toy trends 2022

Heather Welch from Edx Education in conversation with Christian Ulrich

Episode 44 – Heather Welch from Edx Education today we will be in conversation with Christian Ulrich,  Spokesperson of the Executive Board at Spielwarenmesse, Managing Director of the agency “Die roten Reiter. He is responsible for marketing, corporate communication as well as press relations, oversees the development of new business opportunities.

The Business Administration graduate launched his career as a Consultant for the agency group Serviceplan. This was followed by positions as Advertising Manager and finally as Head of International Marketing at Fischer Group.

He joined Spielwarenmesse eG in 2007 as Director Marketing and brand management, global marketing for all trade fairs and events, and the creation of the special shows.

Christian is a marketing guru of trade shows and events Today we are chatting with Christian on Future of Toys, Highlights for the Nuremberg Toy and trade events 2022. What’s next?

Here are the highlights from this episode:

{2:59} The Nuremberg Toy Show
{6:40} Physical versus digital trade shows
{12:11} Finding the best materials
{16:50} Monopoly, Twister and the resurgence of board games

#toyfair #toys #nurembergtoyfair #edxeducation

 

Edx Education: You’re listening to education experts with edx education. Education is evolving. Join Heather Welch from edx education, chatting with teachers, psychologists, parents, authors, creatives, and other tons of experts to keep up with the trends and what’s happening from around the. This podcast discusses home learning, school readiness, being creatives, changes in education, discussing what’s next hands-on learning.

Or as we like to say, learning through play.

Heather Welch

Welcome, everyone. Today we are in conversation with Christian Ulrich spokesperson executive board at the Spielwarenmesse managing director of the agency. Now, Christian, you’re definitely going to have to help me with the how-to say the agency’s name.

Christian Ulrich

The agency’s name is. Die Roten Reiter

Heather Welch

Christian Ulrich looks after the corporate communication, as well as the press relations oversees the development of new business opportunities for the Spielwarenmesse the business admin graduate launched his career as a consultant to the agency group service plan. Well, it was followed by positions as advertising manager.
And finally, as international marketing at the group, he joined the Spielwarenmesse in 2007 is the director of marketing and brand management and global marketing for all trade fairs and events, and the creation of special trade shows as well. Christian is a marketing group of trade shows and events.
Today. We’re chatting with Christian on the future of toys, highlights for the year, both toy and trade events. And what’s next for the MSCI. Welcome Christian. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Christian Ulrich

Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.

Heather Welch

It’s lovely to speak to you, especially cause it’s been a year since we’ve been over to the toy show and actually Nuremberg is such a beautiful place and especially Christmas.
So can I ask you today to introduce yourself to our listeners and tell them about your passion for marketing?

Christian Ulrich

My name is Christian, my passion for marketing started already when I was studying, it was clear for me whenever I studied economics. I wanted to go into marketing later on.
Especially I was interested in international marketing and, I still think it’s, it’s really exciting. To talk to people or to, make communication, for, for people from different countries because their mentalities are so, so different. Also, in the area where I work now in the toy business, you see that. There there’s a totally different opinion towards toys, why are they bought, um, and then how are they used and how long, what is the life cycle, for example, in different countries. And I think this is really, I’m very excited.

Heather Welch

Am I correct in saying it is one of the largest toy shows in the world. Am I correct in that? Am I correct? It’s good.

Christian Ulrich

You’re absolutely correct. it’s the largest. They are really, all the market leaders from all the different product groups and from. All over the world, the USA is the biggest toy market still in the world. Um, of course, there there’s a strong representation from Europe, and a growing one, um, from, uh, Well.

Heather Welch

That’s fantastic, something like 65,000 buyers and toy traders from 130 nations. I mean, it’s, it’s huge. It’s absolutely huge. It’s one of edx education favourites every year. it’s something that we all look forward to going to each year. So, and you’ve been there for quite a while.
So you’ve been seeing the development of it over the years and how it has Changed which is exciting. But before we go on to the toy fair, I’d love to hear about your previous career before joining the Spielwarenmesse

Christian Ulrich

So I started after I was studying uni an advertising agency, um, worked for companies like BMW then I’ve worked really for, investment banking even for some time, but just for one and a half years, so possibly in my kind of business. I changed, worked for a long time. And the, they are producing, um, among a lot of different articles, also toys like Fisher technique, which is a rather famous, especially in Germany.
And then this was my beginning with this kind of toy business. I was starting here. In the beginning, I was responsible for marketing and the press work.
The new executive board and my two colleagues, we started now this year,

Heather Welch

Congratulations. I can see investment banking and toys go together. Definitely, on the same lines you can see, have you been able to have any trade shows at the Spielwarenmesse in the last 18 months?
Have you been able to get some trade shows up and running since all? it’s just seemed like it’s been a good two years now.

Christian Ulrich

It was a tough time for us. so the last one was in 2020. 2021, we had a kind of digital platform for people at the Spielwarenmesse.
We have, now we have another fair in the stationery business called insights which now, could not take place this year. The last year we also digital platform for this, but we have real physical fairs, also in other countries. So we have some subsidiaries in India, for example, and in Russia and in China and especially the fair in Russia, took place, was one of the first phases actually, that started again after the pandemic. I have to say it was quite successful.

Heather Welch

Were you and your team able to go over there and actually be part of it, with all the travel restrictions, stones.

Christian Ulrich

See the photos and videos and be ending them, because of the travel restrictions.

Heather Welch

A wonderful experience having an actual in like a, when you’re, in-person at a trade show rather than a virtual cause we’ve done quite a few over the last 12 months and I just think he has such a different experience. Would you agree?

Christian Ulrich

Yes, absolutely. It’s so different. There was a time, I would say at the beginning of the pandemic when a lot of people thought, um, so we don’t need fairs anymore that the physical ones we can just switch on to, the digital fairs and then everybody was starting a lot of new businesses.
The new startups were created. It didn’t take a long time until everybody was realizing that it’s not the same. you kind of look into the eyes of your, your, your contact partner. and especially if you want to create new business, new context. This is so hard to do it in a digital way. So you really need this face-to-face situation for this.
And then we found out, very fast. The face of concentration that you have is totally different because when, when you’re watching some kind of online presentation,, you very soon are starting to do other things. You check your emails, you’re making something, you switch off your video. And so. in a face to face situations,

Heather Welch

Especially with toys, you like to touch feel, see, do it’s that there’s a, there’s a, there’s a magic when you touch a toy, rather than seeing someone else touch it over a video or anything like that. hey had a hybrid name for physical and digital. Was it physical or something? They came out and there was a new. Name putting the dictionary for the hybrid, the new normal, they were calling it at one stage that virtual and the physical together, we all want to be on the floor.
I don’t think that a lot of us would prefer not to go digital again, to be honest, but listen, I’m really interested as edx is we do educational toys sector. We’re really interested in what’s the future of toys. And what do you think about the Nuremberg toy fair?

Christian Ulrich

We have one big topic this year, which is called toy scoring.

Actually, it’s not absolutely new because we started this, as a, as a special show, um, in 2011 was a long time ago. and already at this time, we knew that this is not just a trend for maybe one year or two, but this is, Tendency that will last very long and you have to stay. restarted it for this, for the next edition of the fair.
And we did a survey, among consumers in different countries, all over the world to find out, um, the attitudes of consumers towards, green toys, sustainable toys. What is the buyer? What are the buying patterns? Um, um, um, are people looking for sustainable toys, um, or are they willing to pay a higher price, for example, and then this is a topic that you will find everywhere on the fair.
So there will be, some kind of, lectures in our business forum. Um, but there will be a special show as mentioned. and we will present of costs, um, this new study. on the fair and, actually this, this special show is not only about the material. Of course, it’s about, new materials, recyclable materials, materials like cork or bamboo. of course, but also it’s about the educational value of toys that are transporting the topic of sustainability. It means to them explaining children. How is solar and achieve working or Windcraft um, um, or why is it important, um, to not pollute the oceans plastics? And then there are a lot of new toys in this segment, um, and this is what be the present they are at the fair, but also, why our digital platform that will start next.

Heather Welch

Oh, this is really exciting. It is a really hot topic all around the world. Did you, when you did the study, did you find certain countries were higher, looked at they were more interested in sustainability than others? Or did you find that all of them were very interesting? Oh, yes.

Christian Ulrich

Maybe found out quite big differences and actually the differences that we did not expect, because I can say in Germany, you think, um, we are, um, um, on the top, uh, if it’s ball about sustainability, but that’s not really true.
There are a lot of other countries we have. This is quite important than in the meantime, and that it kind of tell too much because in January, but, um, there, there are some countries where we actually did not expect them

Heather Welch

It’s really exciting. As a manufacturer, we’ve tried materials like FPC which is like, , the biggest agricultural waste is right rice house in Taiwan where we manufacture. And we tried with this material for the past couple of years and we’ve been manufacturing it as well, but then we’ve also gone to something it’s like recycled bottles as well.
So we’re trying new materials because we haven’t, we don’t believe we’ve found the bee’s knees of material. The material that’s going to, you know, outlast everything to the highest, highest manufacturing. We’re sort of really whipping, trying a whole lot of different materials over the past few years.
It does take time and you ask all of the manufacturers, it does take a lot of time to, and I’m sure you’ll find that as well, because you know, we’ve gone, you’ve gone to bamboo, you’ve gone to woods. You’ve got. Sustainable. And sometimes it just, there’s a lot. There’s a lot to think about and actually to change moulds and everything as well.
So it’s actually quite a fun journey to go on as a manufacturer. When you do actually look at all these sustainable options and you try and, you know, manufacture with it. we found at one stage, I don’t know if you’ll find this with some of the others. The testing for the countries didn’t necessarily correlate with the toys as well.
So there had to be a catch-up for the testers to come in line with what the recycled materials as well.

Christian Ulrich

The topic is so extremely complex. it’s not about only the products, but it’s also packaging, but is very, very important. Um, so can you use recyclable packaging or can, you can reduce the packaging at all?
Maybe you don’t need any packaging for your product. And then also, um, if you’re talking about sustainability, um, also logistics. So transport, from the production to the consumer is also something that you have to have in mind. Of course,

Heather Welch

I think the shipping costs have blown that out of the water this year.
So I think that paid a huge costume where people buy as well listen, what’s next for your team. So what’s the next thing that you’re focusing on at the moment for the messaging in the team, the executive.

Christian Ulrich

I think we have some, really new, exciting topics for the next fair.
it’s called the game inventors convention. So this is an, an existing, fair, it’s here in the, in the vicinity of. Um, and it’s especially for game inventors, game authors, and the, on the other side, the, um, game producers, bring the pink together, the inventors, but the. And it’s a small set. it’s at the moment it’s just for maybe German Austrian and Swiss, companies and inventors. And we think that there’s a really big potential for this kind of matchmaking, on our fear, because you can bring it to a much more international level.
And we were starting to market this kind of event because it’s just for one day, um, some weeks ago. And, I think after two weeks, we have been, booked out. So, maybe we had to increase the capacity and because so, many inventors from other countries where. Because they said they don’t have a platform in, in their countries, but there is this kind of community you’re seeing, also, in, in Spain and Italy, in France and in other countries, and they were really interested in, in shining and this kind of event.

Heather Welch

So is it, is it digital gaming or is it board games, traditional games or digital gaming or hybrid?

Christian Ulrich

It’s actually it’s board games. It’s the traditional board games.

Heather Welch

Which in the last 12 months have taken a huge rise, you know, with everyone when they were homeschooling locked down, all this, you know, different jigsaws board games actually did come, come back into trends quite high.

Christian Ulrich

That’s absolutely true bought games, puzzles. Um, they’ve been extremely successful during the pandemic. I think a lot of new, new customers, um, um, have been created in this, So, or people that, that may be used to play board games in their childhood, and now they rediscovered it together, their children I think this is a really very, good development.
I think it will last on after the pandemic

Heather Welch

Christian, do you have a favorite board game? Do you have an absolute favourite ball game from your child?

Christian Ulrich

It’s difficult to say names because they are, they are all exhibitors. Yes. I have to admit that, um, I really loved monopoly and I still like it very much. And then. It is special addition for special cities, for example.

Heather Welch

I do like that. And they have actually brought out once called buildup, I think as well. But I have to say that my favourite is for my two active little boys. I played twister and I can get them quite tired in doing half an hour, getting them jumping around.
We changed the rules a little bit, that they have to jump over each other and all sorts of things have to do handstands. You name it to get them tired with. When we’re doing home learning? No, no. I never knew about the agency, the second agency that you’re managing director of. So what does the agency do?

Christian Ulrich

This agency was formed as a kind of creative team within our marketing team. So about, six, seven years ago i was very successful and, so we thought it would be good to create an own agency, out of this team. And then be very, fast.
We could create some, some new business with the HTC and, actually it’s, uh, It’s about toys because we understand this market very well. the fear business. So this is why we have two groups, quite different companies. so some of them work in the fair business. They are organizing fairs like we do as our company.
producing toys or they are retailers, retailers for toys, uh, and some of them, to introduce us that, our exhibitors on the affair. So this is the combination then, um, for both and then. Anyone who wants to have some of the services, from our agency about just contact me directly.

Heather Welch

So how can our listeners contact you and hear about the fair and get, keep up to date because we know that last year things changed really quickly? So how can, everyone keep up to date about what’s happening with the trade fairs this year, and also keep getting in touch with you all yourself while you’re doing.

Christian Ulrich

So if you’re not, on our website, we are watching the situation and then we get all the framing conditions, um, very intensively. Um, and we try to keep everyone updated with all the latest information. So just check, um, THere are my contact details.

Heather Welch

Christian, we look forward to seeing you in, in February. I hope it’s a little bit smoother than it was last year in the run-up to the toy fair this year. And we really look forward to seeing everyone and hopefully being on the ground again. I hope you have a wonderful time, nice Christmas and new year, and we will hopefully see you in.

Christian Ulrich

Thank you very much. And I really hope to see you in February in Nuremberg. Thank you.

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