Review of Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair 2020, China

The 46th Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair organised by the HKTDC, together with Hong Kong Baby Products Fair and the 20th Hong Kong International Stationery Fair, last from January 6 to 9. The fairs feature about 2,950 global exhibitors and showcase a broad selection of smart toys, quality baby products and creative stationery.

As Asia’s largest, and the world’s second-largest, trade fair of its kind, this year’s Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair has attracted over 2,100 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions. The latest toys and games from around the world was showcased across six group pavilions, including Mainland China, Chinese Taiwan, Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom, as well as the World of Toys pavilion that feature mainly European exhibitors. Another highlight, the Brand Name Gallery, showcase over 240 renowned international brands, including 4M, B.Duck, Eastcolight, Hape, Intex, Kintoy, Rastar and Welly.

The world of toys can provide endless opportunities for children to learn and raise their potentiality, provided they have the right toys. The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair carries an abundance of increasingly popular STREAM toys, which develop a range of skills in science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and mathematics. Be sure to check out the latest in trendsetting smart-tech toys and games including AR, VR, MR and mobile apps that take the game of early childhood development to a whole new level.

The Smart-Tech Toys zone feature a variety of toys and games that incorporate innovative technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and voice recognition functionality. Sought out by many global buyers, the Kidult World zone showcase toys for grown-ups such as war games, hobby goods, magic items and collectibles. A product display highlighting STREAM (science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and mathematics) toys was set up to help industry players learn more about the latest trends. Other thematic zones include Electronic & Remote Control Toys, Educational Toys & Games and Fireworks.

This year, the toys industry are foucus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) concepts. The survey suggests, parents are very concerned about their children’s education, if the toys can help with science grades, parents are willing to pay more.

In terms of manufacturing, rising labour costs pushing toy manufacturers consider move their production out to emerging markets. Challenges include lower-skilled workers, which dampens productivity, along with tighter labour supply and rising costs.

Toy enterprises seeking business in Europe need to be aware of changes coming in the year ahead. Concerns are also growing over privacy issues amid the increasing popularity of toys with internet connections. With the concept of environmental protection gaining popularity, European Union’s Toy Safety Directive and other laws that may lead to bans on the use of non-sustainable materials in toys.

In e-commerce, the old search and buy model, still a norm for e-commerce in the west, but the major platforms in mainland, such as Tmall and JD, have become embedded in the social media ecosystem. More and more retail brands realise the importance of an omni-channel strategy in the mainland but many do not know how to handle the online part.

The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair not only represents the first major toy fair on the industry calendar, it is also the largest in Asia and the second-largest in the world. Collecting over 2,100 exhibitors from 40 countries and regions, the 46th edition of this event delivers yet another spectacular showcase of the latest fun and games from around the globe.

Thematic zones facilitate buyers’ sourcing, smart products in focus at Asia’s largest toys fair. The highlight Brand Name Gallery features more than 240 renowned brands, including 4M, B. Duck, Eastcolight, Hape, Intex, Kinsmart, Masterkidz, Rastar, Tiny and Welly. Viking Toys, an exhibitor from Sweden, showcases a toy car made from sugar cane, aligning with growing market demand for environmentally friendly concepts.

Buyers sourcing smart products can visit the Smart-Tech Toys zone featuring toys and games that incorporate innovative technologies, including the first remote-control building-block Hong Kong Tram from Playable Creation Limited. As educational toys continue to gain in popularity, the fair includes a STREAM Toys Product Display highlighting toys related to science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts and mathematics. The Kidult World highlighted zone showcases toys for grown-ups such as magic items, hobby goods and war-game items, as well as models and figurines.

At the Toys & Games Fair, new exhibitor Hanwang Technology from Mainland China showcased its Bionic Flapping Wing RC Flying Bird − GoGoBird Series, integrating intelligent sensing technology and artificial intelligence, in the Smart-Tech Toys zone.

Bigboystoys Company from Hong Kong, specialises in the design and production of licensed collectibles for characters such as Street Fighter, the King of Fighters and Ninja Turtles, also received positive responses from buyers.

Hot pick products
The Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair is always such a great start of the year in the toy business. The show provides the first glimpse into what’s trending, what’s new and what’s coming later. Among the thousands of products on show, there are key trends that underpin the innovations that are set to hit shelves in 2020.

STREAM; the trend that has gone from strength to strength in recent years. Growing from STEM to STEAM to now STREAM to incorporate robotics and arts, the range of toys in this category is constantly expanding. What is particularly appealing about this category is its ability to take large scale concepts and bring them down to an approachable level.

Take the Eastcolight Biochemistry Collection for example. The range features an Aquaponic Set, a DNA Extraction set and a Growth Experiment set among others. The Aquaponic Set teaches children about the ecosystem and how nothing goes to waste in nature – a particularly poignant concept given the waste issues humanity is facing.

Meanwhile the Growth Experiment teaches children to compare different growth conditions, looking at which light and chemical combinations prove to be the best growing conditions for a plant. This experiment introduces thinking about future agricultural practice and farming when land is scarce.

Fandom and Collecting
Another trend that has proved its longevity is the pop-culture/fandom trend. This trend is demonstrated by the ThreeZero Transformers figures which feature up to 300 parts, 80% of which are hand painted to show weathering and finer details.

Soap Studio’s Harry Potter Fantastic Beasts figures also appeal to the collector, featuring 37 joints for articulation as well as an included backdrop for photography.

The evolution in AR isn’t slowing down, with many companies taking advantage of the capabilities AR offers to engage children in learning and education. PlayShifu’s interactive AR Globe features 200-300 different opportunities to learn about the world, its animals and monuments through AR.

A highlight event of the Toys & Games Fair, the Hong Kong Toys Industry Conference 2020 held on 7 January will feature several heavyweight speakers. Under the theme “Get Powered Up – Opportunities in the Toys Industry”, industry leaders and experts will share global marketing strategies for the industry, along with opportunities for manufacturing transfer, insights into toy product and industry trends in Europe, and e-commerce strategies. Other thematic seminars will cover smart-tech toy trends, baby product trends in 2020-21, toy safety and regulation updates, as well as toys compliance, testing and certification. The International Stationery Fair will feature Japan’s “Stationery King” Masayuki Takabatake and Gift Idea’s Founder Eric Fu to explore the latest design trends and business models in the stationery market.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 to promote, assist and develop Hong Kong’s trade. With 50 offices globally, including 13 in Mainland China, the HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way global investment and business hub. The HKTDC organises international exhibitions, conferences and business missions to create business opportunities for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in the mainland and international markets. The HKTDC also provides up-to-date market insights and product information via trade publications, research reports and digital channels.