Until two years ago, January through February was the busiest and most exhausting time for the American toy industry. Toy people began their year by attending three global toy shows in a matter of weeks. Like nomads, they started the year with a two-week stay in Hong Kong, followed by a trip to the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg in early February, and concluded with Toy Fair in February.
Like nomads, toy people schlepped boxes of samples, suitcases, briefcases, and themselves onto planes, trains, and automobiles. In less than two months, those who attended all three of these events had seen a multitude of buyers, inventors, and company executives. They had eaten too much, drank too much, and slept too little. They had made so many presentations that they were doing them in their sleep.
That was then, and this is now. Quarantines and mandatory isolation for newly arrived visitors have disrupted travel to Hong Kong and China. It is unlikely we will see Hong Kong for the next two years. The Toy Association moved the 118-year-old Toy Fair from February to September.
What was once a busy two-month period is down to one global show – The Spielwarenmesse. This Nuremberg-based show, taking place February 1-5, now stands alone as the premier toy winter event – by a magnitude.
Whatever in-person business you did in Hong Kong or New York (buying and selling, sourcing, etc.) will now need to be done at The Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg. Those who regularly attend or exhibit at the Spielwarenmesse will have no challenge adapting to the new calendar. However, those who have never been may find the prospect daunting.
The Spielwarenmesse is big – really big. There are 18 buildings so bring good walking shoes.
To help those who have never made the pilgrimage, I will publish a series of articles providing the knowledge needed to get to and around the show, know where to stay, and how to get the most out of the experience – and it is an experience.
In the meantime, you can learn more by clicking here.
A version of this article ran in April, 2022.