While the event is trade only, and not opened to the public, the Toy Association shared some scoop on the biggest trends of 2018 in the world of toys.
The Toy Association is a non-profit trade association that represents all businesses involved in creating and bringing toys and youth entertainment products to kids of all ages. Its 950 members made up approximately 90 percent of the annual U.S. domestic toy market of $26 billion.
According to The Toy Association Director of Strategic Communications Adrienne Appell, some of the trending toys in 2018 include collectibles, especially “blind bag” items like L.O.L. Surprise, small dolls and toys contained in themed balls, and Pikmi Pops, lollipops filled with mini-plushies and other sweet surprises.
The appeal to young children is not knowing what you have until you’ve opened the container. The L.O.L. Surprise dolls were some of the biggest sellers last year overall.
“We think that will continue to be a really, really big trend for 2018,” she said.
Another big trend are pet toys, which include animatronics and collectibles. Expect Tamagotchi, the handheld digital pet made popular during the 1990s, to make a huge comeback with the younger generation.
In addition to toys that are tech-based, toys that teach children various life skills and concepts, such as how to grow a garden or how to care for a pet, are growing in popularity.
In fact, although tech toys seem to be the ones who receive the most buzz, there was an eight percent growth in plush toys from 2016 to 2017 in addition to a three percent growth in dolls and four percent growth in puzzles, according to the market research company, The NPD Group.
“It’s all about the balance in toy box,” Appell said. “Tech is a mainstay in everyone’s life, but I think parents are a lot more conscious of once the kid steps away from the screen, how can families connect face-to-face.
“With social media and being online, I think parents are recognizing and want to make sure that their kids know how to interact socially and in real-life,” Appell added. “If you can do that through games and through play, that’s fantastic.”
While the Toy Fair is trade only, the public can attend the Play Fair in November at the Javitts Center. At Play Fair, there are several hands-on exhibits, displays, dozens of toy and entertainment brands and never-before-seen exclusives.
“Play Fair is a giant, immersive family playdate where the brands truly come to life,” Appell said. “It’s a really fun event.”