In today’s Wall Street Journal article on “Lego Chief Sees Weak U.S, Demand for Toys,” it is reported that in the first half of the year, Lego’s sales increased 23% in the US, despite a fall in the global toy market. Lego’s Chief Executive, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, attributed part of the increase to their launch of Lego Friends, which are construction toys aimed at girls. Lego sold twice as many of these sets as expected in the first six months.
I am not surprised at the success of these sets since I saw them introduced at the 2012 New York Toy Fair. Lego Friends, aimed at recruiting more girl builders, includes Olivia’s tree house with lots of animal friends to share the space, Olivia’s house which can be customized, and the City Park Cafe with all the accessories to get a little something to eat or drink.
I’m actually pleased at the success of the sets designed to encourage little girl builders. Lego has received criticism for it’s gender specific sets, since the launch, but pairing the open ended construction play with themes attractive to little girls seems a win-win to me. Children learn language and create their own stories as they imitate their life experiences-going to the beauty shop, taking a swim in the pool or going about daily living in and around the house. Obviously parents and little girls are enjoying the sets based on their popularity!