Every month we work with leading toy industry publication, Toy News, to find out kids are up to: what are they playing with now and what will they want in the future. This month, we looked at Pop Star dolls to find out which artists kids are buying, how they collect and play with them as well as finding out who could be the next big pop star doll!
The popularity of dolls based on pop stars is clear, with 61 per cent of the 500 girls surveyed either playing with them at present (35 per cent) or having done so in the past (26 per cent). Of course, tastes change as kids grow up, and the research shows that by eight and nine years of age, girls are starting to move away from pop star dolls, although 18 per cent carry on until their 11th birthday.
Who is top of the pops?
So which dolls are proving to be the most popular? We asked our sample of girls aged between six and 12 years of age which dolls they currently own, used to own, and would like to own. The results show that despite the popularity of British boy bands, it is American imports Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber which are most popular. Cyrus comes out top thanks to 16 per cent of girls having owned a Hannah Montana doll in the past. Justin Bieber manages to edge JLS member Aston into third place due to slightly higher number (one per cent) of girls owning his doll before, and an extra three per cent wanting to add him to their collection.
JLS is definitely the most popular boyband, with ownership of each JLS member eclipsing each of those of One Direction and The Wanted. However, it looks like One Direction is about to take over that number one position, as girls demand the 1D figures.
The next big thing
So, who’s going to be the next big hit? That looks like being Jessie J, although that will depend on whether she comes back for the next series of The Voice UK. Jessie J knocks Katy Perry into second place in our survey, whereas 25 per cent of girls said they definitely wanted both Jessie J and Katy Perry dolls, Jessie J was top of the pops thanks to a further three per cent saying they ‘may’ want a Jessie doll.
Narrowly behind Jessie and Katy were Rhianna with 22 per cent positive votes, and Cheryl Cole and Selena Gomez who picked up 18 per cent each. British pop princess Pixie Lott managed to edge out Beyonce and Tulisa, although this could change when the X Factor comes back on the box.
Surprisingly Nicki Minaj (who already dresses like a doll) only picked up seven per cent positive votes. The Saturdays, who have already had a toy tie-in with Barbie, were only popular with ten per cent of the girls. Perhaps their popularity is falling, especially considering the recently announced line of Little Mix dolls.
When we asked the girls how they played with their pop dolls the two most popular responses were to pretend they’re singing (60 per cent) and make up stories (56 per cent). Dressing them up was popular with 55 per cent of the girls, suggesting that selling additional clothing could be a real money maker. Just under a quarter of girls said they just collected the dolls for the sake of it.
Gotta collect them all!
Good news for JLS, the pop-foursome is the most collectable group. Of the girls who said they owned JLS dolls, an impressive 43 per cent owned all four. However, only 16 per cent of One Direction owners have collected all five and only 13 per cent of The Wanted owners had the whole group. In the case of One Direction and The Wanted, girls were most likely to only own one member.
While the market for pop star dolls is clearly a busy one, our research shows that there is plenty of appetite for more to come.
This article first appeared in the June 2012 issue of Toy News