New York Toy Fair 2012: Where Did All These People Come From?

Richardglobalheader (4)
For the first time in years, it is at times hard to walk down the aisles of Toy Fair.  The food courts are overflowing, the lines for food and coat check are long and the bathrooms are full.   I have spoken to a great number of people and all are musing over the question.  “Where did all these people come from?”

What particularly impresses is that it wasn’t just Sunday.  Sunday typically has higher attendance figures because smaller, regional retailers drive in for the day.  But Monday, yes Monday, was also crowded.

So where did all these people come from?  It’s not like the economy or the toy industry is booming.  Retailers had inventory carry over and the toy industry was reported to have been down 2% last year (NPD).

Yes, the TIA has been marketing hard but it seems a stretch to believe that any amount of marketing can overcome macroeconomic conditions.   My guess is that things (at least in North America) are maybe getting better than we think.  Perhaps there is an underlying robustness that has not been fully uncovered?

Whatever the reasons, it was a welcome addition to the 2012 experience.  After all, crowds create excitement and excitement stimulates the marketplace. 

If you have some insights on why Toy Fair is so crowded this year, write in and let us know. 


7 thoughts

  1. This was the best Toy Fair we have had in years. Lot’s of energy, optimism and ideas for the upcoming year. I’m still feeling high from it all!

  2. With out a doubt the attendence was up this year and we were crowded from early am Sunday thru Tuesday afternoon.
    But I am not sure that this is a sign of a turnaround. There seemed to be way more poeple with “press” and also buyers badges–who wer not buyers.
    regardless this is one of the best attended shows in receint years

  3. I’d love to see if the TIA could provide registration stats with a breakdown by badge type. Perhaps growth is not even across the board, and that could help clear up its underlying cause?
    I attended as a member of the media (I cover strategy board games for MTV Geek) and this was only our second year there (with a full 5-person camera crew), so that’s just my anecdotal take on the situation. Maybe media presence is ramping up as the internet fuels a greater number of media outlets than existed 10+ years ago.

  4. I agree Richard – having just wrapped my two day press coverage of the event, I felt that the crowds were far healthier than in the last few years. What seemed even more important to me than the raw numbers, however, was a general improvement in attitude and outlook, which I heard over and over again in snippets all around the show floor. It is that return to optimism which will help people make solid new contacts and encourage investment in growth and innovation.

  5. I couldn’t agree more, Richard. We’re a little guy down in Specialty Source, showing in our 5th Toy Fair. Yesterday I lost track of the number of conversations I had with vendor friends who were all amazed at the traffic and level of buzz at the show. This feels like Toy Fair should be! Hoping for a great day 3!

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