Spielwarenmesse: Tactile play is all the rage again

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Movers & shakers

Tactile play is all the rage again

from Ulrich Texter

Both adults and children have been under the spell of the retro trend for years. Or are the trends for creative pursuits and DIY just offshoots of individualisation? There is no doubt that many consumers find arts and crafts a good way to slow down and relax. Carletto CEO Peter Gygax thinks he knows why children also cannot help but let their creativity flow and use analogue play as a means of comprehending their world.

Spielwarenmesse®: Mr Gygax, we might be forgiven for thinking that the Carletto range is geared more towards the fairer sex. At least, there are few “boy toys” for rambunctious play. Tell us, why is that?

Peter Gygax: Carletto has been marketing its traditional and musical toys and successful games since 1986. You will very rarely find anything tech based with us. We don’t sell those kinds of out-and-out “boy toys”, but focus instead on exceptional brands offering analogue play fun and entertainment.

Enthusiasm among adults for creative leisure pursuits remains undiminished. DIY stores encourage us almost daily to “do our thing”! Have you already your own allotment garden or are you more of a crocheting-and-colouring-books man?

P.G.: There’s no competition, it’s macramé all the way! No, joking aside, I like to tinker with things. I try to repair whatever needs repairing with our children and have built a proper tree house in the forest with our boys. I have had no success to date with crocheting or colouring, perhaps I’m just talentless in those areas.

The world is becoming increasingly complex, but also more analogue. You could trip over the colouring books in bookstores at railway stations. What’s up? Are we not living in the age of digital disruption?

P.G.: We are caught up in the appeal of the tactile experience again! People are passionately collecting Pokémon cards now and restoring and trading old cars and motorbikes, while DIY, cooking and gardening are all the rage. The digital world is large and convoluted, while the analogue world is tangible and manageable.

We are interested in whether this is rubbing off on children who have grown up with smartphones. What do you think?

P.G.: Our generation discovered the digital world, while today’s “digital natives” are having fun discovering the analogue world. Even young people don’t have a clue how a smartphone really works, but everyone can understand what a bicycle does. So, analogue topics will be extremely popular in the future as well, because they are tangible and can be understood and experienced.

And can you also tell us which “gizmos” children are big into at the moment? What are the current trends?

P.G.: Fidget spinners are literally this summer’s hot movers! We will have to wait and see whether they also compensate for or enhance deficits in children. In terms of building things for themselves, you’ll find Slime and thinking putty in all schoolyards.

You have launched Artista, a new creative line. Are you not a bit late to the party? We have found the new trend to be “make yourself beautiful!”.

P.G.: We are just in time! Artista is bringing traditional activities in a high-quality format back to the stores. We actively look for special activities for young girls and boys, package them nicely and provide quality instruction booklets. Artista offers perfect gifts and analogue activities for a broad age range.

Picasso was 51 when he painted Girl before a Mirror in the early thirties. You might think nowadays that this is the only motif out there because girls in primary school are already interested in makeovers. Is the toy sector fuelling this trend? This might have been the impression gained at the Spielwarenmesse.

P.G.: The toy sector has come on in leaps and bounds in the area of cosmetics and styling in recent years. This is good, we have to serve this target group in an appealing and competent way and try to keep it in our sector for as long as possible. But this category is not without its issues. Once you get into the whole area of cosmetics, responsibility for quality and ingredients increases exponentially!

You have described Carletto as a truffle hog, always unearthing something special. What can we expect after Artista?

P.G.:Oh...but truffle season isn’t until autumn! We will certainly bring some delightful innovations to the next trade fair, but you’ll have to wait and see. This much I can tell you – there will be cool and creative fidget spinners that have already proven a hit with our grandparents!

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Author of this article:

Ulrich Texter

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