Exclusive interview with The Toy Association’s leading trend specialist Adrienne Appell

9 Jan - 2019

Tags from the story: Toy Fair New York.

Sneak Peek at Top Toy Trends for 2019.

Toy Fair New York is just around the corner, and for many in the industry it’s among the most anticipated toy shows on the global buying circuit. With exhibitors showcasing hundreds of thousands of playthings coming to market in 2019, there’s an incredible excitement as buyers walk the aisles of New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The Toy Association’s Trend Tracking Team works year-round meeting with toy companies and exploring parallel marketplaces to identify emerging and continuing themes in the marketplace. Licensing Magazine sat down with The Toy Association’s leading trend specialist, Adrienne Appell, senior director of strategic communications, to find out what’s on tap for 2019.

How are you able to know what themes will be recurring in the industry so early in the year? How far in advance does the team start researching new trends?

Appell: By the time the doors of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center opens, our team will have previewed more than 1,000 toys, games, and youth entertainment products. We begin our trend hunting months before Toy Fair New York, attending preview events such as Toy Fair Dallas and other showroom visits in the early fall. By the opening day of Toy Fair, we have been analyzing and reviewing product for almost six months.

Can you share a few of the themes toy buyers can expect to see at Toy Fair?

Appell: While we don’t want to give away too much before our “big reveal” during the show, I can tell you that some trends and themes from last year will be carrying through in 2019 – of course in an amped up way. Unboxing will reach a whole new level and kids are still clamoring for toys that have a surprise element.

Entertainment continues to be a huge driver and the content being released in 2019 lends itself to some incredible toys and play patterns. From Frozen 2 and Avengers to live action versions of Lion King and Aladdin, families can expect some exciting products to compliment the content their kids will be watching – often again and again!

“Hungry” for more? You’ll just have to wait until Toy Fair, although I will tell you that’s another hint.

When will The Toy Association reveal the trends to the global toy industry?

Appell: Our Toy Trends Briefing will take place on Sunday, February 17 at 4 p.m. in Level 1, Hall 1E, Room 1E09. The team will present each trend and use product examples from the show floor to highlight recurring themes. So not only is the event informative, it’s great exposure for companies that get their products in the mix. The event is usually a highlight of the show (in my biased opinion).

Is the presentation only for Toy Association members?

Appell: Actually, the Toy Trends Briefing originally started as special event for media in the press room. But we had interest from so many others that we moved it to a larger venue and opened it up to everyone with a Toy Fair badge.

Attendance continues to grow each year. The room is filled with media, buyers, manufacturers, and licensors. It’s free to attend, but be sure to arrive early. Seats fill up quickly!

How do companies get their products chosen for the presentation?

Appell: We comb the show floor to find samples to help us and always try to have representation from companies big and small, however exhibitors have the greatest chance of inclusion if we have your product information before the show.

We encourage members and exhibitors to participate in our product preview on Friday, February 15 . During the preview, companies can show us up to three top drivers for inclusion in our product database. For more information on product preview, email Michela Mickaluck (MMickaluck@kellencompany.com).

What are you most excited for at Toy Fair New York?

Appell: No amount of previewing allows you to see every single product that will be on display. I’m most excited for walking the aisles and finding even more stuff to play with!

As The Toy Association’s leading trend specialist, Adrienne Appell maintains close communication with member toy companies to stay abreast of what’s new, next, and cutting-edge in the toy industry. Adrienne is interviewed frequently by consumer and business media on toy trends and related topics.

The 116th North American International Toy Fair will take place February 16 to 19, 2019 in New York City. For more information, visit www.ToyFairNY.com.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Read our last issue

Our Youtube Channel!


Zoonicorn enters Licensing Expo with new licensing deals and expanded streaming content in additional territories.  Zoonicorn’s seven-minute episodes are produced by Toonz Entertainment and Zoonicorn, LLC and distributed by Toonz Entertainment. Global licensing for...

read more