The Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg attracts around 65,000 buyers and retailers and 2,800 manufacturers every year. To gauge how they are dealing with the global Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences, Spielwarenmesse eG, who organises the leading industry event, has conducted a representative survey among both visitors and exhibitors. 1,810 trade visitors from 42 countries and 548 companies from 48 countries took part in the survey which was carried out in spring.
On the visitor side, the questionnaire was completed by the management of various trading formats, the majority of whom operate both a bricks-and-mortar shop and an online store. Many of them have succeeded in creating new sales channels, ensuring continued access for their customers despite the Covid-19 pandemic. These include existing online stores (43.9 per cent), newly created online stores (9.1 per cent), delivery services (22.8 per cent), collection from the store (14.4 per cent), initiatives by local shops (7.1 per cent) and new forms of customer communication (18.3 per cent), such as telephone and email, Messenger services, social media and online advertising.
Despite the ingenuity and creativity of the retail trade, the crisis has had a significantly negative impact on business. The current situation has forced 45.6 per cent of shop owners to implement reduced working hours, whilst 18.6 per cent have had to make staff redundant.
The toy manufacturers participating in the survey are likewise feeling the effects of the crisis, with 52.6 per cent enforcing reduced working hours, 43.4 per cent asking employees to work from home and 22.7 per cent having to let staff go. At the same time, the companies are supporting their retail partners by extending payment deadlines and granting discounts, or by helping them to set up an online store or by sending products directly to their customers.
The measures introduced to soften the impact of the crisis are also giving rise to positive aspects. Manufacturers and retailers have created new methods of customer communication, launched digital offerings earlier than originally planned or discovered them for the first time. They have seized the opportunity to modify their business models, trialled new working models, improved in-house crisis management, or strengthened team spirit. Respondents are consequently relatively optimistic about the year ahead: 25.8 per cent of retailers and 32 per cent of manufacturers expect to make up for the dramatic fall in sales through new sales channels, whereas 49.7 per cent and 45.5 per cent respectively believe their businesses will recover.
Speaking of the survey results, Ernst Kick, CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG, said: “The findings of the survey reflect the current mood in the toy industry. While the crisis is posing a huge challenge for trade and industry, it is also accelerating the implementation of new, forward-looking measures.”