It’s Time to Move the Fall Toy Preview to Los Angeles

Nothing against Dallas but the toy industry is voting with its feet that the fall show needs to move somewhere else.  None of the following companies showed in Dallas this year: Mattel, Hasbro, JAKKS, MGA, Mega Brands, Tomy and Spin Master.  As BMO Capital analyst Gerrick Johnson put it in his latest Toy Scout Report:  “We believe the companies present at the show make up only about 30% of the toys sold in the US mass market.”

Where should the show move?  It seems that Los Angeles, home of Mattel, JAKKS, Funrise and MGA is the place.  All of those companies invite retailers to visit them at their LA locations in the fall as does Spin Master and MEGA Brands.  LA is, of course, also the home of major media companies like: Disney, Dream Works, Saban and Pixar to name just a few. 

It is also the home of the entertainment press.  The toy industry would get much needed additional media attention as it heads into the Christmas selling season. 

It certainly seems that forcing buyers to visit Dallas and LA is doing them no favor.  Think about what a valuable trip it would be for the trade if retailers could come out and spend a week seeing everyone.

Some maintain that the presence of Mattel, MGA and JAKKS in off-site locations would detract from the show by drawing buyers away.  Well, here is how you fix that.  You ask each of these companies to block out three days (say, a Saturday, Sunday and Monday) in which they will not see appointments.  Why

should they do that, because it is a relatively small amount of days to block out and it may bring more buyers to California?

it’s time that the west coast had a chance to have a show closer to home.  The Toy Industry Association would be wise to move the show to LA before someone else thinks to do it.  It’s an idea whose time has come.

6 thoughts

  1. I agree with Richard and Peter. It seems to me based on elements of the overall conversation here that the smaller companies would share in access to Big Media in LA that would be difficult to have elsewhere.
    A Toy Fair in LA would create a huge buzz for the industry. Let’s also consider the weather. It was in the 70s and 80s. You won’t get snowed in, which almost happened to me twice in NYC.

  2. I agree with Richard.
    My belief is that it would level the playing field with the East Coast covered in February and the West Coast covered in October. NY has its Big Media and so does LA. Like it or not most of the Major and Minor Toy Companies are now in the LA/West Coast area. Also most of the Inventors come to LA in October also.

  3. I agree that the show needs to be moved from Dallas but disagree on LA being the next location. I agree LA would be good for the large companies headquatered in LA, but what about the smaller companies? If the show was in LA, the larger companies would monopolize the time retailers would spend / have to visit with smaller companies. And, let’s face it, the smaller companies are where innovation is being made in the toy industry. Asking the likes of Mattel, MGA, JAKKS and other majors to… “block out three days (say, a Saturday, Sunday and Monday) in which they will not see appointments” is a great idea in principle, but as we know, the toy business is brutal and the majors would never allow this to happen even if they agreed.
    I say move it back to New York. Some would say but we already have Toy Fair there. The show survived for years in New York and it could again.
    Then there is the fact that more and more decisions are being made overseas (Shanghai and Hong Kong). Buyers are even moving their trips to Asia up to November and December. The complete loss of this type of show in North America (which is a reality at this point) would be detrimental but there needs to be a solution / location that is conducive to creating a more level playing field for the smaller companies against the majors. A show in LA (in this person’s opinion) would not allow for this. Smaller companies offer the agility, innovation and creativeness that the toy industry needs.

  4. LA could be the second worst place for this show–ater Dallas. The original show was a building show in NY. When TIA decided to sell the show to trammel Crow it moved to Dallas with no suport from the companies.
    I suggest that LA is worse. The West Coast toy show just moved to Vegas as there is very poor attendence at that show. Eother move back to NY or cancel it all together.

  5. Richard,
    I believe that you are 100% right on the move to L.A.
    Makes so much sense.
    Let us know more about China toy fair in Shanghai as this is the first
    year I will have missed it, since it started, and know it is growing and worthwhile

  6. Dallas is becoming less valuable to inventors as well. I had far fewer meetings this year, as most of the companies you mentioned above did not have inventor relations representatives at the show either. Due to prototype schedules etc, we generally have to choose between either attending Dallas, or going to the individual company fairs in LA. Having it all in LA would be helpful in that regard.

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