, demonstrates in Münsters Ungewöhnlichem Kinderkaufhaus: “Lifestyle and trend items are becoming more and more important. When families come into the shop, they are all looking to be served. I can’t just appeal to the children, but have to think about Mum or Dad as well.” In-depth contact with retailers is appreciated by Angeliek Clercx-de Jager, owner of Souza for kids. Exhibiting at the Spielwarenmesse for the tenth time, she welcomes the extra area for lifestyle and trend articles: “Spielwarenmesse is simply an amazing energy boost.”

Retailers showed growing interest in the model building and hobby product group, as underscored by Frank Müller, Marketing Manager, Horizon Hobby GmbH: “The amount of new customers and business opportunities has exceeded our expectations by far.”

Succinctly summarising the sentiments of trade visitors, Rolf Niermann, Managing Partner, Niermann Standby e.K. comments: “Nuremberg is the Spielwarenmesse and the Spielwarenmesse is Nuremberg. The emotional bond linking fair and city is unique in the world”. The people of Nuremberg certainly experienced it as they enjoyed the European record-beating Toon Walk during this year’s city centre events programme. A total of 205 mascots and walking acts took part in the crazy comic parade through the pedestrian precinct to make Nuremberg the European title-holder.

For retailers and buyers who would like to enjoy the creative diversity of products from international toy makers, the next Spielwarenmesse takes place from 27 January to 1 February 2016.

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