She explained how today’s tech savvy children are exploring toys from an early age that incorporate artificial intelligence and augmented reality, that not only engage them in learning activities – but also provide an immersive experience. At the same time, environmental and sustainability concerns are driving the toy market in 2023. With an increasing awareness of the impact of plastics and non-recyclable materials on the environment, manufacturers are keen to add eco-friendly toys made from sustainable materials to their lines.
Reyne started her presentation with an explanation of how members of the committee come up with the trends before outlining the key areas of interest for 2023 – and beyond.
“We start looking at them in the summer of the year before the fair and then we all put them together. What are the popular trends in our own countries, in our own regions? And after that, then we consolidate and find which ones are more common across all the areas.”
These are all about entertainment and licensing and, for the first time this year, there was an entertainment and licensing presence at the fair. Available on mobile phones, iPads, laptops, even VR headsets, the Metaverse is essentially a virtual reality world and there are multiple ways to engage within the metaverse. Using an ‘avatar’ – a personal representation of yourself – users can go to school, to work, they can play and socialise, go to concerts and hang out with friends, all within a game or other online environment.
For instance, Roblox is currently the biggest metaverse for kids with Minecraft offering another online opportunity for children to play and interact together. The metaverse offers brands a way to expand their brand loyalty – eg. Lego has partnered with Epic Games “to give kids access to tools that will empower them to become confident creators and deliver amazing play opportunities in a safe and positive space.”
These are the brands that we played with as children, that we might now share with our own kids or even grandchildren – toys, games, figures etc. Again, there are tie-ins with the metaverse with My Little Pony partnering with Roblox. Other legacy brands include number one global toy brand, Lego (now worth $7.4 billion), Barbie, who has been around for over 60 years, and educational preschool brand, Fisher Price, founded in 1930.
Post-Covid, as children are able, once again, to explore the world, there are opportunities for new games – interactive and board – around nature, travel, culture, pets, discovery and science.
A hugely important trend, this was broken down into four different areas:
It’s an exciting time for toy manufacturers and it seems that many are responding to consumers and retailers to be more eco-friendly. It will take time but, like baby steps, it starts with adding just one, then two, then more sustainable products to their line.
Nursery Online wishes to extend its thanks to Reyne Rice and Kids Time Poland for the content in this article.