It is truly the time of year for trade shows – With CES, NRF, Toy Fair and MAGIC behind us, it will soon be time for the International Home + Housewares Show.
Having recently returned from Toy Fair and MAGIC, I wanted to share a contrast between the two industries.
According to the Toy Industry Association (TIA) , their 114th North American International Toy Fair brought 31,133 attendees to New York City last week to preview hundreds of thousands of toys and games. The largest toy marketplace ever held in the Western Hemisphere, Toy Fair 2017 boasted a record-breaking 444,309 net square feet of exhibit space – the equivalent of nearly eight football fields filled with toys. The show was held February 18 –February 21 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Toy Fair’s upbeat atmosphere matched a burgeoning U.S. toy market, which grew 5 percent in sales last year. The people I spoke with were bullish on the show and on business.
Contrast that with MAGIC, held from February 21 –February 23. According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, Inc., The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority estimated 85,000 attendance.
The mood at MAGIC was not quite as upbeat as the Toy Fair. Both industries are facing similar headwinds and changes including a shrinking retail landscape, a significant move to online sales and the economic, political and tax uncertainties ahead.
I think the difference is that Apparel is dependent on the retailers that are the most exposed to unprofitability and closure. Additionally, they bear the brunt of the retailers’ demand to help with Margin Assistance. That pressure has only increased as the retail environment has gotten tougher. That combined with the inherent risk associated with fashion and the whims of changing consumer tastes left me with the impression that the fashion industry was a bit more cautious than their toy counterparts.
In both cases, we remain certain that the Discipline of the Planner pays off. Whether tracking “chase or cancel” retailer strategies, minimizing margin associated risks or better understanding door level and sku level sell throughs, there is no better way to protect your business than to know it inside out.