Lego A/S’s Friends line is the first success the toymaker has had with new products designed specifically for girls in as many as 20 years, the company’s chief operating officer said in an interview.
“We tried reaching into the girls’ audience a number of times over the last 15, 20 years, and this is the first time, with Friends, that we’ve had true success,” said Bali Padda, speaking before the official opening of the company’s new offices in London today.
Three years ago, the toy-brick maker released the product line, which features girls in settings including a shopping mall, a beach house, and a pet salon. Sales in the segment are growing as much as 20 percent each year, Padda said.
While Lego again topped the list of gifts that boys wanted for Christmas this year, the toy-brick maker was listed as sixth for girls, below Disney’s Frozen-themed toys, and a variety of dolls, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation published this week.
"Olivia's Invention Workshop" set from the LEGO Friends product line marketed to girls.
“It’s incredible how high it was on that list,” said Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, the company’s chief executive officer. “Considering it’s only three years ago that we launched Lego Friends, I think we very quickly established ourselves.”
Lego had a history of focusing equally on both boys and girls markets, Knudstorp said, but had found that in recent years its portfolio lacked products that “really spoke to the girls.” The toymaker will continue to expand its reach in that demographic, he said.
“There is no reason why girls shouldn’t feel like they could be great builders as well,” he said. “We know they are, so we just want to make it attractive for them.”