Exclusive: Hello dolly – Toy World examines the Dolls category

Published on: 13th May 2021

Rachael Simpson-Jones finds out how animated content, social media and sustainability are shaping the Dolls category, and looks at the latest innovations and trends.

One of the more traditional toy categories, dolls and doll play continues to evolve along with the needs of kids increasingly connected to the fast-paced world around them.

Nurture remains at the heart of the Dolls category, providing kids with classic play patterns that aid the development of social skills. While traditional features such as nappy wetting, sleeping, eating and crying are still seen across many leading brands, new technologies and innovation will this year be providing kids with an even more realistic experience. Our article examines new introductions from Zapf, Mattel and IMC, all designed to cater to this trend.

However, with kids constantly exposed to social media, and the influencers and content creators that call such platforms home, hair-play, fashion and makeover themes are becoming ever-increasing drivers behind best-selling doll brands. We look at the latest from the Barbie, Rainbow High and I’m A Girly brands, and hear the latest on doll-play accessories from Zapf’s Baby born and Baby Annabell.

We also examine how the upcoming release of Spirit Untamed is providing new opportunities in the category, with soaring demand for horse-themed doll sets. A further trend has seen consumers recognising the importance of nature and time outside, to which Mattel has responded with the My Garden Baby range, while a continuing bath time and water play trend has seen a new bathing feature for Baby Annabell and the release of IMC collectible, Bloopies Fairies.

Like many toy categories, Dolls has also begun to be driven by brand content. As supporting toy properties with webisodes, specials, movies and more becomes a powerful marketing tool in its own right, we hear about the latest moves in this new arena. The issue of sustainability is inspiring developments in both packaging and products spanning dolls and collectibles; we hear about initiatives that will not only cut down on the amount of waste going to landfill, but also enhance play.

There’s a look at the doll collectible space, and at the brands challenging the domination of L.O.L. Surprise! and Na! Na! Na! Surprise! such as IMC’s Cry Babies Magic Tears, a range set to develop even further with the Dress Me Up extension.

The feature also includes a roundup of the latest dolls arriving on the market, as well as complementary collectible ranges.

To read the full article, which appears in the May edition of Toy World, click here.



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