The traditional toy market closes 2018 with a turnover of -1% compared to last year

At the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg all the latest toy trends.


Globally, 2018 has proved to be a difficult year for the traditional toy industry. According to the surveys of The NPD Group – an international company specialized in market research and information – focusing on Europe (Big 5), the market saw a decline in turnover of -4%.

The Italian performance was better, albeit with a slight decrease: the turnover of the Italian market in 2018 closes with a trend of -1% compared to 2017, with a variation in prices and quantities respectively of + 0.4% and -1 , 5%. Despite the first nine months of the year they recorded a growth of + 2.8%, the last quarter, which represents 54% of the annual turnover, gave a slowdown with a trend of -4%. Once again, Christmas shopping has moved close to Christmas. In particular this year, as a result of the calendar, it was only Christmas Eve to make a positive contribution to the season.

The gap between the distribution channels continues: there was a further contraction in sales in hypermarkets and supermarkets and, on the contrary, an acceleration of online ones and of specialized signs in toys (+ 7%). Looking at the sector’s categories, 2018 was the year of the Playset Dolls, led by L.O.L Surprise !, the first property of the market. The growth recorded by this segment, in fact, led the Dolls category to become the most imported by turnover, accounting for 19.3% of the market. The Infant / Toddler / Preschool category therefore drops to the second position with a decrease of -8%. The year was positive only for another category: Games & Puzzle (+ 5% towards 2017).

2018 was a difficult year for our sector in Europe and the fact that the Italian market has substantially held can not be considered good news – commented Paolo Taverna, director of Assogiocattoli. “To worry more operators – continues Taverna – is the phenomenon of the concentration of purchases increasingly close to Christmas, which creates organizational problems, reorders and lack of the required product. On the other hand, a positive note is the growth of the Games & Puzzles sector, which partly testifies to the desire to resume playing with family and friends and widens the potential of the sector.

Filed in 2018, the first big event of the year is in Nuremberg, where from 30th January to 3rd February 2019 the 70th edition of Spielwarenmesse takes place, the most important toy event that brings together industry operators from all over the German city of the world.

The three megatrends of 2019 are highlighted, with the news gathered by the international experts committee of the fair:

Ready, Steady, Play!: Toys that combine exercise with fun by inviting children to set aside more sedentary activities, such as watching TV and chatting with smartphones. Scooters that become small motorcycles, frisbee that become balls, ladders inspired by those of professional climbers to climb safely on trees, etc .: toys that encourage children to become sports and to be outdoors.
The WOW Effect: toys that hide surprises while meeting children’s happiness for discovery. Even small objects that, thanks to technical expedients or particular mechanisms, suddenly turn into something unexpected and amaze with their additional game effect, such as when collectible dinosaurs are born from a simple slime or with the help of an app you can design sparkling ice princesses.
Toys 4 Kidults: design-oriented and game-oriented products intended for those who, no longer a child, want to relax by escaping the stress of everyday life or keeping alive a childhood memory. Wooden objects by well-known designers with which to create compositions to keep in the office or at home, building kits from thousands of pieces, tracks of vintage cars, characters and heroes that can occupy a “privileged” place in the home: products for all tastes which for some become decorative or design elements, for other collector’s pieces or for other dreams that are realized.

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