Industry Outlook

Trade Show After Trade Show After Trade Show

When I was coming up in the toy industry there was only one trade show worth mentioning: New York Toy Fair—and it was an extravaganza. Anyone who was anyone was walking the halls of the historic Toy Building. Good or bad—those days are long gone. Today there are myriad trade shows to choose from. Each one supposedly serves its own purpose: some are for the mass market, some for the specialty market, some for international markets; yet I see many of the same buyers at all of them. The one common link between these shows is the proverbial water cooler discussion, “Are trade shows even necessary anymore?”

In an age of instant communication do we truly need to gather under the roof of a convention center and wait for buyers to stroll in? The giants of our industry don’t even attend Fall Toy Preview in Dallas. Some argue that this was to the advantage of the smaller guys. Others contend that it’s a sign that trade shows are soon to be a thing of the past. In the old days everything was done in two weeks at the New York show. Today there are so many different shows it’s amazing buyers even put up with it. In October alone, one can attend the Fall Toy Preview in Dallas, then go to Mattel, Jakks, and Spin Master for each company’s private show in Los Angeles and then head off to Hong Kong to see the international crowd. In a few short weeks we’ll all start the triple whammy of Hong Kong, Nuremberg, and New York. Are we using an archaic system? Could there be one solution that caters to all?

Design Edge is a New York-based graphic design and research development studio with an office in Hong Kong. Matt Nuccio can be reached at (516) 377–0500 or at

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