It’s a New Year and with it come new opportunities – for suppliers, distributors and retailers alike.
After almost two years of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be hopes that 2022 will bring an increased sense of normality to our lives and, along with it, renewed consumer confidence.
PreschoolNews.net has put together some key talking points for the nursery and preschool business in 2022 – from supply chain and shipping challenges, through to key trade shows, anniversaries and trends, all of which will have an impact on our industry.
Supply chains and shipping challenges
Speaking to a selection of suppliers across various categories pre-Christmas, a return to less fractious supply chains, with a rebalancing of shipment costs and more regularised factory lead times was high on the agenda. The challenges are likely to remain a key talking point as we move through 2022.
Post-Brexit customs rules
From 1 January 2022, exports between Great Britain and the EU will be subject to full customs controls. This means that goods must be presented to customs and the export declarations must be entered into HMRC systems to decide if any further checks are required. Traders are no longer able to delay completing full import customs declarations for up to 175 days, a measure which was introduced to cope with the disruption of Brexit. Some sectors will be hit harder than others – the rules are more complicated for animal products, for example.
The on-going pandemic
Although at time of writing, no new restrictions were looking likely to be bought in by the government, the ramifications of the pandemic will be with us for a while yet. From international travel being harder to wobbling consumer confidence and the affect on retail.
Running from 25-27 January, it will be a welcome in-person return for Toy Fair. There will be over 260 exhibiting companies at the show, with around 40 of these being newcomers. The BTHA is also working closely with the venue to ensure all necessary measures are being taken to protect the health and safety of all participants.
Majen Immink, director of fairs and special events, tells PreschoolNews.net: “This includes enhanced cleaning operations, an improved ventilation system, multiple hand sanitisation points, use of a second point of entry/exit (via the National Hall foyer) and mandatory Covid status checks for all participants whether that be by proof of double vaccination or a negative lateral flow test.”
Check out www.toyfair.co.uk for further details and to register.
At the 2021 Progressive Preschool Awards, a number of retailers were honoured for their continued strong work within the category. These included Character.com – which is continuing to innovate with its initiatives with preschool licences – plus B&M, John Lewis, Asda and The Entertainer.
Others which should start to come through more this year include Studio.com, while all eyes are on the continued recovery for Mothercare, plus the return of Toys R Us and Babies R Us to the UK marketplace.
Bricks and mortar brand experiences
Sticking with the retail theme, with online retail having surged ahead due to the pandemic, it’s fair to say that bricks and mortar has some ground to make up. Expect to see more pop-up experiences launching (Event Merchandising is one to watch here), as well as activations in shopping centres from Rainbow Productions and the licensors it works with, as physical retail looks to put some ‘oomph’ back into the high street in 2022.
An issue which is only growing in awareness and importance, sustainability will continue to be high on the agenda as a wider industry trend for 2022. New research from The Insights Family found that ‘purpose first’ is becoming a key factor for parents when buying products for their children, and this could see companies switch their marketing strategies to better convey their sustainability credentials.
Products of Change will also continue to bring the industry together and drive it forward with a number of initiatives, one of which will be the first in-person Sustainability in Licensing Conference which is due to take place at the Royal Geographical Society on 22 June, 2022.
The popular show will remain in its later time slot this year – due to take place from 16-18 October. Priority booking is now open for a limited period, with exhibitors who attended in 2021 having until 1 February 2022 to secure their preferred stand before space goes onto general sale.
“After consultation with exhibitors during the last fair, we determined that the best approach to get the UK trade fair business back on track after the Covid related upheaval of the last few years was to offer an 18-month plan for 2022 and also moving into 2023,” commented Adrian Sneyd, show organiser. “October 2022 will see the next edition of the fair, hopefully then followed by reverting back to a springtime show in 2023 to avoid the busy autumn period as travel and international shows resumes.”
Check out the official fair website for further details.
Milestone licensed brand anniversaries
2022 is a bumper year for key anniversaries from some major brands, with special edition merchandise, events and experiential activity all part of the plans. Just a few to keep an eye out for include Peter Rabbit (120), Teletubbies (25), In the Night Garden (15) and Care Bears (40).
Kind + Jugend 2022
International travel restrictions permitting, the UK nursery industry can look forward to returning to Cologne from 8-10 September, 2022. Last year’s ‘Restart Edition’ attracted around 180 companies from some 20 countries. For the first time, the event was also enhanced by a new digital platform which was available to access for nine weeks from the start of the physical show.
From new integrated airbag technology in car seats, clever collaborations and 360 degree car seats through to NPD in the toy category and new sustainable packaging methods being adopted across the wider industry, the nursery and preschool industries are constantly creating and adapting to meet consumer demands, and this is sure to continue through 2022.
Progressive Preschool Awards 2022
The industry’s big celebration is back this November… stay tuned to PreschoolNews.net over the next few weeks for exciting details and how you can get involved…