One of Monday afternoon’s ICRS highlights was the successful Children’s Product Trends event presented by early childhood education expert Dr. Mary Manz Simon. During the hour-and-a-half, standing-room-only presentation, 226 people were in attendance with 171 retailers present.
Simon reflected on some of the recent trends and statistics as she shared cutting-edge market research with retailers. A team of supplier representatives, along with guests, including Max Lucado, Randy Alcorn, Christy Ziglar and Colleen Coble, also took the stage to share the details and offer insight about their latest releases.
Attendees learned about some of the top trends. Products such as picture books will continue to be visually driven, mobility will continue, print and digital will co-exist, educational books and toys as well as e-books and apps will continue to rise in popularity. There is also a shift toward more family and “stow-and-go” type products. Retailers also gained tips on merchandising, effective product displays and cross-merchandising.
“We are seeing a huge resurgence with picture books,” Simon said. “In-store merchandising can capitalize on the presence of picture books. It’s an advertisement that retailers can use to sell the product and it doesn’t cost anything. Publishers spend more money on front covers than any other art, so it pays to use it.”
She said illustrations and how to interpret icons and images are trending with children of all ages, because we continue to be such a multimedia-driven culture. They also promote literacy in formats like comic books and graphic novels, which are growth areas. New York Times best-selling adult author Randy Alcorn’s move into a new genre of graphic novels for children is one reflection of the trend. He said these products share the Word of God and a salvation message, presented in a fun format for kids.
“My grandkids love it. One of my grandsons called me the other day and said he has read the book 10 times from cover to cover,” Alcorn said.
To coincide with the trends, several new NIV Adventure Bible products from Zondervan are being introduced including the NIV Adventure Bible Memory App for the iPad and iPhone, which will allow children to memorize Bible verses, while learning books of the Bible.
Another draw for attendees was the featured product giveaway, which showcased items such as books, plush, FotoFrame Water Bottles and more, from more than 20 children’s product suppliers including B&H Kids, DaySpring, Tyndale Kids, Tommy Nelson, Zonderkidz, Guideposts Books/Ideals Publications, Moody Publishers, Warner Press, Kregel Publications, Barbour Publishing, Oodles World and Scripture Candy. For the past 19 years, Simon has brought this highly sought after event to Christian retailers.