While the Denmark-based company owes 90 percent of its regular sales to boys, last year’s introduction of Lego Friends, a product line aimed at girls 5 and up, exceeded all expectations and more than doubled the initial sales forecasts for its first year in market, according to a statement released by the company.
“We entered 2012 with high expectations for Lego Friends but also with a lot of anxiety, as we have historically never been very successful attracting girls to our play offers,” the company said in statement posted on its corporate website. “That is why it has been amazing to experience the enthusiastic welcome, which consumers have given the new range, as well as know that we through Lego Friends have managed to introduce Lego play to millions of girls who had never received a LEGO product before.”
Reports indicate that Lego Friends contributed to a 25 percent increase in overall sales for 2012 – a total of $4.2 billion, according to results released last week.
“Lego Friends” requires the same skills as “Lego Star Wars” and “Lego Kingdoms” for boys, but features less martial themes, and include tree houses, civic parks, dolls houses and pet salons.
According to a Lego spokesman, as cited by MarketWatch, the successful line of products was the company’s first major success with girls, as previous attempts, which had fewer building blocks and featured larger figures more like fashion dolls, failed to catch on with the target market.
“The girls we talked to let us understand that they really wanted a Lego offering that mirrors what the boys experience, but in a way that fulfills their unique desire for redesign and details and combined with realistic themes in community and friendship,” LEGO Group Vice President Nanna Ulrich Gudum said in a statement.
Despite the Lego Group’s success in 2012, the company has not yet introduced plans for different varieties of toy sets aimed at young girls and says it will expand the current Lego Friends line.
“This year we will expand the Friends story to include more themes and deeper characters, which the children that tested this year’s products, really enjoyed,” Mads Nipper, chief marketing officer, explained in a statement. “We can also see that the attention from our customers is even more positive this year, so I am excited about Lego Friends in 2013.”
Lego is not the first toymaker to give a popular product a sex-change operation in an effort to boost sales. Nearly half a century ago, toymaker Hasbro introduced the first toy doll for boys -- “G.I. Joe.” In addition, the first series of “Star Wars” dolls were dubbed “action figures.”