You’ll recognise a few of these best-selling toys of all time, with plenty of them taking pride of place in many a child’s toy box.
Do you remember pestering your parents for a dimpled Cabbage Patch Kids doll – one of the best toys of the 1990s? Or what about that Christmas in 2008 when you spent hours trying to track down the Iggle Piggle cuddly toy?
These top selling toys of all time are full of familiar favourites and modern mini-crazes that took the toyworld by storm. Featuring some of the best toys for three-year-olds and educational toys for kids, we consulted data from Argos and toy market researcher NPD Group to give you the most popular toys of all time.
You’ll be surprised at how many have stood the test of time…
The best-selling toys of all time:
It’s official: these colourful, plastic building blocks – which first went on sale in 1947 – remain just as popular with kids today. A staggering 400 million people around the world have dabbled with lego, with seven sets of these bite-sized bricks sold every second. Used to fashion castles, trains, houses and vehicles (plus not forgetting those infamous lego figures) lego has proved its purpose and ability to stand the test of time. In 2000, The British Association of Toy Retailers even named the LEGO brick “Toy of the Century” – beating the teddy bear, Barbie and Action Man.
What kid didn’t own one of these in the 90s? These tiny tech pets would transfix us for hours, with us pestering our parents to take care of them whilst we went to school. Amazingly, this pocket toy had a resurgence in the mid 2000s too, with NPD revealing Tamagotchis took the crown for best-selling toy in 2005, 2006 AND 2007. It’s definitely one of the best toys for eight-year-olds.
American company Mattel were onto a winner when they first released this tall, leggy blonde into the world on 9 March 1959. 62 years on and she’s still as stylish as ever, though it’s nice to see she’s evolved representation-wise and embraced new roles as an astronaut and mermaid. Totally Hair Barbie, with her long head to toe length tresses, is officially the best-selling Barbie toy of all time. She generated 10 million sales worldwide alone between 1992 and 1995.
It seems kids past and present have found a friend in Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear – with sales of this popular figurine flying from infinity to beyond. Disney have confirmed that their beloved Buzz is the Disney Store’s best-selling toy of all time.
They may have topped the charts as the best-selling toy of 1987, but these furry friends are still going strong today. There’s the cow family, the pig family, the otter family.. you get the gist. Devoted child collectors will also have acquired the stately suburban Sylvanian Families home too.
It’s infamous for causing family arguments, yet that hasn’t stopped this Hasbro game from becoming the best-selling board game of all time. 275 million Monopoly boards have been sold worldwide with younger family players soon coming of age and fighting you for the dog or hat counter.
Boys, girls and even parents were swayed by the magic of the game boy, which allowed us to play favourites like Mario Kart and Donkey Kong on the go. First released in Japan in April 1989, an incredible 180 million Nintendo game boys have been sold worldwide since.
Furry and friendly, Furbys first made a storm in the toy world in the late nineties. They took the title of most popular selling toy in 2000 and then again in 2013 when Furby Booms were released. Did you know the latest version can lay digital eggs? The perfect toy for six-year-olds.
L.O.L Surprise Dolls
These cool, pint-sized dolls have dominated the toy market in recent years. According to NPD, L.O.L surprise dolls were the best-selling toy of the year for four years running from 2017-2019. With each doll hidden inside a ball (with stickers and fun accessories), kids never know which doll they’re going to get until the very last minute. Hence the ‘Surprise’.
Cabbage Patch Dolls
These cute chubby-cheeked dolls were a sell out in 1984, becoming the best-selling toy of that year. Fans are still able to adopt their unique Cabbage Patch doll today, with the ‘licensed patch doctors and nurses’ at Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia, helping you to choose from thousands of their soft-toy residents.
This fiddly, brain-teasing toy could keep us occupied for hours – as we painfully tried to match those dastardly coloured squares and prove ourselves in front of our parents. Invented in 1974, Rubik’s cubes are a retro classic which generated a staggering 100 million sales by 1983 alone. For those still up to the challenge – the current world record for cracking one of these is 3.43 seconds.
Be it the original Leap Pad books or the more modern explorer tablet, there’s no doubting that LeapFrog revolutionised the way kids read. Adding interactive elements and sounds, these handy reading devices have earnt a spot on our best-selling toys of all time list for being the sell-out toy of the year in 2004 and 2012.
The Nintendo Wii is one of the best-selling toys of all time. The impressive, interactive video game was officially the most popular toy trend of the ‘twenty-tens’ decade – with 1 in 3 households owning one in 2010 itself. Who remembers Wii Sport and challenging friends to a competitive game of tennis or bowling?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Turtle power is still very much alive and thriving despite their nineties heyday. These first skyrocketed up the toy charts, taking the top-selling toy spot in 1990. And today, new generations of kids are still enthralled by the likes of Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo.
Back in the days of the digital camera boom, kids went crazy for Vtech’s kidizoom camera. Young budding photographers could take real digital photos (and even selfies) on these brightly-coloured beauties, then use the memory card to upload their portfolio to a nearby PC. NPD revealed that Kidizoom cameras were a triumph for two years running – securing the best-selling toy spot in 2009 and 2010.
Barbie faced some healthy competition from these hip toy dolls in the early noughties produced by MGA Entertainment. An incredible 150 million Bratz dolls have been sold worldwide since they arrived on the scene in 2001 – with the fashionistas celebrating their 20 year anniversary this year.
Another Noughties toy icon was this spinning-top toy that turned playgrounds into bases for some serious beyblade duelling. There are over 5000 different beyblade combinations, all with different abilities and catchy names like ‘Master Diabolos’ and ‘Heaven Pegasus’. According to NPD they were the best-selling toy of 2003. Though their popularity peaked again in 2016, when the animated TV series Beyblade Burst began airing.
Buff, super-tanned and boasting new levels of flexibility – Stretch Armstrong was a staple in almost every nineties toybox. He beat off heavy competition and became the best-selling toy of 1976. And in 2016, Hasbro announced his return, re-releasing their winning 1976 design.
In the Night Garden’s Iggle Piggle cuddly toy was THE ultimate Christmas toy for five-year-olds in the mid-2000s. Released in 2007, after the mass success of the television show, it became the best-selling toy of 2008.
Is anyone surprised that Star Wars is one of the best-selling toys of all time? The force has stayed strong with these Star Wars figurines – which first went stratospheric in the 1970s. Half a century on, these figures have racked up a crazy £10 billion worldwide. No doubt, the film franchise’s recent reboot and films like The Last Jedi have contributed to this. With new characters like Kylo Ren and Rey now available to add to treasured collections.