The Toy Association, the trade group serving the $32.6 billion toy industry, has announced that Toy Fair New York will return after its Covid hiatus, but not until September 2023. That represents a big change for the Fair, which has been held in February since its inception in 1902. The 188th edition of the show will take place from September 30 to October 3, 2023, in its long-time Javits Center home. Many publishers that sell to toy stores, special markets, and mass merchants exhibit and/or attend the event.

Factors behind the move cited by TIA’s board of directors include extended lead times in the production supply chain and in sourcing, along with changes in retailer purchasing cycles. Both were ongoing prior to the pandemic but have accelerated over the past two years, the association said. The hope with the new timing is to better serve the needs of the toy industry, as well as to attract entertainment studios and other licensors allied with the industry and make a bigger pre-holiday media splash. The change is part of the Toy Fair Reimagination Project, which launched in 2021 to analyze the needs of current and potential audiences to determine appropriate changes to the show after 2022.

Toy Fair was last held in 2020, one of the last large-scale events in New York City before the pandemic shutdown began that March. It had been scheduled to come back this year before being canceled in early January due to the rise of the Omicron variant. Because of demand from its membership, TIA is also holding a one-time 2023 Preview and 2022 Holiday Market in Dallas this September. The Dallas Toy Fair, held in the fall in recent years and also managed by TIA, will be discontinued.