Dolls and Stuffed Toys

SIC 3942

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing dolls, doll parts, and doll clothing, except doll wigs. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing stuffed toys are also included in this industry. Doll wigs are classified under SIC 3999: Manufacturing Industries, Not Elsewhere Classified.

Whereas the U.S. Census Bureau groups stuffed toys and dolls into one category, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) separates them into two different categories, with the stuffed toys, such as the ever-popular teddy bear, labeled "plush toys." According to the TIA, U.S. revenues from the sale of dolls in 2010 reached $2.7 billion, whereas plush toys accounted for $1.73 billion. The TIA also recognizes separate categories for dolls and action figures. Action figures and accessories comprised a $1.37 billion sector of the toy industry in 2010.

In decades past, girls played with dolls until well into the teen years, but research from The NPD Group found that by 2003, many girls stopped playing with dolls, at least openly, as early as age 8. To counter the market decline attributed to competition from computer and electronic games targeted to girls, manufacturers brought out more interactive dolls and updated their current products with a greater variety of fashion dolls. In fact, in the early part of the decade, 6 of the 10 top selling dolls were fashion dolls.

In the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, to contain labor costs, many companies imported branded products or used parts made in developing countries, displacing domestic production. China, Japan, and Taiwan were major suppliers. Exports were helped by an increased interest in products made in the United States and the lifting of trade barriers. In 2007, however, Barbie accessories, but not the doll, were among the hundreds of thousands of toys recalled by Mattel because of lead paint used in production by some Chinese suppliers. Despite fears spurred by recalls and reports of unsafe products, the United States still maintained a huge trade deficit in this industry with imports totaling $3.5 billion while exports were valued at just $117 million.

In the early 2010s, the biggest name in doll manufacturing (and toys in general) remained Mattel, Inc. Mattel made Barbie, the number one brand targeted toward girls ages 3 to 7. About 95 percent of all young girls in the United States had at least one, and the average number of dolls per child was eight. As of the late 2000s, two Barbies were sold every second. Mattel, headquartered in El Segundo, California, had revenues of $5.8 billion in 2010 with approximately 31,000 employees.

Since her creation in 1959 as a teenage fashion model, Barbie has engaged in various professional roles and has been joined by friends and family. In 1965, she gained her first ethnic friend and, in 1997, a physically-challenged friend. Barbie underwent a makeover in 1998 in response to complaints that she was a "self-esteem destroyer." Her figure was given more realistic proportions and her makeup was softened. Mattel launched a Web site in 1998 that let girls design and order their own "Friend of Barbie" doll by choosing from some 15,000 feature combinations (but no shape choices).

By the mid-2000s, Barbie was marketed more specifically to certain age groups and demographics, and the company offered more variety within the well-known brand. While almost all American girls ages 3 to 10 owned at least one Barbie, the 6 percent rise in Barbie sales during the first half of 2007 was fueled by a 13 percent increase in international sales. As the country prepared to enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, Mattel took a number of avenues to keep Barbie relevant and popular in a technological age. According to Hoover's, "To satisfy techie kids, Mattel has accessorized Barbie with interactive games, software, and a line of MP3 players. The company has even licensed the Barbie name for eyewear." was launched in April of 2007 and by July had 3 million members able to create a virtual character, shop, and interact with other members. A Barbie makeup line was also launched with M.A.C. cosmetics.

Through licensing agreements and acquisitions, Mattel brought under its umbrella other hit dolls and plush toys such as Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmo, and Winnie-the-Pooh. American Girl, a subsidiary of Mattel, began in the 1980s and cultivated a culture around its dolls, with books and magazines as well as stores where children could play and have teas with dolls. Mattel also made other dolls, including Polly Pocket dolls.

In the late 1990s, small manufacturers challenged the norm set by Barbie by introducing more life-like dolls. Get Set Club Inc. produced five ethnically diverse dolls that were fully poseable and had naturally shaped bodies, while GP Toys introduced Walking Tanya, which had a human stride. In the early 2000s, MGA brought out the wildly successful Bratz line, hip-hop fashion dolls that were more appealing than Barbie to many older "tween" girls. By the mid-2000s, Bratz dolls had supplanted Barbie in many parts of the world as the number-one selling fashion doll. Bratz was supported with a couture line, DVDs and video games, a 2007 movie, and an animated television show; Bratz dolls were available in nearly 70 countries worldwide.

In 2004, Mattel and MGA entered a long legal battle over who owned the rights to the Bratz doll. Initially, a California jury ruled that the creator of the Bratz doll, Carter Bryant, was technically employed by Mattel when he designed the doll and that Mattel was the rightful owner of the brand; MGA was ordered to cease production of the doll. Later, however, this ruling was overturned, which Mattel subsequently appealed. The court battle between the two companies went on for several years, finally culminating in August 2011 when U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter ruled in favor of MGA and refused Mattel's request for a new trial. Mattel was ordered to pay several million dollars to MGA, and its quest for the rights to sell (or not sell) Bratz dolls came to an end.

Traditional dolls, especially those in the collectible segment, were competition to interactive dolls. Sometimes dolls extended across segments. The Bradford Exchange (Niles, Illinois) made its collectible Gene doll a play doll as well by giving it a bended knee. Many other manufacturers, such as the New York-based Alexander Doll Company, which acquired former rival Middleton Doll Company in 2011, benefited by serving specialty or collector markets.

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News and information about Dolls and Stuffed Toys

Us Toy & Game Shipments Expected to Total $1.1 Billion in 2021
The Public Record; September 19, 2017; 340 words
...terms of:* electronic* board games and puzzles* models and kits* children's vehicles and doll carriages* dolls and stuffed toys* other products such as balls, dart games, and toy furnitureTo illustrate historical trends, total demand...
Worried by RTE's Cessation of Children's TV Production, I've Here Described the Television Programmes That Shaped the Man I Am Today. Who, Now, Will Scar Our Children for Life?
The Irish Times; December 9, 2016; 700+ words
...medium of adults playing with toys and reading stories. This activity was overseen by a quintet of terrifying dolls and stuffed toys who glared out of the screen and judged us with their button eyes: Humpty, Jemima, Hamble, Big Ted and his...
Uspto Issues Trademark: Heck Yeah
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; December 15, 2012; 281 words
...11.Goods and Services: Dolls and stuffed toys and doll and stuffed toy accessories, namely, clothing for dolls and stuffed toys, doll and stuffed toy rooms...toy fabrics and linens for dolls and stuffed toys. FIRST USE: 20120413. FIRST...
Old, worn dolls come alive at busy hands of doll lady.(St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service; January 9, 2003; 700+ words
...Hanley has given thousands of dolls and stuffed toys to charity. But how can a...compassion to buy and restore old dolls and stuffed toys for needy children living...year." Hanley shops for the dolls and stuffed toys mostly at garage sales ...
St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO); January 3, 2003; 700+ words
...Hanley has given thousands of dolls and stuffed toys to charity. But how can a...compassion to buy and restore old dolls and stuffed toys for needy children living...year." Hanley shops for the dolls and stuffed toys mostly at garage sales ...
My Girl
Manila Bulletin; February 20, 2016; 700+ words
...know she will because she already wants to make herself heard over her two brothers. I've also reconnected with dolls and stuffed toys. Don't get me wrong, I make sure Lila plays with cars and her brother's toys, but nothing makes her happier...
Excerpt | Karachi
Mint; June 12, 2014; 700+ words
...from the office, I peeped into the room of my children. I noticed that the shelves where Anusha was keeping her dolls and stuffed toys had been emptied. I was surprised and the first thought that came to my mind was that there had been a burglary...
Uspto Issues Trademark: Rody
US Fed News Service, Including US State News; September 23, 2013; 700+ words
...and counting skills; toy building blocks; playing cards and card games; talking and singing dolls and stuffed toys; walking dolls and stuffed toys; recreational equipment, namely, roller skates, skateboards, trampolines; bowling pins and...

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