The Australian Toy Association's Mid Year Preview returned once again to the Rydges hotel in Rosehill for two days of business, play and learning.
Here are the key takeaways Toy & Hobby Retailer took from the show:
The Mid Year Preview exhibitor list grew in 2019
The 2019 edition of the show saw 36 exhibitors participate in the fair, up 28.6 per cent from 28 in 2018.
21 returning exhibitors and 15 newcomers to the show filled the boardrooms, mezzanine and ballroom spaces, with new and familiar faces showcasing products and special offers for the second half of 2019.
Newcomers to the fair were Baby Brands, Bensons Trading, Bio Dough, The Bugg Report, Cactus, Early Life Projects, Geomagworld Australia, Happy Distribution, Impact Posters, Johnco, Kapla, LaQ Australia (Smart Toys Trading), Licensing International, Rainbow Pacific and Trendy Toys.
Meanwhile returning exhibitors were Australian Toy Distributors, Axis Toys, Big Balloon, Big Wheel Toys, Crown & Andrews | Goliath Games, Funrise Australia, HeadStart International, Heebie Jeebies, Jasnor (Australia), Jedko Games, Keycraft Global, MJM Australia, New Dimension Oz, Plum Products Australia, Theatrix Magic Stuff, Toy Revolution, Toynetworx, U. Games Australia VR Distribution, Winning Moves and Zimbler.
Australian toy market experienced a decline, but not just because of Toys R Us' exit
On the second morning of the Mid Year Preview NPD Australia gave an insightful presentation into the state of the Australian toy market.
According to the statistics NPD collects, the Australian toy market experienced a 10 per cent decline in dollar sales in the year to May 2019.
NPD attributes this decline to more than just Toys R Us' exit from the market, citing declines in licensed toys and collectibles sales; the rise in online shopping which removes the opportunity for impulse purchases; the rises in the use of consumer electronics and video games; and, economic factors including committed consumption – where before consumers receive their pay they know they have certain amounts to pay to things like streaming services and subscriptions – declines in consumer confidence and retail disruption.
Kidult market and nostalgia are growing trends
The market has been saying it for a while: adult party games are a thing. Although many retailers have been quick to stock these games, it seems that they are becoming a permanent fixture in the aisle, with some retailers segmenting out areas of their games section exclusively for party games.
This is reinforced by the growing kidult consumer market which according to NPD makes up 8 per cent of the market.
This kidult segment could also be behind the growing interest in nostalgia brands such as Harry Potter, Friends and Toy Story.