Toy trends for 2017

    1024 576 Gerda Van Damme

    Every year, after the traditional Toy Fairs (Nuremberg, London, New York,…) we get a picture of the new toy trends. Here’s a quick recap.

    First of all, our personal favorite this year is Beatmoovz. BeatMoovz is a motion-activated instrumental device that allows you playing sounds with movements and dancing. Although conceived as a performance interface, it made the ‘catwalk of trendy toys’ in NY, in the category ‘Up & Active’. With blurring lines between generations, this product has the potential to speak to kids, ranging from preschoolers to adults with a young mind. What we love: the mix between technology, art and physical effort, and the genious and diverse play patterns (dancing, doing ‘air guitare’, fake fights, …) you can develop based on one extremely simple idea.

     And now let’s look into some key trends:

    1. Collectibles 2.0
      Collectibles were a top contributor to toy industry growth last year (posting 33% growth in US), and they are expected to maintain their popularity in 2017. ‘Swap & Collect” toys, often but not always with blind (‘surprise’) packaging is one of the key trends this year. We will probably also see more of swapping events, organized by supermarkets or clubs. Some collectibles can be customized, or become part of a complete playworld.
    2. Physical activity and mental relaxation: get rid of the stress
      Toys that encourage kids to get up and move – both indoors and outdoors – are on the rise. Often technology is added to the formula, ‘tricking’ kids into physical effort. Digital enhancements (AR!) or poster formats keep the category of coloring products hot, taking care of the mind, for mental relaxation. It’s all about balance and getting away from the screen.
    3. Technology Trends
      Technological toys become more innovative and more high tech, but at the same time more affordable (think of affordable 3D printers). This year we are seeing a surge in augmented and virtual reality toys, drones, virtual pets, robotics, and more. Most importantly, toymakers are successfully leveraging technology to enhance traditional play patterns rather than replace them.
    4. Classic toys, eco and enhanced.
      Games, pluches, puzzles, dolls, wooden or cardboard toys, even retro styled products: it’s hot, and appealing to parents and grand-parents for intergenerational play. Often technological enhancements and out-of-the-box thinking make them even more attractive and hot for the children.
    5. 2017 movies and licensing
      Licensed products traditionally fill a large part of the toy retailers’ shelf space (almost one third in US). So this is what we will see a lot of in 2017:
      ·        The Lego Batman Movie (already released)
      ·        Smurfs: The Lost Village (Spring)
      ·        Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Spring)
      ·        Cars 3 (Summer)
      ·        The Lego Ninjago Movie (Autumn)
    6. Coding and robots, always for younger kids.
      The trend in educational toys that teach kids Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), isn’t going away. In 2017, expect to see Robotics incorporated into the trend – transforming STEAM to STREAM. There is a clear increase of toys focused on learning how to code, even for the youngest. Cubetto by Primo claims to teach children to code before they can read.

    Gerda Van Damme

    Gerda Van Damme is manager of DREAMMACHINE. She is also the organizer of a.o. the Digital Kids Marketing Congress and the Kids & Family Marketing Congress. Gerda is an international keynote speaker about kids & family marketing related subjects, and within the 5% top influencers on Slideshare. Previously Gerda Van Damme has also been manager of KIDS REPUBLIC and of THE WEB FACTORY, and Consumer Marketing Manager at Microsoft (MSN).

    All stories by: Gerda Van Damme

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