As one of the global leaders in the world of play, China’s toy market is expected to become a USD 61.3 billion industry by 2026, according to the market research firm, Research and Markets1. With the onset of the pandemic and a rising need for entertainment at home, the toy industry in China has experienced high demand from its domestic market, with retail sales of toys reaching USD 11.9 billion in 2020.
“Following the success of the previous two editions last August and this March, we aim to once again offer an effective platform for business encounters and information exchanges amongst toy, baby product and licensing industry players,” Ms Wendy Wen, Senior General Manager of Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd commented. “While the Chinese market has shown promising signs of recovery, the 2021 fairs revealed changes in market demands for the children-related sectors. Exhibitors will have the chance to capitalise on the new retail opportunities when the events return next March.”
Blind boxes and China chic: what Chinese millennials are eyeing up now
Against the backdrop of an increasingly consumer-driven economy, ‘blind boxes’ and ‘China chic’ are some of the latest retail buzzwords gripping millennials, the key consumer target group in China. These millennial-driven demands inspired exhibitors to showcase their innovative products at the 2021 fairs.
“The concept of blind box has become a sensation in the Chinese market,” Mr Shane Ouyang, Sales Manager of Eastern Progress Company Ltd from Hong Kong shared. “So this year we featured Baby Shark plush toys in mystery packaging and capsules. These have received a lot of enquiries from visitors, particularly from claw crane arcades.”
Meanwhile, across many consumer goods categories in China – the fashion industry to begin with and now extending to children-related sectors – more brands are incorporating cultural and nostalgic elements to entice shoppers with emotional connections.
Mr Yuming Zhang, Marketing Manager of the Guangdong Sembo Culture Industry Co. Ltd noted the popularity of their collections that highlight traditional heritage and the country’s significant breakthroughs: “We are showcasing our most recent licensed construction blocks of the Forbidden City, the Chinese space rockets and more. Toy & Edu China is perfect for new product launches since all our potential and existing clients are gathered here.”
The other prevailing trend in the Chinese market as witnessed at the fairs is educational toys and products, and there is no indication that this is going away any time soon. As NPD Group’s data analysis2 suggests, the largest categories of toy e-commerce sales in China for the first month of 2021 were infant, toddler and preschool toys, many of which consist of educational elements.
Commenting on the future development of educational toys, Mr Ivan Ting, Chairman of the Hong Kong Toys Council said: “Education is very important in China and across the world so I think toys that help children learn such as science-based toys and building sets will become more popular in the future.”
Visitors were also pleased to see a wide range of educational toys featured at Toy & Edu China. Mr Xin Wang, General Manager of Star Home Shopping highlighted: “I am here to source educational toys and I’m particularly impressed with the offerings from Hape and Qisehua. Amid the pandemic, the demand for educational toys has increased rapidly as children have to attend online classes, and brands are focussing on toys that aid their learning process.”
Further in-depth analysis of the trends and insights about the Chinese market can be accessed here: https://licensing-china.hk.messefrankfurt.com/shenzhen/en/press/case-studies/2021/SZTF21-CS1.html.
The e-commerce growth momentum and how the fairs help
The analysis from the NPD Group also shows the boom in toy e-commerce sales, which was already growing before the pandemic but is increasing even more now. In January 2021, sales were up 33% compared to the same month last year. The growth of online shopping opens up opportunities for international brands to establish their presence in the local market of China. In particular, exhibitors will benefit from the location of the fairs in Shenzhen as many large scale and well-known e-commerce platforms have already set up their offices in the city and neighbouring areas and have visited the fair in the past, including Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, JD.com and more.
The 2021 editions of Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China and Licensing China welcomed 1,413 exhibitors from 13 countries and regions whilst 82,481 visitors attended, proving the fairs as a trusted platform to tap into the thriving domestic demand in the Chinese market.
Toy & Edu China, Baby & Stroller China and Licensing China are organised by Guangdong Toy Association, Guangzhou Li Tong Messe Frankfurt Co Ltd and Messe Frankfurt (HK) Ltd.
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Background information on Messe Frankfurt
The Messe Frankfurt Group is the world’s largest trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. The Group employs approximately 2,450 people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 29 subsidiaries around the world. The company generated annual sales of approximately €257 million in 2020 after having recorded sales of €736 million the previous year. Even in difficult times caused by the coronavirus pandemic, we are globally networked with our industry sectors. We have close ties with our industry sectors and serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. One of the Group’s key USPs is its closely knit global sales network, which extends throughout the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are expanding our digital expertise with new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services. Headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).
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1 China Toys Market by Segments, Sales Channel, Company Analysis, Forecast, Research and Markets, https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5308264/china-toys-market-by-segments-sales-channel
2Toys E-commerce Starts Strong in 2021, NPD Group, https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/infographics/2021/toys-e-commerce-starts-strong-in-2021/
- SZTF22-PR1-en (pdf, 275 KB)