4 Trends Spotted At The 2019 New York Toy Fair

Across seven football fields-worth of toys at the New York Toy Fair this year, which trends stood out as ones that will rake in revenue? We picked four as ones to watch…

Elmo, PAW Patrol pups, and even the Toys R Us giraffe showed up to the 2019 New York Toy Fair to engage with retailers, executives, and press as they hunted for the trends that will take over kids’ wishlists this year. Plenty of trends that we’ve watched rise through the ranks over the past couple of years continued in full force at the fair, while others faded. STEAM toys remained an important educational angle for toymakers, while slime has expanded into other compounds like putty and sand. One trend that seems to have been shoved to the back of the toy box is gross-out toys and games; though there were some new offerings, like YULU’s PopPop Snotz and WowWee’s Fart Launcher, shelf space seems to have mostly shifted from disgusting to cutesy. Meanwhile, llamas are the new unicorns; the animal was everywhere, and we’re keeping an eye on sloths and narwhals to be big hits in the near future as well.

Unboxing, a trend we called out in 2018, became bigger than ever—The Toy Association is calling it “Unboxing 2.0.” The trend has expanded into an entire YouTube-fueled genre, full of influencers, ASMR, and of course, toymakers putting a spin on surprise collectibles originally inspired by L.O.L. Surprise! and Hatchimals. In addition, several iconic toys and franchises had anniversaries this year, causing toy makers to come out with new spins on nostalgic classics. But brands also went beyond throwbacks to appeal to Millennial parents, catering to adults as much as kids. Find out more about the four trends that took over the New York Toy Fair this year:

1. AR, App-Connected, Animatronic, Etc.

Toymakers want kids’ IRL…


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The Newsfeed

Quote of the Day: “The [financial] industry has been slow to adapt to the ways in which young people want to be communicated with and to communicate with each other.”—Ian Rosen, CEO, StockTwits (YPulse)

Instagram users can now purchase products without leaving the app. The platform’s shopping tags are evolving to allow users to check out directly inside the app from about 20 retailers using saved payment and shipping information. The move doesn’t just give Facebook a direct cut of each sale, but also allows the platform to collect data that they’ll leverage in their ad targeting. Instagram’s influence over young consumers’ purchases continues to skyrocket, and according to our Shoppability trend, 72% of Gen Z & Millennials are open to buying products on social media. (Recode)

Disney and MAC Cosmetics are debuting a nostalgic makeup line for Aladdin fans. The Disney Aladdin collection features lipstick, an eyeshadow palette, and bronzer in jewel and metallic hues that Princess Jasmine might wear with her bright turquoise outfit. The partnership is part of the lead-up to the live-action Aladdin’s debut, and isn’t MAC’s first time introducing fans to whole new worlds of Disney-themed cosmetics. In the past, they’ve also released Cinderella and Disney villains-themed lines. (Teen Vogue)

Google announced their ambitious plan to become “the future of gaming:” a cloud-based streaming service called Stadia. Gamers will be able to play across device (phones, TVs, tablets, etc.) without waiting for the title to load in a YouTube-connected setting. That means viewers can instantly play titles featured in videos and stream their own gameplay to YouTube—which could challenge industry leader, Amazon-owned Twitch. The Netflix-like service is set to launch this year. (The Verge)

Instagrammable dim sum is going global. The craze stared in Hong Kong, where Social Places serves up bao made to look like tiny pigs and charcoal custard bao filled with “a thick liquid that oozes out like lava,” introducing three or four new incarnations each month to keep customers coming back. Meanwhile at Disneyland Hong Kong, Crystal Lotus customers dine on buns that look like their favorite animated characters, including Frozen's Olaf. In the U.S., San Francisco’s Chili House and New York’s RedFarm are some of the first to take on the trend. (Bloomberg)

Netflix’s next choose-your-own-adventure series lets viewers chart Bear Grylls’ journey through the wilderness. Soon, Netflix viewers will have the chance to become outdoors experts from the comfort of their couches, as they make the survival show celebrity’s choices as he traverses tricky situations. Grylls himself says that he’s “giving viewers an all-access pass to explore the world and its landscapes in my boots” and that “For the first time, my survival is in your hands.” (THR)

Quote of the Day: “One of the biggest myths about Millennials is that they do not want to engage with human beings, especially if a chatbot, app, or a website can be deployed.”—Xiomara Lorenzo, Director, Society of Grownups (YPulse)

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