2021 had a unique face to face opportunity on Tuesday 2nd March and virtual 1-5 March and was organised by Australian Toy Association
. Our media was invited to cover the exhibition this year. https://austoy.com.au/toy-fair/the-fair
This is the biggest and most important industry event in Australia, attracting the largest names in toys and thousands of attendees from around the world. At this annual event, media, retailers and buyers are given their first look at the new toy, hobby and licensing products from suppliers. The Internationally acclaimed event showcased new and exciting Toys each year.
Please read Elice Thomas
' review accompanied by her images:
THE AUSTRALIAN TOY HOBBY AND LICENSING FAIR 2021
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m more a kid at heart than a grown-up, so given the chance to attend the Australian Toy Association (ATA) Awards, I had to accept. Usually this event is held at the Melbourne Convention Centre, but due to COVID restrictions, 2021 has seen the awards moved to a small office space. This didn’t bother the kids invited to playtest the toys, as they quickly gravitated towards their favourite toys.
Last year, the ATA introduced a Judges’ Choice Aware, which is a predictive category based on how well retailers expect the toy to do on shelves that year. Even better, this year another category has been introduced – the Kids’ Choice Award, to that kids can have their own say. “Bluey and LEGO are firm favourites,” says Alice Sanderson, Executive Manager of the Association. But new toys like Funrise Australia’s ‘Kid in a Bubble’ are also seeing their share of fame, with ‘Kid in a Bubble’ winning the Kids’ Choice Toy of the Year because of the advent of “outdoor play”. Barbie continues to win multiple categories as well, due to its “innovative design”.
I’m happy to report that many Australian-designed and -manufactured products have also won multiple categories, such as Happy Planet Toys, Moose, and Gemex. Each of these companies has toys that are predicted to do very well in the upcoming year, many of them new and innovative. One such example is Happy Planet Toys’ bathtime playsets, which are particularly inventive for their use of recycled plastics to create aquatic-themed toys for younger children. Kids like the cute, chunky design and it’s a great way to help the planet.
SO what do judges look for when judging toys? Says Alice, “Judges are buyers and retailers, so it’s based on their experience [selling toys]”. Replayability, as well as how well the toy is expected to sell based on similar designs, are top concerns. Out of hundreds of products, 18 are chosen for each category, such as hobby toys, collectibles, and early learning.
I very much enjoyed this experience, seeing all of these toys on show and finding my own favourites amongst them - I’m partial to LEGO myself, which had won collectible and construction Toy of the Year for the upcoming year. I hope to attend next year’s awards, when, fingers crossed, it can be moved back to a bigger space and I can experience them in their full glory.
#toyfair #ATA #valueofplay #VOP
special thanks: Larissa Anderson at Cavanagh PR