2018 Trend Forecast – Toy Fair NY
I have attended Toy Fair New York for the past several years. It’s on a holiday weekend and I feel like I’ve run a triathlon afterwards, but I still go. Why? Because with over 400,000 square feet of displays, where else would I see all the toys that will be debuting throughout the year? Combine that with the chance to catch up with industry friends and sheer silliness everywhere you look, it’s a must-do for me.
So, now that it’s over, I thought I would share my thoughts on what toy trends we can expect to see this year.
This category has been a top trend for a few years and it’s still going strong. It’s exploded over the years, and now most brands with characters or any kind – from licensed to original characters – have tiny collectibles. What we are seeing now is a move to even smaller options…so small that already tiny toys have tiny toys to play with. And blind packaging is huge. Kids love the mystery factor and will trade duplicates with their friends. And while this trend seemed to target the girls’ market at first, there are now countless options that appeal to the boys market as well.
Cute animals continue to do well. Animatronic animals like last year’s hits Fingerlings, Hatchimals and Furreal Friends will be strong this year and we will see some new winners in this category, like Skyrocket’s Pomsies. We’ll see a lot of “surprise” elements in this category as well as in the tiny collectibles category, where kids will need to do something to reveal the toy, whether it’s nurturing, dropping it in water, cracking it open, or otherwise “unboxing” it. And there will be plush animals. Lots and lots of plush animals.
We’ve been seeing brands familiar to Generation Xers coming back in recent years, like the Fisher Price Classics, Cabbage Patch, Care Bears and re-issues of video games, like Q*bert and Pac-Man. This will continue this year, and as Millennials become parents, we’ll also see toys that were near and dear to them, like Polly Pocket and Tek Deck.
Because many parents are trying to get kids off their screens and to bring back family time, board games will mean big business this year. Old standbys will see updates, like the Monopoly “Cheaters” edition, and Twister, which now has a blindfolded version that is more tactile. There will be countless new games from veteran brands like Hasbro, Ravensburger and ThinkFun, to newer players, like Yulu. Popular themes will be cooperative, escape room, coding and anticipation/surprise.
And perhaps the most pervasive trend of Toy Fair? Poop. I wrote a story about toys that poop back in 2014, which at the time was a micro trend (people weren’t shy about calling me crazy). In 2018, this is no micro trend. Poop and toilet-related themes were literally everywhere. To name a few there were board games, plushes, mini collectibles, poop dough, poop tossing toys and Poopeez, a collection of toys fully revolving around all things toilet, with an accompanying YouTube series. So, if you’re a parent and poop makes you cringe, you might want to get comfortable with it.