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114th North American International Toy Fair Shatters Records, Unveils Ground-Breaking Toys & Connects Global Industry Players

NEW YORK, March 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Toy Industry Association's (TIA) 114th North American International Toy Fair brought 31,133 global play lovers to New York City last week to preview hundreds of thousands of ground-breaking toys and games. The largest toy marketplace ever held in the Western Hemisphere, Toy Fair 2017 boasted a record-breaking 444,309 net square feet of exhibit space – the equivalent of nearly eight football fields filled with toys. The show was held Saturday, February 18Tuesday, February 21 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Toy Fair's upbeat atmosphere matched a burgeoning U.S. toy market, which grew 5 percent in sales last year. Eager to see the latest trends in toys, games, and youth entertainment products, 14,176 retailers, wholesalers, entertainment executives, importers, buying groups, and trade guests from 96 countries were in attendance. The show drew notable increases in attendees from outside the U.S., including international buyers (+10.9 percent year-over-year) and trade guests (+33.1 percent), as well as foreign press (+17.2 percent). The top five countries represented at the show, not including the U.S. and Canada, were China, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Japan.

Toy Fair had 1,131 toy companies of all types and sizes showcase new product lines and key drivers for holiday in front of 10,276 (+2.4 percent) mass and specialty buyers, including delegations from 4,000 unique retail outlets and 22 of the nation's top 25 toy sellers, such as Amazon.com, American Girl, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Costco, CVS, Disney Store, Target, Toys"R"Us, and Walmart. Buyer attendance from brick-and-mortar outlets grew 9.2 percent.

Licensing executives from Amazon Studios, Cartoon Network, Disney Consumer Products, HBO, Lions Gate Entertainment, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Nintendo, Sesame Workshop, SONY Pictures, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and others were also on-site to scout new trends and forge licensing agreements with toymakers.

All attendees enthusiastically explored a vast array of skill-building toys and games, ranging from cutting edge robotics, drones, and active toys, to classic playthings like dolls, plush, and board games. 

"Toy Fair 2017 was a resounding success for our members' businesses! The booths and aisles were abuzz with excitement and optimism, as the toy community continues to impress, innovate, and leverage technology, bringing new toys and games to market that enrich the lives of families everywhere," says Steve Pasierb, president & chief executive at the Toy Industry Association. "This year's show opened doors for American toymakers to new and emerging markets around the world, brought exciting trends and play experiences to life, and unveiled inventions from talented inventors and entrepreneurs. Toy Fair is truly THE epicenter of toys and games and a show unlike any other in the world."

"From first-time exhibitors in our new 'Launch Pad' section, to veteran toymakers that have been exhibiting at Toy Fair for decades, the diversity of companies represented at the show continues to draw an enormous international crowd of play professionals to New York City," adds Marian Bossard, senior vice president of global market events at the Toy Industry Association.  "Our vast range of attendees were there to build new relationships, forge deals, and enjoy a range of practical educational sessions that provided insight into global safety standards, toy trends, licensing, specialty retail, entrepreneurship, and much more."

Toy Fair 2017 also welcomed 1,016 global print journalists, broadcast reporters, and bloggers to report on the top toy trends for 2017 – including Collectibles 2.0, Up & Active, Technology Trends, Oh So Classic!, Movie Mania, and STEAM to STREAM. Top-tier media outlets represented at Toy Fair included ABC, CBS, NBC Today Show, CNBC, CNN, Fox 5, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Newsday, Mashable, Good Housekeeping, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

"Toy Fair 2017 was my first trade show, and it's going to be a tough act to follow," says Morgan Clark, owner/creator of Butterflymachine and a first-time exhibitor at the show.  "The 'Launch Pad' area was blowing up – it was like we just stood there and the entire toy industry came to us!  We had the opportunity to talk with an unbelievable variety of industry professionals who were genuinely interested in our products.  And, we got answers to questions we didn't even know to ask.  Toy Fair has been like rocket fuel for our little business."

Robert Lubeck, CEO of Brackitz, says exhibiting at Toy Fair proved to be a "great experience and success" for his company. "We're currently in the midst of following up with hundreds of leads that we'd otherwise not have if it weren't for the show," says Lubeck. "This includes meetings with retailers, opinion leaders, and even the press. These face-to-face meetings are invaluable for our business and TIA was an incredible host. We look forward to participating next year."

"We look forward to New York Toy Fair every year as it offers us one of the greatest combinations of media opportunities and interested buyers," adds Andrew Quartin, CEO of Thames & Kosmos. "Thanks to the Toy Industry Association, the 2017 Toy Fair will go down as one of the best ones ever."

Target's senior vice president of hardlines, Scott Nygaard, says his team "always finds great products at Toy Fair, and this year was no exception."

"Items that can help inspire creativity and learning in kids had an especially strong showing," says Nygaard. "And if we think about our guest, they continue to get excited about toys and games designed to bring families together. Collectability, especially in key licensed properties, is another trend that stood out, and one that will continue to come to life in a meaningful way this year at Target."

The global toy industry will come together once again next year at the 115th North American International Toy Fair, taking place Saturday, February 17Tuesday, February 20 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Save the date for TIA's long-lead fall marketplace, Fall Toy Preview, taking place October 3-5, 2017 in Dallas, TX.

About the North American International Toy Fair    www.toyfairny.com 
Toy Fair is an annual event that is produced by the Toy Industry Association. The largest toy trade show in the Western Hemisphere, Toy Fair takes place each February at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The show brings together more than 1,100 exhibiting manufacturers, distributors, importers, and sales agents to showcase hundreds of thousands of toys and youth entertainment products to 30,000 retailers, wholesalers, entertainment executives, importers, buying groups, media outlets, and trade guests from nearly 100 countries. 

About the Toy Industry Association     www.toyassociation.org / www.thegeniusofplay.org 
Founded in 1916, the Toy Industry Association™, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. Over the past 100 years, TIA has led the health and growth of the toy industry, and today its 950+ members account for an estimated 90% of the annual $26 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Association serves as the industry's voice on the cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and creative benefits of play, and promotes play's positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. TIA has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play.

SOURCE Toy Industry Association

For further information: Adrienne Appell, Toy Industry Association, Office: 646.520.4863, Mobile: 646.207.3724, aappell@toyassociation.org