toys online  (the 2021 toy fair)

If you have ever been to a major trade fair, you will be familiar with the ‘push and shove’ that can happen while you’re weaving your way around the exhibits checking out the different wares on display.

This year, due to the unpredictability caused by the COVID lockdowns, the Australian Toy Association has shown extraordinary inventiveness and reinvented itself. For the first time, they have taken their Toy Fair online.

The Fair, held in Melbourne at the Exhibition Centre, is usually attended by thousands of buyers, retailers, exhibitors, and distributors from Australia and overseas. During the five-day Fair, they all shuffle about the building, embracing, shaking hands, scratching backs, and making deals.

Of course, because of social distancing rules, the ‘old normal’ is not possible. Displaying an incredible foresight, the ATA has developed an online platform that enables buyers and sellers to make contact safely.

Via an internet link, retail buyers can interact with all distributors and organize one-on-one digital sessions where the products can be on display and demonstrated.

In addition, the attendees can also register for online seminars presented by organizations such as Shopify, Ethical Toy Program, and Licensing International.

This is a fantastic initiative by the ATA to get this Fair together and not allow the restrictions to defeat them

As usual, they still acknowledge the eighteen prize-winning categories such as
Product of the Year – Barbie Colour Reveal
Hobby Product of the Year, Lego (r) Technic Dom’s Dodge Charger
Judges Choice – Bluey’s Pool Time Fun Playset
and a new category, The Kids Choice – Giant Gazillion Bubbles *Kid In A Bubble
A full list of the winners can be found on the ATA website
https://austoy.com.au/toy-fair/2021-awards-winners/product-of-the-year

Of course, there are many other additional toys on show, including my personal favorite  the Lego Art which comes in a variety of designs, including Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe- The Beatles – Mickey Mouse, and Ironman

This is the biggest and most important industry event in Australia, attracting the largest names in the world of toys.

Now that it is done and proving to be a success, it could, in the future, be incorporated with the ‘live’ Fair allowing buyers and sellers from remote parts of Australia and around the world to now take part. This would no doubt be a good thing for the Australian industry.

The Australian Toy Association (ATA) was founded in 1983 as an independent, non-profit organization representing Australia’s toy, hobby, nursery, and licensing businesses. With over 300 members representing 90 percent of the total industry sales.