Toys get sex change as Lego seeks to appeal to both boys and girls

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Lego has always appealed predominantly to boys, with male customers making up 90 percent of its sales. But the company's toys are getting a sex change, as its "Lego Friends" set -- made to appeal to a female audience -- became a hit after being released in January 2012. Lego reports that girls are now the cause of 25 percent of the company's purchases, helping increase its sales by 25 percent in 2012.

Guess what that means? More toys to appeal to both genders. MarketWatch reports that Lego plans to release more sets that steer away from "martial themes" and feature instead "tree houses, civic parks, dolls houses and pet salons."

"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," Mads Nipper, CMO of Lego, says in a statement. "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."

"Lego Friends" stars a group of girls named Mia, Emma, Andrea, Stephanie and Olivia who live in a Barbie-like pink-tinged world and interact with animals and one another. One "Lego Friends" set, "Olivia's House," became the best-selling Lego collection of 2012. Though the sex divide in the way the various "boys" and "girls" sets are portrayed will likely be called into question, Lego is calling this big boom in sales a win for now.

"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," says Nanna Gundum, Lego VP in charge of "Lego Friends" development, in a statement.

MarketWatch also lists three more toys stereotypically marketed towards a certain gender that are being "re-tooled" in 2013: the Easy-Bake Oven, Heartbreaker Row and Flutterbye Flying Fairies.

Photo/Video credit: Lego
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