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The trends to watch from UK Toy Fair 2019

Beacon Creative’s Carol Feeley highlights her top picks and trends from last week’s show.

Toy Fair opened its doors last week to reveal what initially appeared to be two floors of unicorns, slime and sequins. We delved deeper to find the latest innovations in the toy industry…

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Tech – Moshi Twilight

Moshi Monsters is back again in the form of Moshi Twilight. In partnership with Calm (the meditation app created by Michael Acton Smith) Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories are audio tales designed to settle children at bedtime. Posh Paws showcased its range of super cute plush in partnership with Mind Candy. Each character comes in different sizes with a subscription to the app, a smart way of adding value at retail.

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Tech – Nestlings

Back for the second year Thought Machine Labs introduced its new app Nestlings, the world’s first game featuring conscientious characters whose only goal is to save your money. Working in response to your actions in the real world, the Nestlings will attempt to save money week by week. You can customise actions for each character, for instance collecting £2 each time you walk to work.

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Trend – Food

Another year of steady increase in the popularity of food-based plush and toys. Sambro displayed a new range of Hello Kitty plush featuring pizza, avocados and pineapples. Posh Paws showcased its new range for Swizzles Love Hearts with a giant avocado plush (which got our vote). Bandai launched its new collectable range Bananas, allowing children to peel the banana to reveal mini characters and stickers.

Possibly the most bizarre (and one of our favourites), the Basic Fun! range of Cutetitos – a range of plush characters which are wrapped up in a tortilla (possibly the best copywriting we’ve ever seen, too).

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Trend – Nature

Celebrating its 50th birthday, Insect Lore showcased its new range partnering with Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We saw a rise in toys which encourage children to connect with nature, encouraging them to grow environments for their toys.

Continuing from last year’s show, rescue pets are still growing in popularity led by Little Live Pets. Children can wash, reveal and groom their pets.

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Trend – Sustainability

Parents are more aware than ever of the impact of their consumption on the planet. Eco toy brand Junko is leading the way with its range of kits which turn junk into toys. The aim is for children to express their creativity and inventiveness, combining random junk materials to make a toy. Plastic elements in the kits (for instance wheels using a rubber band mechanism) are made from 100% recycled plastic, and parts can be taken, removed and remodelled to create new toys. There are clever re-usable J-FIX TM clips to make card structures and attach items using less tape and glue.

We were also interested to hear about the new brand Whirli, a subscription service allowing children to have an ever-changing toy box. Children can pick an unlimited amount of toys online, play and then swap for something new. With the average parent spending £350 a year on toys, the Whirli subscription is not only environmentally friendly but a more cost-effective way for children to play with the latest toys.

It’s not only smaller brands which are committing to sustainability. LEGO launched its first bricks made from plant-based bioplastic, and has committed to design its entire range using the material by 2030.
 Great to see brands at Toy Fair tap into the mindset of millennial parents and create something innovative and genuinely eco-friendly.

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Trend – Unicorns

And finally (and in stark contrast), we must mention the obvious. Sequins, Unicorns, Lamacorns, Narwhals… Pugcorns? We’re expecting the popularity of Unicorns and mythical themes to continue well into 2020.

Carol Feeley is creative manager at Beacon Creative – an independent brand design consultancy, working with worldwide brands on a daily basis, which believes that at the heart of every good brand communication is a great idea. She can be contacted on 0191 478 4411 or carolfeeley@beaconcreative.com.

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