The last domino fell today. The Spielwarenmesse, the world’s largest toy fair by a magnitude, has canceled. In doing so, it closed the final stop on the toy highway. The highway that many of us have traveled for decades.
The toy highway has many routes. My travel has taken me to Sao Paulo, Brazil, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Guangzhou, China, Nuremberg Germany, Tokyo, Japan, Bangkok Thailand, Zagreb Croatia, Ibi Spain, New York, London England, San Francisco, Chicago, Phoenix, and more.
Some of those trips were hard and long – And I complained (16 hours on a plane can feel longer than real-time). Yet, complaints aside, I established relationships and enduring friendships with so many interesting people. And I got smarter. Each time I visited a factory in China, a showroom in Hong Kong, an office in Tokyo, or a booth in Nuremberg, I learned more about business in general and the toy business in particular.
The toy highway has been good to me. For the time being, it is closed. Coronavirus has seen to that. The toy highway will reopen, hopefully in 2023. But I miss it. I do miss it. Don’t you?
Yet the toy industry grew in 2021 per the NPD group, both unit sales and ASP and that’s after a 22% increase in 2020.(Fortune). I adored going to Toy Fair and will miss it, but apparently the industry has managed to find a way to grow without it.
Yes, I miss it. It is a huge blow to our desire to meet in person. I agree with your thoughts this week about meeting in person and the importance to our trade. We are resilient and many of us are lucky that we have been in the toy biz long enough that we have deep and long-term friendships that will survive a couple years away from in-person shows. I feel badly for those who are new to our industry who didn’t get a chance to make connections before the pandemic shut things down. I am seeing that the regional shows are mostly going forward, with Atlanta Gift Show this week and in March, Toy Fest West. Maybe you can visit one of these smaller shows to see your toy peeps in person?
Yes I miss it. Eventually, we shall not meet in Nuremberg. I am sad and disappointed. The Omicron strain has stopped Daniele Caroli.