Soft toys remain a firm favourite amongst today's children, despite the influx of more hi-tech gadgets and games to capture their imagination. Furthermore, an increased emphasis on toy safety and the recent implementation of more stringent guidelines, is helping to shape the regional toy industry. These will be amongst some of the key topics in focus at Playworld Middle East, taking place in Dubai in March.
The market value for the plush toys segment was estimated to reach US$332 mn in 2011 according to research by Euromonitor International. It is not surprising that it remains a very significant segment in the world of toys and games, though their shape, nature and looks may have changed dramatically over the years. Stuffed toys in the shape of the popular cartoon characters of the day, the never-to-be-discounted teddy bear and even strange looking dolls and animals are all par for the course for toy manufacturers today.
Plush toys are expected to attract some attention at the upcoming Playworld Middle East 2013, which brings leading international manufacturers and suppliers of toys, games and children's lifestyle products in touch with the ever-growing, high-income markets of the wider Middle East.
Market trends indicate that well-liked items among plush toys include popular video game characters, signifying a growing crossover with the digital gaming world. Traditional cartoon characters remain high sellers; additionally there is also a growing fascination for unusual dolls and strange shapes.
“While the soft toy segment is a popular product group at Playworld Middle East, growing awareness about the need for safe toys has led to a transformation in the way the market is organised,” said Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of organiser, Epoc Messe Frankfurt. “With the regional authorities cracking down on toys made with hazardous material, manufacturers and suppliers who do business in the region have to ensure compliance with the GCC safety code. Playworld Middle East is glad to be able to play a part in creating awareness about the importance of toy safety in the region,” he added.
Countries of the GCC have laid down stringent safety requirements for all toy and game manufacturers supplying the regional markets. Toys sold in the region have to carry the ‘G' mark signifying compliance with safety standards laid down by the authorities. The regulations specify the permitted materials, dyes, chemicals and other variables involved in the manufacture of toys and games meant for the GCC market.
Playworld Middle East, will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 5th to 7th, 2013. It is co-located with Paperworld Middle East, the region's exhibition for office and stationery products and GESS, the trade fair for educational supplies and solutions. The exhibitions are expected to attract trade visitors not only from the Middle East region, but also from the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, North and East Africa.
Playworld Middle East's product profile includes Toys and Games; Baby, Infant and Pre-school products; Bicycles and Sports Equipment; Models and Electronics; and Dolls and Children's Lifestyle products.