FAQs About Toy Fair's Upcoming Dates and Location
October 5, 2023 | The Toy Association has announced the upcoming dates and locations for Toy Fair, the largest toy, game, and youth entertainment product marketplace in the Western Hemisphere. (Read the full press release announcement here.)
The following addresses common questions about why decisions were made to shift the show's timing to the first quarter, why the location will change to New Orleans, and why there won't be a Toy Fair in 2024.
See below for the answers:
1. Why is Toy Fair moving back to Q1 when it was just moved to fall?
Before the pandemic, we heard repeatedly that changing manufacturing lead times and retailer buying patterns demanded a shift of the show's timing from February to an earlier fall timeline. We also conducted extensive research into what would be best for the toy community. Based on all these considerations, The Toy Association Board of Directors was responsive and moved the show to fall for 2023.
Our Board, which is made up of representatives from toy companies and retailers of varying sizes, continues to listen to all stakeholders when making decisions about the future of Toy Fair. The show's key audiences have returned to traditional views that Toy Fair is most valuable as a North American trade event when it takes place in the first quarter of the year. In fact, we have heard that an earlier timeframe than in the past is most ideal — so we plan to host the show in mid-January for 2026-2028. In 2025, we will host Toy Fair in early March at the Javits Center in New York City. We remain open to returning to New York for 2029 should space come available.
2. Why is Toy Fair moving to New Orleans?
We needed to find a high-quality convention center that could host a show of Toy Fair's size and magnitude in the mid-January timeframe that our audiences requested. New Orleans is also much more affordable for our exhibitors and attendees. The city has state of the art facilities including a brand-new airport, public transportation, renowned restaurants, a wonderful cultural scene, and a strong collaborative partnership between the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans & Company, and the business community. All of these factors make it a perfect and welcoming fit for Toy Fair.
We have a three-year commitment in New Orleans. Our Board of Directors and staff will continue to listen to our community to ensure Toy Fair remains a strong, vibrant, trade event that meets the needs of all attendees.
3. What other cities and timing did the Association consider when making the shift?
With mid-January timing set as the clear preference, the challenge was to find a major city with quality capacity, availability, and affordability for exhibitors. Orlando, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and several others were actively investigated.
Las Vegas is blocked due to the Consumer Electronics Show. Orlando was welcoming, but would overlap with Hong Kong, requiring Toy Fair to be built over the New Year holiday, and that timing also received negative feedback from mass market retail. Atlanta was unavailable. There were conflicts directly with Spielwarenmesse. And Chicago and northern cities in January are a weather risk.
A lengthy process of meetings, negotiations, and efforts on the part of several cities attempting to move other shows to accommodate Toy Fair generated the resulting decision. New Orleans offered ideal timing between any Hong Kong travel and before London and Nuremberg, in the heart of the Q1 season, and sufficient space for a show of Toy Fair’s size.
4. Is the Toy Association considering Los Angeles?
Yes, however we did not pursue LA for January because of the fall and spring activity already there. There is no question that the lengthy fall/spring preview seasons are growing and working well for those companies that can win appointments. Many are calling for The Toy Association to take some form of role and we are actively seeking to determine how that can work to the benefit of our member companies. While the Los Angeles Convention Center is a significant distance and time commitment from the concentration in El Segundo, the idea of a complementary show in addition to the annual Toy Fair, and many other options, are currently on the table.
5. Why isn't there a show in 2024?
By responding to move Toy Fair in late September and now having to move again, holding another Toy Fair just a few months later in early 2024 is not seen as viable. There is also no longer availability at the Javits Center for a February 2024 Toy Fair. Another city would have been the only option and nearly impossible in drastically short timing. The Javits Center did make a great effort to open up dates for the March 1 to 4, 2025 Toy Fair now set to occur, and is the only Q1 possibility in New York City.
6. What are the future Toy Fair dates? If mid-January was the preference, why March of 2025?
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, New York City, March 1-4, 2025.
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, January 17-20, 2026; January 9-12, 2027; and January 15-18, 2028.
The factors of available dates in desirable cities and sufficient space make it difficult to quickly move a trade show the size of Toy Fair. The March 2025 dates were the best available.