GETTING CHILDREN OFF SCREENS

Toy Fair returned for its 65th year, with more than 250 exhibiting companies launching thousands of new products to eager buyers and visitors. High-tech coding robots, motorised skates, board games, and flying poop toys were just some of the stars of the show.

The show opened with the news that UK toy sales had decreased by 2.8% in 2017 to £3.4bn. The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) and the NPD Group attributed the dip to a number of factors, including under-performing licenses, the impact of Brexit, and concern over

counterfeit toys. But 2017 also had successes within the toy industry, with collectables growing by 17 percent to hold 9 percent of the overall value of the UK market.

Many of the show’s most exciting and innovative products were selected for Toy Fair’s Hero Toys, the inaugural awards judged by the BTHA and independent industry experts.

We thought we’d share with you what’s new, and round up a few of our favourites.

The Hot Wheels Bladez DRX X-Terrain is the latest model in Hot Wheels Bladez drone range. A set of movable drone blades are fixed to a vehicle, powering it around on the ground. But it’s powerful enough to lift the whole thing off the ground, turning it into a wheeled drone. It doesn’t stop there. The wheels are made from

polystyrene, so you can land the Blades DRX on water, where the rotors make it work like a hovercraft. It can be used indoors or out, and is designed for racing so you can use it alongside other DRX drones. Definitely one of the coolest things we’ve seen.

A toy we love is the K’Nex rollercoaster kit that children can assemble and then “ride” by wearing a virtual reality headset. It combines new technology with the traditional play value of using your hands to build your toy, enabling the child

to use their own imagination but enhancing technology to expand the play value. VR is an area that we are seeing an increase of use in, not only product but also point of sale and display – our sister company Big Group Retail, have been

developing this technology for many of our clients and we have created some innovative use in POS.

Get the kids outdoors with an array of scooters on offer. Jetson has a range of electric scooters, with flashing lights, a cool way to get around.

Micro Scooters offer a scooter for everyone – that adjusts to grow with your child, supporting their development in balance and coordination.

This trend continues for adult users, with motorised skateboards with remote controls now trending in adult sports.

With traditional play some classics are coming back; Action Man makes a comeback later this year and will have several military versions (soldier, sailor, pilot, marine).

With the Collectable market growing, there was an array of collectables throughout the show. Ty Mini Boos Collectibles caught our eye, they are small, hand-painted figurines, sold

individually in boxes that conceal the content.

It was good to see Family board games making a return as parents fed up of antisocial smart-phones and “tech” toys revert to traditional play. According to the Toy Retailers Association (TRA) annual Dream Toys list of predicted top sellers,

board games are set for a major comeback as sales have risen by 30 percent in 2017. We saw an increase in Adult board games too throughout the show – with social-focused games, two new ones that caught our attention both stem from TV

programming – Strictly Come Dancing and the Bush Tucker Trial Challenge from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. For more information on the latest toy trends please get in touch.