Wed, Oct 26, 2016 | updated 09:30 AM IST

Shaping the future of toys at Kids India in Mumbai

Updated: Sep 09, 2016 17:42 IST

Mumbai [India], Sept.9 (ANI): The industry for toys and children's products is geared up for the fourth edition of Kids India - India's largest B2B fair where all the key players from the industry will participate along with many young and innovative companies.

Within a span of four years, the event has established itself as the annual meeting place and the most important networking platform for the industry.

Wishing all participants the very best of fortune, Mr. Ernst Kick, CEO, Spielwarenmesse eG, Germany, says "This year for the first time the fair will be spread over two halls at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre covering an area of 8,500 sqm accommodating 150 Indian and international exhibitors representing about 350 brands. This year has also seen Spielwarenmesse eG establish a subsidiary, Spielwarenmesse India Pvt. Ltd., which is organising the event for the first time. There is so much to discover in this industry and at Kids India as we all come together in the Spirit of Play!"

While the growing middle class in urban India is getting more brand and quality minded, the market in general is still quite price sensitive and there is a need to raise awareness about the benefits of play and toys.

"Toys play a vital role to help foster the mental, physical, emotional and social development of children. Our initiative 'Value of Play' - an awareness campaign to promote the importance and benefits of play, is one of the steps to encourage play and the use of toys in an emerging market like India", explains Katharina Janotta, Managing Director, " India Pvt. Ltd.

While the children of today are playing more with their screens than toys, the increased usage of smart phones is not going to replace traditional toys completely.

"Traditional toys such as board games, building bricks, dolls and so on will always have a value", feels Katharina Janotta. "And nowadays they can even be played in combination", she added.

This is also reflected in the broad spectrum of products on display at Kids India that range from Soft Toys, Games and Puzzles to Sports and Playground Equipment on the one hand and from Technical & Action Toys to Electronic Toys and Games and Multimedia on the other.

Since its inception the fair is being supported by the The All India Toy Manufacturers Association (TAITMA) - the oldest and main representatives of the toy industry in India.

Mr. Vivek Jhangiani, President, TAITMA said, "The Indian toy market is continuously growing and we can witness more and more spending on toys. We believe this is a sustainable trend which will persist even during times of economic difficulty. Indian consumers are beginning to understand the importance of play, and Kids India is one of the platforms to promote this awareness and educate consumers about the various benefits of toys and play as well as to provide an impetus to the industry".

Many of the participating companies including the key players from the industry have been a part of the fair right from the first edition.

"From its start, Kids India has proven to be the leading trade fair for the toy industry in India and we are glad to be a part of it. This year too, we are delighted with the wonderful platform we have to showcase our core franchises, new innovations, and comprehensive portfolio of toys. India continues to be a key market for Mattel. The opportunity to reach our Indian consumer in new and meaningful ways is tremendous. We want to ensure we continue to delight our consumers in new and innovative ways. So our toys and consumer products teams are constantly exploring new ideas for toys, new opportunities to collaborate with partners, and new areas to invest," saide Ishmeet Singh, Country Head, Mattel Toys India Pvt. Ltd.

Seventy five percent of the world's toys are still made in China where the bulk of toy exports are produced to OEM orders for foreign brands. However, in light of factors like declining external demands, escalating local production costs and changes in the Renminbi exchange rate, the challenges for the Chinese toy exporters are intensifying. This could translate into opportunities for the Indian manufacturers. Kids India provides an ideal platform for joint ventures, technology transfer and for partnering with international companies.

"Kids India is the perfect forum for the Indian toy and sports industry to showcase its expanse to the world and serves as an excellent platform for presenting Indian made toys and children's products to the world. The fair serves to encourage more international buyers to come to India especially from the neighbouring countries and is thus helping to boost exports," said Tarun Dewan, Executive Director, Sports Goods Export Promotion Council (SGEPC). (ANI)