Top toy trends for 2019: Report from International Toy Fair

Leslie Penkunas//February 20, 2019

Top toy trends for 2019: Report from International Toy Fair

Leslie Penkunas//February 20, 2019

This year, we will see some of the most creative and imaginative new products to hit store shelves in recent years, according to officials of The Toy Association, holding its 116th North American International Toy Fair in New York this week.

“The toy industry is doing an amazing job of providing innovation along with classic toys and games to deliver cutting-edge playthings to the toy aisle,” said Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association, in a prepared statement. “The top trends announced today reflect a continued demand for toys that include a surprise element, toys that tap into nostalgia, playthings that encourage kids to try out different activities and explore new worlds, and unique licensed-based toys that enhance developmental skills through play.”

The Toy Association’s team meets with hundreds of global toy companies throughout the year to track the latest developments in toys and youth entertainment. At the International Toy Fair in New York earlier this week, the team saw thousands of products on the show floor before making an official announcement of the year’s hottest trends at a “Toy Trends Briefing.”

The top six toy trends for 2019:

Unboxing 2.0. Unboxing continues to be a big trend as kids love the surprise element of unwrapping a toy and enjoy searching for rare or limited-edition versions. In 2019, unboxing will add play patterns and features that extend the elements of surprise by encouraging new ways to play with the toy, so that the unboxing play becomes part of the story, such as a secret decoder or unique packaging that transforms into storage or playsets.

Compound Crazy: Dough, Slime, Sand and More. Creative and reusable compounds like slime, kinetic sand, dough, putty, and others are popular not only on their own such as in playdoh sets or as part of the slime craze, but also within the unboxing trend, where compounds are being seen as another layer kids have to “dig through” to get to the prize – adding even more suspense to the toy.

Throwback Toys. Parents are looking to share toys and characters that played a big part of their childhoods with their kids and this will include classic low-tech playthings.

Foodie Fun. From trendy foods to farmer’s markets to food trucks, there are a myriad of scrumptious and creative ways that food and drink items have made their way into the toy aisle as popular playthings. In addition, from fruity to spicy to even off-putting or gross-out smells, scented toys have become a must-have item for kids.

Inspirational and Aspirational Play. Whether it’s a fashion designer, a chef, or learning to build a robot, there is a growing trend of toys, games, and activities that can help prepare and inspire kids for the future. According to The Toy Association’s Decoding STEM/STEAM report, toys play a crucial role in teaching STEAM concepts to kids by helping develop these necessary skills and competencies through play.

Explosive Entertainment. From live-action remakes such as The Lion King and Aladdin, to Frozen II, Toy Story 4 and the next Star Wars and Avengers installments, it should be a busy year for licensed toys and games. Licensing continues to be a huge part of the toy business, representing about 30 percent of all U.S. toy sales.



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