You may be surprised by whose made the list! When looking for toys, many parents and gift givers can feel overwhelmed by the choices. But nostalgia is a good starting place.
Many popular toy brands have been around for decades and have become powerhouses in the baby and children’s toy market. Here’s a quick look at top brands for kids today. Lots of classics – and a few that might throw you.
Here are the top 13 most popular toy brands in terms of sales revenue.
Established in 1959 by Mattel, Barbie is one of today’s most iconic toy brands. Co-founder Ruth Handler was inspired to create the brand after watching her daughter play with make-believe paper dolls.
The term Barbiecore is having a moment with the upcoming Barbie movie coming out in 2023. We will see many #Barbiecore fashion trends, bright pink, and retro throwbacks in the coming year.
Where to Shop:
Established in 1945, Mattel is an iconic kids’ toy brand well-known for Barbies. They also offer other toy brands found in many homes across the globe and loved by children for generations.
Some Mattel Brands include:
- Hot Wheels
- Fisher Price
- American Girl
- Mega Blocks
- Polly Pocket
- Jurassic World
- Karma’s World
Mattel offers kids’ toys that are nostalgic and have stood the test of time. American Girl dolls are on-trend, high-quality dolls that have been loved for generations. They feature high-quality accessories and make great gifts. Mattel also has licensed characters, such as Jurassic World, WWE, Karma’s World, and more.
You can shop Mattel brands at various in-store and online retailers.
Monopoly is a Hasbro-branded game for children and adults that has officially been around since 1935. Fun fact: it was initially based on a 1904 game by Lizzie G. Magie under the name “Landlord’s Game,” illustrating the potential exploitation of tenants by greedy landlords.
Hundreds of versions of Monopoly have been released over the past several decades. Some editions have different rules, like Millionaire, Speed Die, and Cheater, while others are designed after some favorite shows. No matter your interest or how you want to play, there is a Monopoly edition for you.
You can buy Monopoly anywhere games are sold.
Lego has been named “Toy of the Century” twice by the British Association of Toy Retailers, which is a testament to how impactful they have been to generations of kids and adults worldwide. Established in 1932 in Denmark by Ole Kirk Kristiansen, ‘LEGO’ is an abbreviation of two Danish words, “leg godt,” which means “play well.” The company is still family-owned and owned by Ole Kirk’s grandchild Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.
The design and concept of Legos have not changed much since they were founded, and they have been a top-rated children’s toy for decades. Children (and adults) have entire careers related to Lego, and some have YouTube channels with millions of subscribers (like Brick Builder) where they build elaborate Lego builds and even do competitions (it is seriously so cool).
5. MGA Entertainment, Inc.
MGA is the world’s largest private toy company and has a diverse portfolio of baby, toddler, and children’s toys. They have several popular and on-trend toys, especially for girls, which include:
- BABY Born Surprise
- Glitter Babyz
- Little Tikes
- LOL Surprise!
- Rainbow High (also a show on Netflix)
They even have the Little Tikes brand in their portfolio, one of the market’s most well-known babies and toddler brands. It is hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a Little Tikes toy in their home.
Where to Shop:
6. Hot Wheels
Hot Wheels was established in 1968 under the Mattel brand. The first car was created and released as a green Custom Camaro and was an instant success. Millions of boys and girls have played and loved Hot Wheels. They have many vehicles, accessories, and tracks to purchase.
Where to Shop:
Hasbro, established in 1923, is a global play and entertainment company that includes toys, games, entertainment, and gaming. Their portfolio comprises approximately 1,5000 brands, including
- Baby Alive
- My Little Pony
- Power Rangers
Hasbro is committed to “Creating the World’s Best Play Experiences,” but they have not always been in the toy and game business. In 1923, they first sold textile remnants before manufacturing pencil boxes and school supplies. It wasn’t until the 1940s that they sold their first toy, a doctor and nurse kit.
Hasbro has maintained relevance throughout the years by maintaining a key player in the toy and game market. Many entertainment items today have the Hasbro name and are enjoyed by children and adults worldwide.
Where to Shop:
8. Fisher Price
Fisher Price toys are synonymous with childhood memories. Established in 1930, many of their toys feature bright primary colors, giving a heavy dose of nostalgia. Their product line features items from newborn use through childhood and is usually a staple in any household with kids.
Many of their products have kept their same roots, like the iconic stacking rings for babies and toddlers. They also have a Fisher Price Classics line which is made to look like they did when they were first released (like this 1975-inspired cash register).
Some popular Fisher-Price products that have stood the test of time are:
- Infant Swings
- Activity Table
- Stacking Rings
- Barn with Animals
You can shop Fisher Price at a variety of retailers domestically and worldwide.
9. Tomy Company
Tomy was founded in 1924 under the name Tomiyama Toy Seisakushoand and was initially known for selling toy airplanes (which they still sell today). In 1963, they rebranded under the name Tomy, and their headquarters are in Katsushika, Toyoko.
There are several powerhouse brands under the Tomy umbrella which include:
- JJ Cole
- The First Years
- John Deere Kids
- Farm Toys
- Sing 2
- Ricky Zoom
Tomy is sold through more than 25,000 retail outlets worldwide. You can shop Tomy branded toys and their other brands at:
10. Melissa & Doug
Melissa & Doug is the pioneer in accessible, open-ended play toys. Established in 1988, co-founders Melissa & Doug created the brand in their family’s basement after moving out of New York City.
They are well known for their puzzles, pretend play, arts & crafts, outdoor toys, and more. Before Melissa & Doug, many wooden toys were at a price point that was not attainable to everyone. Melissa & Doug toys aim to provide high-quality toys at a great price.
Some Melissa and Doug toy favorites are:
- Lacing Beads
- Pretend Food
- Vet Set
- Fresh Grocery Mart
- Cutting Fruit Set
- Take Along Horse Stable
Melissa & Doug toys are high-quality with impeccable details that impress children and adults. All of their items emphasize open-ended play, which is imaginative, kid-powered, skill-building, and fun.
Melissa & Doug is available at big-box retailers and small, independently owned toy shops. Many toy shops have been loyal supporters of Melissa and Doug for years.
- Melissa and Doug website
- Barnes & Noble
- Bed Bath and Beyond
11. American Girl
Under the Mattel umbrella since 1998, American Girl has been uniquely positioned by being a higher-end option for consumers. American Girl was established in 1986 by Pleasant T. Rowland after she could not find dolls to buy for her nieces. Rowland wanted to combine her passion for American history and educational products, and American Girl was born.
Today the brand features its line of dolls, accessories, books, furniture, and more. You can even “create your own” doll, which includes different skin tones, hairstyles, eye colors, freckles, hearing aids, and more. With a mission to help create a world where everyone is valued and respected, allowing everyone to be represented is a massive passion for American Girl.
If you are in a city where one of the American Girl stores are, I highly recommend you check them out. You can do in-store parties, dining, personal shopping, doll hospital (if your doll needs some TLC/repairs), doll salon, and more. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your American Girl Doll lover.
To shop American Girl Dolls, they can be found at the following retailers.
Created in 1974 by inventor Hans Beck, Playmobil has become a classic for children worldwide. When designing the product, Beck was looking for a toy for children aged 5 to 12 that wasn’t too intricate that they needed advanced motor skills to play successfully. He came up with a 1:24 scale human figure that accomplished just that, and with over 30 different play themes, there is something for everyone.
The brand is under Germany-based Horst Brandstatter Group, a leading toy brand for premium toys made in Europe.
You can shop Playmobil at the following retailers.
Funko is a leading pop culture lifestyle brand with product lines that include vinyl figures, action toys, plushies, apparel, board games, and more. They are the world’s largest proprietor of licenses, and entertainment enthusiasts display their fandom through the lens of their Funko products. Some of their 150+ licensing deals include:
- Lucas Films
- Game of Thrones
- Walking Dead
- DC Comics
Established in 1998 by Mike Becker, his vision was to bring back low-tech, nostalgic-themed toys, creating a cult following. The company’s headquarters are located in Everett, Washington.
Where to Shop Funko:
What is the number 1 toy brand in the world?
According to Statistica.com and other sources, Lego is the number one toy brand in the world. In 2022, they are valued at over six billion USD and have been the industry leader for years.
Maintaining a strong company ethos, Lego has provided high-quality items for decades that consumers can rely on for hours of entertainment and a dose of nostalgia. Lego is also suitable for a wide range of ages, which gives the company a large customer base.
If you’re researching toy options or shopping for a gift that can ship today, you really can’t go wrong with any of the popular brands on this list. While you may accidentally duplicate a gift the child already has, there are gift receipts and it’s the thought that counts. And besides, my kids happily play with a couple of duplicate toys they have.