DUBAI — The UAE is riding high in the Middle East children’s toy sector, with the retail value of toys and games in the Gulf country estimated to comprise 28 per cent of the regional market by 2020, new research has revealed.
According to analysts Euromonitor International (EMI), consumers spent $869 million on toys, games, and video games in the UAE in 2015, comprising nearly a third of the Middle East’s $2.9 billion retail value for the year.
Spending in the UAE is estimated to be worth $1.1 billion by 2020, increasing by 6.2 percent annually, while the Middle East market overall will be worth just under $4 billion in the same year.
Growth rates remain healthy due to rising populations, increasing disposable incomes, and a boost in tourism according to EMI, while at $101 per capita, the UAE is one of the largest spenders per population of toys, games, and video games in the world.
This will come as good news to international manufacturers and suppliers which have their sights set on boosting exports to key emerging economies at the upcoming Playworld and Paperworld Middle East 2017 trade show in Dubai.
The 7th edition of the three-day event on March 14-16, 2017 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, connecting exhibitors with more than 6,500 trade buyers from throughout the wider Middle East and African region.
New Capable from Hong Kong is among the manufacturers to have signed on at Paperworld Middle East 2017, and will use the annual platform to showcase a variety of toys, sport games, educational games, and children’s party items.
Robin Joe, Sales Manager at New Capable, said the company plans to launch several new products to the Middle East market, including magnetic blocks and remote controlled drones.
“We’d like to establish more business relationships with regional buyers at Paperworld Middle East, and to do so, we’re launching several new items in a market that is increasingly demanding the latest in high tech products that are functional but still competitively priced,” said Joe.
“Currently we undertake around $1 million of sales revenue in the region, and we’re expecting a 50 to 100 per cent increase on this in 2017 as we expand our reach in key emerging markets.”
Returning exhibitors to Playworld and Paperworld Middle East 2017 include Rockspring from Saudi Arabia, a supplier of children’s party items; and Yuhe Toys from China, a manufacturer of playground equipment and educational toys.
Meanwhile, debut exhibitors include Baby Mix from Poland, which covers the entire spectrum of baby items, from toothbrushes and strollers, to travel cots and pushchair toy bars; and Tigres, a Ukrainian manufacturer and distributor of children’s toys, baby bedding and clothing.
“There’s growing demand globally for multi-functional toys, licenced toys, activity and constructional toys, outdoor and sport toys as well as remote control toys,” said Dubchuk Iryna, the Co-owner of Tigres. “Currently we do not undertake business in the Middle East, but we plan to start it in 2017. That’s why we want to display Tigres toys at Playworld and Paperworld Middle East, and we believe that our toys will bring joy to our future customers in Middle East countries.”
Ahmed Pauwels, the CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, organiser of Playworld and Paperworld Middle East, said: “Emerging markets such as the Middle East are driving the global growth in traditional toys and games, while the UAE and the Gulf Cooperation Council are spearheading the upwards regional growth curve.
“Research indicates that licensed products and remote controlled toys are leading the way in key growth categories in the Middle East, while in the UAE, there’s particularly strong demand from tourists toward construction toys reflecting local landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa.
“Playworld and Paperworld Middle East 2017 will present international toy manufacturers with a crucial platform to meet a wide range of traders, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers from throughout the wider region, enabling them to build on their presence in the market, or even enter entirely new markets,” added Pauwels.
The retail value for children’s toys and games in the Middle East includes traditional toys and games (plush toys, dolls, action figures and related accessories, remote control toys, puzzles, games, and children’s party items), and video game hardware and software.
According to the EMI, a common trend in the UAE is to give pocket money to children so they learn the value of money and make their own decisions. Typically, a child between 9 and 15-years-old may receive from between $15 to $70 on a monthly basis, while children over 15 would receive from $70 to $220.
In response, retailers are creating an atmosphere where children can interact with toys and make an informed decision to purchase them. Retailers stock toys that are sold from a minimum of $3 up to nearly $1,000, giving children the opportunity to use their pocket money for cheaper toys, while adults can decide whether to purchase the more expensive toys for their children.
Paperworld Middle East 2017 is the Middle East and North Africa’s largest trade show for stationery, paper, and office supplies, and will feature more than 300 exhibitors from 36 countries showcasing their latest wares, from office supplies, paper, school, party and gift articles, to toys, games, wrapping paper, printer consumables, and arts and crafts.
The dedicated trade show is expected to attract more than 6,500 visitors from 105 countries and will return with popular features including the Green Office Area, where the spotlight will shine on sustainably produced essential office supplies; and the Wrapstar gift wrapping competition. — SG