Doc McStuffins Crosses Over & Generates $500 Million In Sales
The Doc McStuffins doll line has done the near impossible. African-American toys, particularly dolls, are usually niche items. But the Doc McStuffins doll, based on the cartoon character, has crossed over into the general toy market. The character is a little African-American girl who pretends to be a doctor to her stuffed animals.
Its merchandising has been a mega success. With everything from Doc McStuffins sheets to Doc McStuffins clothes, the doll pulled in about $500 million in sales last year and may be setting a record as the best-selling toy line based on an African-American character, according to industry experts.
“The kids who are of color see her as an African-American girl, and that’s really big for them,” said Chris Nee, the creator of Doc McStuffins tells The New York Times. “And I think a lot of other kids don’t see her color, and that’s wonderful as well.”
Nancy Kanter, general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, which developed “Doc McStuffins” and who was the one who suggested the character be African-American, told The New York Times. “If you look at the numbers on the toy sales, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t just African-American families buying these toys. It’s the broadest demographics possible.”
There is a growing marketplace for nonwhite dolls, a topic that we’ve covered here as well. “Last year, roughly half of all infants in the United States were minorities, and minority children under 18 are expected to outnumber non-Hispanic whites of the same ages by 2018,” reports the Times.
There have been other black dolls such as toys based on Tiana, a black Disney princess; Little Bill, a television series centered around an African-American boy; and even the Michael Jackson dolls. But none have done as well as Doc McStuffins.
While there are new doll lines following suit such as Positively Perfect Dolls, which offers a variety of hair textures and skin tones, many parents were dismayed when in May American Girl discontinued two dolls of color. Some parents vented on the company’s Facebook page. But a spokeswoman for American Girl said those two dolls were part of a line of “friend” dolls, that the firm is veering away from.
Hopefully more and more nonwhite doll lines will cross over, as there is plenty of money to go around. The American toy industry rakes in $22 billion a year.