In a survey conducted by TÜV Rheinland, the internationally renowned testing, inspection and certification organisation, at the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, more than 75% of the brand representatives interviewed were optimistic about the future growth of the market for toys and other children’s products. This finding tallied with market forecasts published by Euromonitor. The global toy market is expected to grow by 3% in 2017.
The recent Nuremberg Toy Fair (Spielwarenmesse) ranks alongside the Hong Kong Toys and Games Fair in January and the American International Toy Fair in mid-February as one of the largest toy fairs in the world. TÜV Rheinland interviewed brand-name exhibitors at Spielwarenmesse to gather their opinions on the toy market in 2017. The brand representatives interviewed focused on developing the market in Germany, Western Europe and America. They also planned to enter the UK, Canada, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India.
Educational toys are becoming a new consumer favourite. Science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) educational toys have proliferated in recent years, especially in developed countries. The award-winning products at this year’s Nuremberg Toy Fair reflected this trend. The prize-winning product in the age 6 to 10 category was a set of smart building blocks that allows primary-school students to build various models and control their movements by writing programs on tablets. Sales of STEAM educational toys have increased rapidly over the last few years, and this trend is expected to continue.
Over half of the interviewed brand representatives named high purchasing costs as their primary concern. As the majority of the world’s toys are purchased from China, rising production costs in China and variation in international exchange rates have substantially increased purchasing costs. Suppliers’ poor-quality control capability has also caused problems.
To ensure that toy products meet quality standards, toy brands cooperate with reputable international product testing and inspection organisations to test and certify the toys they sell. When choosing testing and certification organisations with which to collaborate, 60% of the brands considered the cost of testing and certification to be their top priority, followed by the brand and credibility of the testing organisation, lead time, the presence of a buyer-approval program and the international network of the testing organisation. They ranked TÜV Rheinland, which has nearly 150 years of experience, among their top three partners. The respondents also rated TÜV Rheinland’s brand value and professional service as the best in the industry.
A product-certification mark means that a product has passed type testing and factory production inspection to ensure that the product sold on the market is of the same quality as the samples submitted for testing. Nearly 40% of the survey respondents used product-certification marks to facilitate their entry into the international market by highlighting their brand advantage, increasing their sales and boosting their competitiveness. Another 30% indicated that they were assessing the benefits of product-certification marks at the time of the survey. The keywords featured in the TÜV Rheinland product-certification mark can be designed in line with customers’ product attributes and requirements to highlight their product strengths. The QR code in the mark links to TÜV Rheinland’s Certipedia certificate database to provide a value-added traceability service for certified products. The use of TÜV Rheinland’s product-certification mark helps to ensure that a business’s products stand out from those of competitors.