New York City was transformed into a magical playground this morning when hundreds of thousands of innovative playthings were unveiled at the opening of the 111th American International Toy Fair – the largest toy marketplace ever held in the Western Hemisphere – which took place on February 16-19, 2014.
More than 30,000 play professionals from 100 countries were expected at Toy Fair 2014 to explore a record-breaking 412,000 net square feet of exhibit space at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Upwards of 1,150 toy companies – 285 of which are exhibiting for the very first time – are slated to unveil the year’s hottest trends in toys, games and youth entertainment products in front of an estimated 14,000 global buyers.
“New York Toy Fair is the only show in the world that provides the international toy industry with direct access to the tremendous creativity and talent of North American toymakers,” said Carter Keithley, President of the Toy Industry Association (TIA), the trade group that owns and operates the show. “The diverse Toy Fair marketplace offers something for everyone – including niche buyers, mass retailers, licensing executives, and many more – all of who consider the show to be a ‘must-attend’ stop on the global buying circuit.”
Toy Fair opened at 10 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring GRAMMY-winning artist Alicia Keys, co-creator of the interactive children’s app, The Journals of Mama Mae & LeeLee. Immediately following the show opener, trade guests surged the exhibit hall and kicked off four, jam-packed days of trend-spotting, networking and order-writing. Playthings ordered at Toy Fair will be appearing in toy stores through the holiday shopping season.
Providing media and trade guests with the inside scoop on which toys will top wish lists this year, TIA experts revealed the biggest trends of 2014 at the annual “Toy Trends Tea” on Monday, February 17. “Larger than life” toys … high-tech RC vehicles …“frightfully fun” playthings … and games that teach important “STEAM” concepts are just a few examples of the trending playthings that will be covered at the talk.
World-class educational seminars were held throughout the show included licensing-focused seminars; global trade and market expansion research presentations; workshops for inventors and designers; and toy safety and compliance forums for manufacturers and retailers. New for Toy Fair 2014 was a free e-tool that extends the marketplace beyond its four-day run, ShopToyFair365, enabling buyers and sellers to connect and conduct business online before, during and after the show.
World Liberty TV, Toy and Gaming team was on hand to cover the show as well as interview some of the vendors debuting their new Toys, see what they had to say.