Curated by leading buying group, Associated Independent Stores, INDX Toy & Gift’s March edition welcomed almost 70 exhibitors to the organisation’s dedicated exhibition venue, Cranmore Park, as toy visitors showed out in force for the spring buying season.
Each year, INDX Toy & Gift takes on a new theme in order to best reflect and cater for current market trends and developments, with 2023 being centred around licensed toys.
Returning brands included Character Options, Hasbro, Spin Master, Depesche, Keycraft and Bigjigs. Meanwhile, the show also welcomed a number of new exhibitors, including Hippychick, Abrams & Chronicle, Orange Tree Toys, The Carat shop, Ziggle, Sheldon, Maped Helix, and Connetix Tiles.
Rosie Marshall, Head of Toys and Children’s Gifts at AIS, said: “Post-pandemic, we observed a huge uptick in sales for licensed toys, which is a trend that has continued right the way through to 2023, with ongoing film, television and streaming releases presenting a great opportunity for tie-ins.
“Consumers of all ages are returning to trusted brands, from toys for toddlers all the way up to the kidult market. We welcomed an increased number of licensed exhibitors stocking a vast variety of products to the show for this very reason, and there was a great response to this from visitors.”
March’s show also saw the return of a popular social evening with a pub quiz and hot buffet, allowing exhibitors and visitors the opportunity to network in a more relaxed environment after the show.
Rosie concluded: “I have always put stock in the value of face-to-face contact with likeminded industry professionals, and the return of our quiz night was well-received by all. All in all, member support for the show was excellent, while we were also able to welcome a number of non-members to the show for the first time too.”
Following the organisers’ decision to extend into the ‘nursery gift’ arena, Nursery Online couldn’t wait to visit this week’s INDX Toy & Gift show.
We saw a definite shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly pre-school and nursery toys and gifts, with recycled materials being used in plush toys as well as a replacement for plastic – refreshing to see and a real move forward for the industry. There was even a presence from a new toy recycling initiative.
Also noticeable was the quality of the brands for buyers. From retailers we spoke to, they said they found the atmosphere calm and they were able to take the time to explore properly, making considered buying choices rather than feeling rushed with a queue of buyers behind them.
Things we loved…
The new plush collection from Trudi – a lovely selection of cuddly traditional bears and animal hand puppets particularly caught our eye (brought to you by John Adams)!
The new Tonies sheep nightlight and storytelling characters for preschool ages.
Maped My First Color’Peps – colouring crayons and finger paints for aged 1+
The adorable plush collection from Happy Horse – brought to you by Finest for Baby. This lovely range of teddies, bunnies and other animals in a variety of sizes makes perfect gifts for little ones as well as for parents buying their new baby’s first soft toy.
The Ziggle new collection of super soft comforters and sunhats
The wooden toys from Hape (Toynamics). We particularly liked the Butterfly and Apple Grab Toy.
Living Nature Toy collection – we loved the flamingo and lamb, and new collection for baby including comforter, we think it’s a real winner. The modern crate point of sale units add something special to any retail display.
Trixie cotton backpacks, matching bottles and new wooden rattle
The new Nattou plush collection in earthy colours, Crocodile Creek puzzles and Classic World Busy Boards from Hippychick
Warmies fully heatable soft toys, especially the avocado and sloth!
Last but by no means least, The Green Toys collection brought to the show by family company Bigjigs. This eco-friendly collection of planes, dump trucks and boats is made from recycled plastic and packaged in fully recyclable packaging. We love the versatility of the products too – suitable for indoor play, bath time or outdoor play.