New York Toy Fair in the Spring. It Could Be the Most Important Toy Fair in Decades

Creative composition of beautiful spring flowers on pastel table top view. Greeting card for International Women Day. Flat lay.

“Toy Fair 2021 could end up being an actual order-writing show.”


As we all know only too well,  the New York Toy Fair has been postponed. A Spring date is not yet finalized but anticipated.

On the surface, you might assume that a Spring date is anti-climactic. After all, the Fair has taken place in February for as long as most of us can recall. It has not, however, always been that way. According to toy historian, “The Toy Guy,” Chris Byrn, it used to take place in March and even April. And it used to run for weeks. I can recall staying two weeks to see all our customers (not as much fun as it sounds).

This Toy Fair, however, may be a highly important one, and here is why: The absence of buyer trips to Hong Kong and China plus the move to digital trade shows means that Toy Fair will be most American retailers’ first opportunity to see new product.

Not only that, but the product will be further along in development in the Spring than it would have been in October in Dallas or January in Hong Kong. As a result, rather than prototypes, retailers will likely see finished products.

The bottom line, at least for some, Toy Fair 2021 could end up being an actual order-writing show. How the factories manage the late demand will be a whole other matter.

2 thoughts

  1. Mr. Byrne is a published historian on the toy industry. He is not speaking from experience but from his knowledge of the industry. In fact, his book, “They Came to Play,” states Toy Fair took place in April and May into the 1930s. It took place in the middle of March in 1960.

  2. Chris Byrn must remember playing with rocks if he remembers Toy Fair not in February. I have been in the business more than 40 years and attended earlier than that as I had family who was a Rep. It has been in February for 50 years at least. It was in February after year end closing and all the credits could be accounted for. More importantly, there were no previews in October or November and most new toys were shown in January in Hong Kong and then at Toy Fair in February. TV toys weren’t shipped until June/July and accounts committed or passed and there was no time to reorder.

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