The Results From Toy Fair 2018 Are Here!

Top Toy Trends & Toy of the Year

Toy Fair 2018 is in the books and our Product Solutions Team returned with observations and tidbits that will likely affect your redemption product assortment this year.

Our Product Solutions team stays on top of trends, so you don’t have to. However, it’s still important to remain educated on what toy trends and themes are popular.

By staying educated on trends, you ensure a positive selection process for your guests in the redemption room — and you can let us know if we’re missing product from a trend or theme you’ve noticed. We want to make sure we are providing you with the best product choices for your redemption program.

Keep in mind, there is a difference between a trend and a fad. Trends allow you to capitalize on popular consumer choices for a longer period of time than a fad. Themes also come from trends, giving you the opportunity to incorporate similar, trendy product at different price points.

Our Product Solutions team walked the 443,400 net square feet of exhibit space at the 115th North American Toy Fair. Here are some quick snippets of what they learned before we get into the official 2018 Toy Trend & Toy of the Year coverage:

  • Grow everything! We saw growing crystals, growing cactus, grow your own teeth, grow your own boyfriend/girlfriend and growing slimy objects from dinosaurs to unicorns.
  • STEAM is still big for 2018. There were lots of tech, science, and craft kits around this theme.
  • For boys, drones remain a huge hit
  • And for girls, there is an emphasis on fun, personal care items like bath bombs and face masks. Sequins continue to be popular as well.
  • We saw red, white and blue items everywhere! So, let your American pride fly this year.
  • Popular animals for 2018: sloths, unicorns, platypuses, alpacas, hedgehogs, and flamingos.
  • Licensed trends include Hello Neighbor, Black Panther, Ready Player One, and Rick and Morty.
  • Sports on the rise: pickleball, dodgeball, hockey, and lacrosse.

2018 Toy Trends from the Toy Association

Each year at Toy Fair, the Toy Association reveals the top toy trends believed to be big for that year. For 2018, “unboxing,” nostalgia, and “play with purpose” all top the list of trends.

According to a press release from Toy Association, “ The toy industry continues to do an incredible job of keeping pace with innovation and trends seen beyond the toy aisle in order to bring kids and families exactly what they are looking for: play that is engaging, enriching, addictive, and fun,” says Adrienne Appell, leading trend specialist at The Toy Association.

This year’s toy trends are:

  • The “Big Reveal”
  • Millennial Nostalgia
  • Games Galore
  • Pet Play
  • Inspiring Imagination
  • Toys that Teach
  • Tech & Entertainment

For an explanation of each trend, view the full press release here.

So what does this mean for your redemption area? Incorporating long-standing trends, like the ones mentioned above shows your guests you care about their experience. Giving them options they would want to buy in a toy store will leave them happier with their investment.

The success of your redemption product assortment is going to continue to rely on incorporating strategic categories. By including our Storyboards, you are mixing in the 2018 toy trends. The work is done for you! 😉

The Toy(s) of the Year is Unveiled! 🎉

Each year the Toy Association releases its Toy of the Year awards. Award categories include overall toy of the year, people’s choice, collectible of the year, action figure of the year, and the list goes on. These awards are a good indication of the specific toys and themes that will dominate 2018.

*Drum roll…..* This year’s Toy of the Year is Fingerlings by WowWee USA, Inc. Fingerlings also won Collectible of the Year category. These popular, bite-sized toys took off just before the holiday season last year. In fact, stores had a hard time keeping them in stock!

According to an article by CNBC, “…When you [found] a Fingerling, third party-sellers on eBay and Amazon charged three to four times the item’s original price, The New York Times reports.”

You’ve probably heard of Fingerlings before now, but if not, you might consider including this theme in your redemption program. Check out these similar products. 👇

Other Toy of the Year winners you should be aware of:

  • Outdoor Toy of the Year — Bunch O Balloons
  • Specialty Toy of the Year — LEGO® Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon™
  • License of the Year — Star Wars
  • Action Figure of the Year — Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Dancing Groot Figure
  • People’s Choice Award — Funko’s Mystery Minis

As you can see, the trend of collectibles and blind bags will continue through 2018!

We hope you enjoyed this year’s coverage of Toy Fair! If you need help incorporating trends and/or themes in your redemption area in 2018, we’re happy to help! Spring Break time is here and we want to make sure you have the best product to offer your guests during the busiest season of the year.

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Make your guide to your success this year. Check out these upcoming topics:

  • The hottest product for Spring Break 2018
  • Science of Merchandising Series Part II
  • Inventory Management
  • & much, much more — stay tuned…

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Our proprietary Storyboards are a series of pre-designed merchandising layouts, backed by analytics. They’re created with a specific theme or category in mind to engage your guests and make finding the perfect prize a piece of cake.


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Insights Empower is a collection of thoughts & insights to inspire, educate and connect the Family Entertainment & Bowling Center industry. From the team at Redemption Plus, est. 2017 🎉

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