Toy Fair UK 2023

toy fair uk sammi swinton olympia

Toy Fair UK 2023


Traditional toys come out on top for the UK’s £3.6bn toy market

The Toy Fair is the UK’s largest dedicated toy, game and hobby trade show that takes place annually at the end of January at Olympia London. This year the event welcomed guests for its 69th year running!

The toy industry showcase welcomes more than 250 companies and brands exhibiting thousands of products to visitors including retailers, buyers, media, influencers and the wider industry.


I was welcomed into the Toy Fair for Influencers day on the 26th January, the Retail PR team provided a relaxing press area where I enjoyed a complimentary breakfast and picked up my press pack to plan out my day at the HUGE Toy fair!

Whilst walking around and looking at all the toys and games about to be released in 2023, I had a few conversations and picked up a wealth of information about the toy industry, some of the key facts I learned were:

Plush toys (soft, cute and cuddly) are IN IN.

Its Disney’s 100th Anniversary this year! OMG.
(Sambro International are releasing an amazing Disney collection later in the year)

The most expensive toy showcased is still in a relatively affordable bracket.
The Plum Play – Plum Water Jet Springsafe Trampoline and Enclosure retails at around £329.99

Baby Annabel/ Zapf Creation is celebrating 25 years!

Traditional toys come out on top for the UK’s £3.6bn toy market

I also had a cheeky sneak peak at some of the ‘Hero Toys’ that will be available throughout 2023. I would have loved to try out all the toys with my nieces and nephew, there were some great new toys showcased such as the Magic Water Tap by Great Gizmo’s Limited – This seems like an excellent choice for curious kids that enjoy green science, the tap comes with a strong message that promotes a lesson in being green and sustainable – ‘Earth’s water supply is not unlimited’. There were also some redesigned much loved classics such as the Dare to Care, Care Bear which is super soft and provides unlimited bear hugs!

2023 is also set to be a a big year for Barbie, the BarbieTM EXTRA Make Your Own Night & Day Pop-Up Party House and Doll was included in the ‘Hero Toys’ Toy Fair collection and I think she was my favourite! She represents a new age of style and fashion and the pop-up house gives kids the freedom to create their own home scenarios and play environments with sustainable materials. My imagination was running wild just looking at her.

toy fair uk 2023 peppa pig sammi swinton
Sneak Peek of Sambro’s Bops N Tops range!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sambro’s media representative Rachel, I gained such interesting insight for what is next for the global toy company and learnt a bit more about the toy brands they license such as Disney, Mattel and Peppa Pig.

Whilst all their prototypes were on show, the companies collection for Disney’s 100th Anniversary is to be kept confidential until the release later on this year. I can tell you that Disney fans across the globe will not be disappointed as they have included some of Disney’s most iconic characters!

Rachel walked and talked me through everything they are planning to release with their licensed brands and own brand ‘Love & Hugs’ which will be releasing some amazing art and craft products that have been carefully researched and selected to provide some brilliant creative elements that your children can enjoy at home.

We’ve seen a rise in influencer marketing and how parents make choices to purchase toys, I asked Rachel how important is the use of social media when it comes to Sambro selling toys globally?

“It’s quite a new area we are covering with social media marketing, that’s why I was brought in, we’ve been focusing on corporate but we plan to focus on our Instagram this year, so we will see how it goes”

About Sambro:

Founded in Manchester in 1996, Sambro International Ltd is an award winning global supplier of licensed and own brand products. Working with some of the world’s leading entertainment companies, Sambro is recognised as an industry-leading supplier of bespoke toys, games, soft toys and arts & craft product. In 2022 Sambro won THREE awards at the Mums Choice Awards including the Silver award for their Disney Lil Bodz range in the Best Plush Toys Category and winning Bronze for the Barbie Sew and Style Machine.

toy fair uk sammi swinton bluey


Traditional toys come out on top for the UK’s £3.6bn toy market

The British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA), organisers of the Toy Fair, and The NPD Group announced their annual industry insights at Toy Fair 2023, held at Olympia London.

Against a challenging economic backdrop in 2022 that saw UK toy sales decline three percent to £3.6bn, it was traditional toy categories – plush (soft toys), building sets, action figures, and vehicles – which drove toy sales, with all four categories seeing positive growth during the year. The best performing category of 2022, plush (soft toys), up a significant 29% YoY, delivered exceptional results for the toy industry due to its popularity with a wide audience, and its collectability appeal.

2022 saw the top toy properties going to the classics Star Wars, Marvel Universe, and Barbie, and the fastest growing went to Squishmallows and Jurassic World. Licensed toys grew for the fourth consecutive year, up by 5.5%, now accounting for 31% of the market – the highest ever share.

The average selling price of a toy now at £10.54, shows that toys remain accessible all-year round purchases. In 2022, consumers increasingly favoured toys that cost between £30 and £50 suggesting that people were making more considered purchases. Toys were and remain available to suit a wide range of budgets.

Sylvanian families toy fair 2023 sammi swinton
Sylvanian Families proved to be a classic favourite at the Toy Fair UK 2023

Casdon Toys UK & Asmodee really drew me in to their stands, full of colour and some predicted 2023 bestsellers including the children’s Dyson range and and Asmodee’s Battle Academy board for the Pokemon trading card game. I felt very nostalgic and have high hopes for 2023 Pokemon card traders, this is an absolute game changer, paired with the release of BRAND NEW Pokemon Violet & Scarlett trading cards and the Elite Trainer Box which features Alolan Vulpix! A Pokemon trainers heaven!

I had a brilliant time at the Toy Fair UK 2023, special thank you’s to Brazen PR, Retail PR & Sambro International!


Stay safe and take care,

Sammi xx

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