Action Figures & Fashion Dolls – Trends, Challenges & Opportunities


Action figures and fashion dolls are depictions of (normally popular) characters. In the past ten years or so we have seen a significant shift in  what these characters portray, this is partly due to the changing societal narrative around gender and partly due to Hollywood movies pushing their own boundaries.

These two categories more than ever reflect the prevailing times in terms of the role models children will have, and there is no doubt that these role models are somewhat different to what they were twenty or thirty years back. We actually have ‘fashion dolls’ and ‘action figures’ instead of just ‘dolls’ because the original action figure – GI Joe – was thought to have a better chance of success if it launched with the label of ‘action figure’ and not ‘doll’. It will be intriguing to see if the distinction between these two categories of figure/doll toys disappears over the next decades – personally I can’t see it, but makes for interesting speculation!

We’re also seeing a significant trend of adult collecting of figures based on mainstream and less than mainstream licenses. While adult collecting has been a ‘thing’ for as long as there have been figures/fashion dolls, we have a large scale sub category of stylised collectable figures driving the success and stock market flotation of Funko in particular.

All this and more is discussed in depth in Episode 11 of The Playing At Business podcast. To listen, just click here: