2012 Toy Trends Unveiled by Industry Experts at American International Toy Fair
February 16, 2012

“Generation App” … “Glowing Wild” … “Little Learners” … “Save ‘n’ Splurge” Among Key Trends

NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — A slate of hot new toy trends for 2012 that keep pace with advancements in the tech world, mirror societal trends and aim to produce well-rounded, lifelong learners were unveiled today by the Toy Industry Association (TIA) at its 109th American International Toy Fair.

After scouring through 100,000+ products now on display at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, TIA’s trend experts have laid out a fresh crop of trends that will connect, glow, teach, “WOW” and hit a “high note” with kids of all ages. Significant for 2012 is a resurgence of toys on the higher end of the price scale as well as an influx of educational toys for tots, indicating that post-recession wallets – and families – are expanding.

“Toymakers continue to innovate at the speed of light to keep up with trends in other areas – from pop culture to technology – because they know that kids want to be a part of the mix and mimic what’s happening in the world around them,” said Adrienne Appell, TIA’s in-house trend expert. “The toy industry draws upon economic and birth rate data to determine price points and product lines, which accounts for the prevalence this year of big-ticket items and toys for infants and pre-school children.”

Appell made the comments during a “Toy Trends Tea” hosted this afternoon by TIA – owner and operator of Toy Fair and official voice of the toy industry. A video of the presentation will be posted to the Toy Fair 2012 and TIA websites (ToyFairNY.com / ToyAssociation.org).

A summary of the six top trends follows:

  • GENERATION APP An emerging trend identified at Toy Fair 2011, this year there is an abundance of toys that work with smart devices and apps. Toymakers are using technology to enhance classic play patterns – not erase them. Physical toys remain integral to the play experience; in many cases, companies have created traditional toys that interact with popular devices that are already in so many homes … while tying in educational or active components for a well-rounded play experience.Includes: Products that work with an app or smart devices and products that are based upon an app or web property but have no digital tie-in.
  • GLOWING WILD Toys that glow in the dark or light up will infiltrate the toy aisle this year across multiple categories – from outdoor and active toys to arts and crafts and creative products. Toys in this category add a fantastical element to playtime for kids of all ages. They “ignite” imaginative play by drawing kids into a world of whimsy and wonder – from arts and crafts toys that incorporate LED components to exciting light-up toys that safely simulate fireworks.Includes: Toys that rely on a glow component to drive the play experience and toys that are equally enjoyable in the light of day as they are in the dark (i.e. glow-in-the-dark wooden building blocks).
  • LITTLE LEARNERS Far from simple “watch me” toys, products in this category build cognitive and developmental skills beginning at a very early age, transforming little ones into well-rounded, lifelong learners. These toys also give tykes a wide range of play options to choose from – allowing them to explore their interests and talents and develop these skills as they grow older.Includes: Infant to pre-school toys and games that educate and challenge and educational toys targeted to children of all ages.
  • MANY WAYS TO PLAY! Toys in this category engage kids on multiple levels. Parents can buy one very dynamic toy that will entertain and educate a child for hours, days, weeks and months … allowing them to truly get their money’s worth. These toys have real depth – kids can play differently each time depending on their moods or interests. Many of these toys also grow with a child so that they can play in another way depending on their age.Includes: toys that combine multiple play patterns (i.e. active play, role play, game play, etc.) and customizable toys (playthings become a unique reflection of a child’s individuality).
  • SAVE ‘N’ SPLURGE Recent toy industry data released by The NPD Groupshowed that consumers are increasingly making “purchasing trade-offs” – that is, buying higher-priced toys at the expense of mid- to lower-priced ones. As a result, 2012 will see a resurgence of toys that fall on the higher end of the price spectrum, as consumers are willing to loosen their purse strings a bit and spend more on products that pack a high play value punch or have a certain “WOW” factor.However, shoppers will always be attracted to affordable prices. Affordability was a trend in the past few years and this sub-trend will persist in 2012 as parents and other shoppers have really come to expect big play value at affordable prices.

    Includes: “The Big Ask” / impressive toys (at higher prices) and collectibles / expanded lines (at affordable prices).

  • YOUNG MAESTROS A wide variety of musical toys will hit a high note in 2012 as kids of all ages – from infants to tweens and teens – rock out with toys and games that teach them how to play different instruments, practice their singing, or show off their dance moves. This trend is being driven largely by pop culture – such as television shows like American Idol, Glee, The Voice and X Factor.Includes: toys for young kids that teach music basics and toys for older kids that let them emulate their favorite pop stars.

The Toy Industry Association also tracks a broad range of ongoing cross-sector trends, such as toys celebrating significant anniversaries; entertainment properties that span blockbuster movies or brands; and re-emergences of nostalgic characters loved by past generations.

“In 2011, licensed toys represented 26% of total industry sales, and with a slate of family-friendly movies hitting the theaters in the coming months, there will be a steady stream of new content tied to entertainment and licensing properties throughout 2012,” said Appell.

Additional information about these trends is available on-site at Toy Fair in the Press Center (through 4:00 pm on Wednesday, February 15 in Special Events Hall 1D) or via e-mail to the TIA public relations contact listed on this release. For tips on toy safety and trends year-round, visit ToyInfo.org.

About the American International Toy Fair

Toy Fair is an annual event that is owned and operated by the Toy Industry Association (TIA). The largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere, the show brings together more than 1,000 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers and sales agents from 110 countries to showcase an estimated 100,000 toy and entertainment products to the 8,000 unique retail outlets scheduled to attend.

About the Toy Industry Association (TIA)

TIA is the not-for-profit trade association for producers and importers of toys and youth entertainment products sold in North America, representing more than 550 companies who account for approximately 85% of domestic toy sales. Toy safety is the number one priority for the toy industry. TIA has a long history of leadership in toy safety including development of the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 30 years ago, and working with government, consumers and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play. For more information, please visit www.toyfairny.com, www.toyassociation.org or www.toyinfo.org.

Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.

 

 

 

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