Optimism and Innovation Reign at American International Toy Fair® 2009
Top Buyers from 85 Countries Descend on Toy Fair ‘09
Scouting for Latest Toys and Youth Entertainment Products
New York, NY . – More than 1,100 exhibitors displayed an estimated 100,000 new toys and youth entertainment products across more than 361,000 net square feet of exhibit space during the 106th American International Toy Fair® held February 15-18th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. The largest toy trade show in the western hemisphere attracted 10,000-plus buyers from 85 countries to scout for trends and place orders for the latest products to engage and amuse kids of all ages.
“There was a real sense of optimism flowing through the aisles,” said Carter Keithley, president, Toy Industry Association. “Even though attendance was somewhat lower than previous years, order-writing was brisk and many exhibitors commented on the exceptional quality of buyers at this year’s show.”
“There was so much enthusiasm and excitement at Javits; it reminded us why the toy business is so great,” said Eric Levin, president, Techno Source. “Buyers came eager for new items and ready to write orders . . . . This show seems to be a more critical part of our marketing efforts with each passing year.”
Among the 300 first-time exhibitors at the Javits Center was leading global toy maker Bandai America which stationed its booth with giant statuettes of Ben 10 and Power Rangers Megazord.
“We saw our key buyers and retailers, licensors and potential licensors, industry analysts and the media,” said Tim Wills, Bandai Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “It was a one-stop-shop for us and was very positive. To attract all of [these audiences] in one area is priceless.”
Top toy company Mattel also established the Javits Center as its exclusive exhibit space in 2009. Taking over the cavernous Galleria above the main level show floor, Mattel dazzled attendees with extravagant pink displays in celebration of Barbie’s 50th anniversary.
“Exhibiting at Javits with the rest of the toy industry was a tremendously positive experience,” said Neil Friedman, President, Mattel Brands. “It made it easier for us to see buyers and the media coverage was terrific.”
The diversity of retail outlets attending Toy Fair ‘09 encompassed an impressive fifty categories ranging from aviation and travel themed stores to book and pet stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets to drugstore chains and warehouse retailers.
Opportunities to sell to new distribution channels included many of the retailers listed on the 12th annual Deloitte Touche Toohmatsu and STORES magazine report, 2009 Global Powers of Retailing: Wal-Mart, Target, Toys “R” Us, Sears, Kmart, Costco, QVC, Kohl’s, Dollar Tree Stores, Foot Locker, Barnes and Noble, and Michaels Stores.
“The number of buyers from world class retail outlets affirms that Toy Fair is a must-attend event even in a challenged economy,” observed Marian Bossard, TIA Vice President of Meetings and Events. “Attendees were able to connect with their key vendors and discover new resources to bolster their competitive edge.”
The global media was also out in force with close to 1,000 members of the press on hand to report on the fun, innovative – and economical – playthings that will be on the wish lists of the young and young at heart in the fourth quarter. Major media outlets included ABC, AP, CBS, Fox Business, Forbes, MSNBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Late Show with David Letterman, VH-1, MTV and Reuters.
Toy Fair is among the top five NYC-based trade shows, and in 2008 was ranked by Trade Show Executive magazine as # 64 among U.S. trade shows that “set the gold standard for the exposition industry and the industries they serve.” Since expanding to the Javits Center in 1987, Toy Fair has had a major economic impact on New York City, contributing an estimated $840 million to the local economy in the past 22 years.
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