State of Play: Toy Trends from Nuremberg 2024

License Global is in Germany, to delve into kids’ play and toy trends on display at Spielwarenmesse 2024.

Ian Hart, Ben Roberts

January 31, 2024

4 Min Read
Nuremberg Toy Fair
Nuremberg Toy Fair

License Global has joined exhibitors and visitors from around the globe in Nuremberg, Germany, for the 73rd Spielwarenmesse, which is showcasing the latest trends and innovations in toys from over 2,000 exhibitors hailing from 68 countries.  

There was plenty of news and announcements during the event, including The LEGO Group, in collaboration with Lucasfilm, kicking off the 25th anniversary of its “Star Wars” collaboration by unveiling a special anniversary logo on new LEGO “Star Wars” Building Sets. The sets, including builds inspired by the Millennium Falcon, Invisible Hand starships, Tantive IV ship and a special anniversary edition building set honoring R2-D2, are slated to launch on launch March 1. 

Funko had several new products on show too, across lines, including Pop!, Bitty Pop!, Loungefly and Mondo!, with the kidult culture a central theme throughout, while Ravensburger was also celebrating 50 years of its blue triangle logo. 

Watch: License Global at Spielwarenmesse 2024 ...

Licensed Toys 

License Global highlighted the strength of the licensed toys market during our coverage of London Toy Fair last week and, of course, it was evident in Nuremberg too. Prominent brands across the show floor included Barbie, Hot Wheels, Pokémon, Marvel, Hello Kitty and “Star Wars,” Playmobil and “PAW Patrol,” with categories including plush, baby and infant and trading card games also standing out throughout the halls. 

Related:State of Play: Toy Trends on Display at London Toy Fair 2024

Kidult Culture 

The market for toys for adults has been booming for years. A BrandTrends Group survey recently found that over three-quarters of respondents ages 33 or younger regarded themselves as ‘kidults’ and half of 45-65-year-olds referred to themselves this way. This offers huge potential for the toy market, with 67% of all respondents ages 18-65 expressing an interest in buying two or more toys per year for themselves. Game-playing adults have thus grown from a niche to a significant target group.  

At the heart of the live experience at Spielwarenmesse 2024 was the special, “Life’s a Playground – Toys for Kidsters and Kidults,” which concentrated on adults as a target group and highlighted the serious potential for the future of the retail trade. In the activation, the world of game-playing adults was brought to life through product examples from four categories: collectibles, premium collectibles, creative fantasy and tabletop games.  

Trading Cards and Games 

Games is a category that experienced a huge revival during and post-pandemic and still continues to thrive, as was evident from many stands in Nuremberg. Trading card games, in particular, stood out. According to Zion Market Research, the global trading card game market size was valued at $6.39 billion in 2022 and is slated to hit $11.57 billion by the end of 2030 with a CAGR of nearly 7.69% between 2023 and 2030. Zion expects the largest growth region to be in Europe as the category, particularly popular amongst hobbyists in the U.S., continues to expand globally. 

Sustainable Products in the Spotlight 

The topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important worldwide, with toys being the most plastic-intensive industry in the world. Currently, 90% of all toys are made from petroplastic. The subject was represented at Spielwarenmesse by “Toys Go Green,” which showcased sustainable products from the categories, including product material, packaging material, product manufacturing process and learning and playful knowledge transfer. 

Sharon Keilthy, founder, chief executive officer, Eco Toys, outlined the eight cases for sustainability in toys in her session, “Sustainability is about to go mainstream in toys – are you ready?” In the talk she highlighted how moral reasons, profit reasons and talent retention should all be considerations for companies and she also touched on some of the upcoming regulations that have been put in place by the European Commission.  

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), a new directive, is set to modernize and strengthen the rules concerning the social and environmental information that companies must report. The first companies will have to apply the new rules for the first time in the 2024 financial year, for reports published in 2025. 

Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) will improve EU products’ circularity, energy performance and other environmental sustainability aspects. 

The Spielwarenmesse ToyAwards 2024 

On Day 2 of the Fair, six exhibitors were awarded a coveted ToyAward, with a 13-member international jury of experts selecting the winners from the 524 submissions.  

“The ToyAward represents an important seal of quality for toys among both retailers and consumers,” says Christian Ulrich, spokesperson of the executive board, Spielwarenmesse. 

The ToyAward winners were: 

Baby & Infant: Basic Building Blocks – Multicolored, Haba 

PreSchool: Stix, OPPI 

SchoolKids: Adventure Puzzle – The Light in the Enchanted Forest, Franckh-Kosmos 

Teenager & Adults: Tetris & Pac Man Arcade in a Tin, Fizz Creations 

Startup: Artist, Hoppstar 

Sustainability: Feber Recycle Eco House, Famosa by Giochi Preziosi 

Spielwarenmesse is running at NürnbergMesse, Nuremberg, Germany, through Feb. 3. 

Read, Toy Trends on Display at London Toy Fair 2024. 

Read License Global’s 2023 Global Toy Report on page 49 of December’s issue for further insight. You can also read the 2024 License Global Toy Forecast here. 

About the Author(s)

Ian Hart

Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA, License Global

Ian joined the License Global editorial team in May 2022 as digital editor for the U.K. and EMEA, becoming Senior Digital Editor in April 2023.

Ian is a huge fan of sports and entertainment brands and, as a father, toys and kids' brands are a large part of his life!

He has been at Informa (formerly UBM) since 2018, where he was previously the editor of SHP, a B2B digital publication aimed at health & safety professionals.

Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in B2B trade print media, in the automotive sector, working on various publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

Ben Roberts

Content Director, License Global

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