International Toy Fair cancelled – what does it mean for a small toy retailer?

Nurnberg Centre of City

So mid January 2022 the toy business was rocked by the news that the Nuremberg Toy Fair has been cancelled because of this blasted Omicron.

In view of the international audience that attends I suppose being COVID careful makes sense, after all this is the 2nd largest toy fair in the world (after New York).

A few facts and figures to understand how big The Nurnberg Toy Fair is…

  • 2,843 exhibitors from 70 countries
  • 1 million products
  • 62,357 trade visitors from 136 countries
  • 1,367 bloggers and journalists from 38 countries
  • 12 product groups in 18 halls

Logo of Nurnberg International Toy FairThe show is enormous and browsing through thousands of stalls is exhausting. I’ll put its size in context; the main exhibition hall in the RDS is about half the size of one hall in Nuremberg and then you have at least another 17 equally sized halls.

I was so much looking forward to going for both business and pleasure. Nuremberg is a buzzing, Bavarian city with beautiful buildings, lovely food and a tram system that is so efficient!

The simple thought of leaving the house, which is also where the business is, was exciting and I was starting to get ready for it…physically and mentally!

Mimitoys specialises in toys and games that are developmental, traditional, and educational. With these type toys we often meet with the owner or the team who came up with the idea and design of a range of toys – I find that fascinating. I love to hear their passion and enthusiasm about learning, play and how they demonstrate a real care and respect for children. This a business for them as much as it is for me, but knowing that it all started from the heart makes a difference and often defines my choice of suppliers.

Trade fairs are a way to connect with existing or potential suppliers and also competitors. With Nurnbergs size, Mimitoys gets exposed to a huge range of potential toys that enhances our range and introduces new ideas. I also love the gossip and hearing how others are thriving or diving within the industry.

In reflection I’ll miss it because despite all the benefits, an e-commerce only business is in reality quite isolating, I rarely get to see or talk to customers or even sales representatives. Nurnberg is my very own Oscars ceremony – excepting the 20KM of walking you need to do at the show every day.

However, most suppliers and manufacturers are resourceful and have replaced the trade show by zoom visits of their showroom. Where you have virtual presentations and online demonstrations of their toys and games. I am actually looking forward to my 1st zoom presentations in mid-February, it’s all new, it’s exciting and I will keep you posted with short videos.

8th Feb ’22 UPDATE

So below is a short vid of my Zoom video call with a supplier we were due to meet in Nurnberg. It was excellent – we got to know Marcel a bit better and Marcel got to know us a bit better too – asking really good questions. I wonder would he have felt comfortable at the show asking us the question “So what is your Ethos”…. I dont know, but it demonstrated to me that he was genuinely interested in what we did.

I guess Zoom can actually be more personal and informative than a trade show in more ways than I originally thought.

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