Toy Fair 2012: Animal Spirits

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“… [A] large proportion of our positive activities depend on spontaneous optimism rather than mathematical expectations….Most, probably, of our decisions to do something positive… can only be taken as the result of animal spirits – a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction.”

            John Maynard Keynes – The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

I love the notion of “Animal Spirits” because it is such a powerful concept.  It is the irrational exuberance that people get when they believe in the future and are willing to bet on it.

I think we saw “Animal Spirits” alive and well on the floor of the Javits Center this week.

As I spoke to excited exhibitors on Tuesday and Wednesday the conversation turned from the dramatically increased attendance to the equally dramatic increase in order writing.  Exhibitor after exhibitor spoke of business at the show being up, way up, over previous years.  They spoke of retailers not just placing orders but placing orders in record numbers.  One exhibitor came up to me, and with great emotion, said that this year’s Toy Fair made all of the his work for the last ten years worthwhile. 

It wasn’t just the smaller buyers.  Exhibitors reported great meetings with the larger retailers and felt positive about the orders they anticipated receiving.

What does this tell us?  I think it may mean that the economy is stronger than we think and that what happened at Toy Fair maybe an leading indicator of an uptick in the nation’s economic recovery.  I hope I’m right.  What do you think?





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