The talk of the playground: Summer movie toys

Dubit finds out which licensed toys from this summer's movies were popular with children aged seven to 11 over the school holidays?
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Our research shows that although children are still enjoying playing with toys from their favourite films, a box office smash doesn't always result in a hit toy. However, the children most likely to opt for film merchandise are seven year olds.

Of the children that played with Cars branded toys, the most engaged were seven year olds and 11 year olds (28 per cent and 18 per cent respectively).

The most popular licensed toys with young children (seven to eight year olds) were Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean (42 per cent), followed by Kung Fu Panda (40 per cent).

Harry Potter topped our chart, helped by being popular among all age groups, with seven year olds being the least engaged. 

As the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was the final film in the ten-year series, it could be a little late for this age group to become fans of the franchise. 

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Despite Transformers: Dark of the Moon being rated 12A, the toys were chosen by seven year olds more than any other age group in the sample. This indicates that many seven year olds saw the film with parents or simply found the idea of a transforming toy appealing, regardless of the associated film.

The comic book category, which includes Thor, Green Lantern and X-Men, was the least popular in our survey. These brands had relatively poor box office takings and were more popular with the higher age brackets, so these two factors could explain the lack of popularity amongst younger children. 

Of the nine films surveyed, five were from franchises that were new or only up to their first sequel. From these, particular credit can go to Cars 2, Tangled and Kung Fu Panda 2, which managed to compete with the more established franchises. 

With 52 per cent of children stating that they haven’t played with any licensed movie toys this summer, it would seem that these brands aren’t necessarily a guaranteed money-maker for the toy industry. This is especially true with the older children who, it could be suggested, are more attracted to the video game equivalents.

Dubit is a specialist youth research and marketing agency that helps brands to understand young people’s motivations and behaviours. Phone: 0113 394 7920 r email research@dubitlimited.com

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