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.