The US Toy Association has announced plans for the return of its annual Toy Fair, and reserved the dates of 1st – 4th May at the Jacob K. Javits Center, pushing back the date from its usual February slot.
In a letter to show constituencies, Association President Steve Pasierb declared the Association wants to bring the industry together “as soon as it’s safe and possible to do so.”
“We have been presented with a window in the opening days of May and we are willing, ready, and able to put resources toward the show and any other projects that will continue to help members grow their businesses,” he writes.
“When the time was right to provide a digital solution, we did just that by leveraging our existing technology to build and offer Toy Fair Everywhere digital market weeks. When the time was right to provide companies with private virtual preview opportunities with key retailers – Target, Toys“R”Us Canada, and Meijer – we did. And when the time is right for a return to in-person meetings, we will make it happen.
“While none of us can be certain what the nation and world will look like some seven months in the distance, we all need the promise of a future for the toy and play industry, a return to a degree of business normalcy, and to reclaim some aspects of our collective pre-COVID-19 lives.”
The Association chose the May dates after surveying toy buyers and sellers and concluded that May can serve as a trade buying opportunity for specialty retailers for Q4 2021.
“There is also a healthy slate of toy, entertainment, and licensed properties targeted for 2022 that need to be acted upon,” Steve notes. “As always, Toy Fair New York is a key opportunity for influential brand owners, licensors, licensees, retailers, and manufacturers to connect in the media and financial capital of the world, New York City.
“To be certain, this not the Toy Fair NY we have traditionally known as we anticipate smaller footprints, a different exhibitor mix, less extravagant if not workmanlike displays, and simply a focus on making the human and product connections that Zoom and similar substitutes have not been able to offer.”
The May show will be canceled if the Association feels at any point that Toy Fair NY 2021 “cannot be produced in a safe manner,” according to the announcement.
Plans are in place for a February show in 2022 regardless of whether the May 2021 show is held.
“Our community made it clear they did not want Toy Fair NY 2021 to simply become virtual,” Steve notes. “Rather, the connections, ability to experience products first-hand, and return to some form of human connection in doing business have proven to reign supreme.
“Together looking toward May with optimism reflects the very nature of the toy and play community – resilience, tenacity, confidence, and a willingness to find new ways forward.”
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses that design, produce, license, and deliver toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. Its 950+ members drive the annual $27 billion US domestic toy market, and the organisation has a long history of propelling the health and growth of the toy industry, which has an annual US economic impact of $98.2 billion.