LEGO Figure

What topped UK kids’ toy lists?

New data from research firm Kids Insights shows only a few brands like LEGO and Minecraft appeal equally to boys and girls.
January 22, 2020

Retailers may be doing away with the pink and blue shelves that used to populate toy sections, but a new report from UK-based market research firm Kids Insights found boys and girls have very different tastes in toys.

According to the UK Toy Market Report 2020, the top playthings for preschool boys were LEGO (pictured), PAW Patrol and LEGO Duplo. For girls, the top toys were Barbie, L.O.L. Surprise! and My Little Pony. The only items to make the top-10 list for both boys and girls were LEGO, LEGO Friends and PAW Patrol, according to the report.

Boys ages six to nine, meanwhile, named LEGO, Nerf guns and Minecraft as their top toys. L.O.L. Surprise!, LEGO and Barbie topped the list for girls. Children in this age group seem to have more in common than their younger peers, with LEGO, LEGO Friends, Minecraft and Pokémon Cards making the list for both boys and girls ages six to nine.

For tweens (ages 10 to 12), LEGO was the top toy for both boys and girls. Minecraft and WWE figures rounded out the top-three for boys, while girls named slime and LEGO Friends as their other favorite playthings. There was significant overlap in the top toys for tweens, with LEGO, slime, Minecraft, board games and Star Wars toys all making the cut for both boys and girls.

Soft toys, toy animals and dolls, and playsets were the three most popular categories with girls ages three to nine, while boys preferred construction toys, toy vehicles and action figures. For kids ages 10 to 12, boys opted for construction toys, action figures and toy animals, while the top categories for girls were soft toys, construction toys and toy animals.

Beyond the differences between boys and girls, the report also focused on the preferences for different age demographics.

When it comes to licensing, preschoolers are most likely to own toys related to their favorite TV shows (45%), films (32%) and video games (28%). Kids ages six to nine are equally likely to own toys inspired by their favorite shows (32%) and video games (32%), meanwhile, and preteens are most likely to own items related to their favorite video games (27%), followed by television and film properties (19% and 16%, respectively).

Playing with toys and games is the most popular pastime for preschoolers, with the average three- to five-year-old in the UK spending 11.5 hours playing with toys and games each week (598 hours per year). This puts playing with toys and games ahead of watching TV (544 hours), playing video games (307 hours), and using the internet or social media (219 hours).

Kids Insights also found children ages three to 12 spend around US$669 (£513) on toys and games each year. Stickers were the top purchase for preschoolers and kids ages six to nine, while trading cards were the top pick for preteens.

And when it comes to spending money and supporting companies, kids care about being green. Kids Insights’ data shows more than half (64%) of kids reported thinking about their impact on the environment by the age of 13.

The UK Toy Market Report 2020 surveyed 13,300 children ages three to 12 across the UK between January 1 and December 31, 2019. Kids Insights surveys more than 105,000 children annually across the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and India. 

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