What Is The Most Popular Toy In The World?


With all the thousands of hot new toys coming out every year, a lot of people have been wondering what the most popular toy in the world is. Is it dolls and action figures based on TV shows and movies? Maybe Dora the Explorer dolls or remote-control Wall-e robots? Surely the Nintendo Wii must be the most popular—right?

Actually, many parents would be surprised to learn that some of the most popular toys today have been around since they were kids. From Tonka Trucks to Play-Doh, the toys that were popular then remain so today, topping holiday wish-lists and generating millions of dollars in revenue.

Barbie Still Rules

No toy demonstrates this than the ever-popular Barbie doll, which was rated girls’ #1 most asked for toy last holiday season. Yet these dolls have been around since 1959, when a woman named Ruth Handler decided her daughter would have more fun with three-dimensional dolls than the paper dolls she was used to. Within a year, Barbie dolls became the highest-selling fashion doll in history.

And Barbie has really grown up over the years. She’s changed jobs hundreds of times, going from simply being a fashion model to a soccer player, dentist, paleontologist, firefighter, presidential candidate, and even fighter pilot. Today, Barbie dolls are sold in 140 countries and about two dolls are sold every second. Barbie dolls are so pervasive in American culture that 90% of American girls have owned at least one.

After seeing the enormous success that Barbie dolls enjoyed, toy creator Stan Weston came up with an idea for a similar toy marketed to boys. In 1963, GI Joe was born—the world’s first and still most popular action figure. Quickly becoming extremely popular both in the United States and elsewhere, GI Joes expanded into comic books, an animated TV series, video games, and more.

And who could forget lovable crazes like Cabbage Patch Kids? They became the must have toy of the mid-80’s, and sales peaked in 1985 at $600 million. But that figure pales in comparison to the mind-boggling sales of Ty Warner’s Beanie Babies. In the 90’s these adorable little animals managed to become both the hottest toy in America and a valuable collectors items, with single dolls selling for tens of thousands of dollars. All of this helped build a toy empire worth over $6 billion.

And LEGO is Solid

But the reigning champion of toys is one that has lasted much longer, delighting both kids and parents for over half a century. The British Association of Toy Retailers determined a “Toy of the Century,” and the winner was…drum roll please…LEGOs! Since the famous interlocking blocks were first manufactured in 1949, over 20,000,000,000 have been made per year—that’s more than 600 per second!

In addition to classic themes like the Wild West, space, and the arctic, LEGO has offered specialty sets based on Star Wars, Batman, Spongebob, and much more. Even today, Indiana Jones LEGOs are being offered in coordination with the release of the new movie.

In addition to strict standards of manufacturing and design, LEGOs have done plenty to stay ahead of the curve. In 2001, LEGO released its Bionicle line, marketed to a slightly older crowd, and many LEGO sets now come with complex parts such as motors, gears, lights, sensors, and cameras. Most impressively, the new LEGO Mindstorms sets are designed to be integrated with a personal computer and carry out complex tasks—sets like these are often used in advanced robotics competitions.

So although many toys today may enjoy brief bouts of popularity, it takes a lot to stand up to toy behemoths such as these.


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  1. the lead pencil is the most popular toy -tool ever. fun,imagenation,creation. what more can a toy be? get back to real fun and use our brains and alittle lead.

  2. according to new zealands toy world Tamagotchi is still there most popular toy although it’s not as popular as it used to be around version 3. When i was a year 3 at school (2006)You had to have one. About 95% Of people at that school had a tamagotchi. Soon school’s began to ban tamagotchi’s for there loud noise’s during class and that’s when they began to go out of fashion but I am still a tamagotchi fan with a version 7 now.

    Now, in 2011 tamagotchi’s are still the most popular but ZHU ZHU PET’S are comming in now. It is mostly a girl’s toy but you can buy a populare KUNG ZHU PETS for boy’s which is diffrent. I am saving up to get one.

  3. Barbie Dolls are the most stupid doll in the whole world. I can’t believe that they are the most popular doll in the world. The only reason they are popular is because of their dumb commercials unlike American Girl Dolls that are better quality.

  4. i mostly think that the barbies are the most famous toys since the 90s today they are still selling everywhere they are for boys and girls (at least that is what i think)

  5. Im with the round headed dimple faced cabbage patch kids! on

    I would have to say Cabbage Patch Kids. People nearly killed each other just to get ONE doll for their little child at home. Some very FIRST original CPKs can sell for thousands.

  6. the barbie doll is NOT! its MR.POTATO HEAD!!!!! he has been around since like everrr and was 1st toy to be advertised on tv!!! 1st modle of mr.potato head was actually a patato head!!! U HAD 2 PROVIDE UR OWWNNN POTATO!! it came with hands body, feet stickers for eyes,mouth ect a ciarete and more, later he quit smoking and gave up the cigareette. today its not a potato head its a patato body. and today it is still in stores! sooo… MR.POTATO HEAD!!!>>>>>> U ROCK! lol this is what i learnd in school

  7. barbies are not my type because i am a boy but i thought that it would be a playstation or something like that i only think that because is’nt there more boys than girls in the world

  8. stacy barbra on

    I am one of barbie’s biiiiiiggggeeeessssst fans….
    I am now already 29 years old and I still collect limited edition barbies including with anna sui, juicy couture, baby phatt and more other great desgners of the world. I hope one day my collection will be popular to the rest of the world. My collections were collected since 1996 when barbie was a major hit to my surroundings.

  9. Barbie used to have apparently less number of friends, clothes, careers or vehicles in 60s. Assorted things and friends of Barbie was a big fascination for most girls.

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