The Entertainer has taken a trip down Memory Lane in celebration of its 40th anniversary, and has revealed its all-time best-selling toys. The UK’s fastest-growing, family-owned high street toy retailer found that it had made more sales of perennial favourite LEGO than any other toy in its four-decade history. Looking specifically at games, the high-flying, property-trading, family favourite Monopoly came out on top.
Breaking down sales by decade, The Entertainer uncovered a list of classics, collectibles, cult favourites and playground crazes. For kids in the 80s, Christmas and birthday presents were likely to include Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears and Rubik’s Cubes. Among the list of best-sellers are a handful of toys that have stood the test of time, including Sylvanian Families, My Little Pony, Transformers, and Star Wars Toys – thanks in large part to the release of Episodes 5 and 6 during the decade. Less likely to be recognised by today’s children is the iconic Koosh Ball, the rainbow-coloured rubber pom pom bouncy ball that dominated school playgrounds and appeared in millions of Christmas stockings.
90s kids (and anyone who desperately tried to shop for them) will remember the furore around the release of Buzz Lightyear, after Toy Story became the smash film of 1995. What they may not know, however, is that Buzz was originally named Lunar Larry. Furbys, Power Rangers, Tamagotchis and Teletubbies also dominated the decade, alongside Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thunderbirds Tracy Island and Pogs. WWF Wrestlers were all the rage, and the brand wouldn’t be renamed to WWE until 2002.
After the Millennium, Bob the Builder ruled supreme. Knocking up a number one Christmas single in 2000, Bob’s success stuck around, and he was the hit toy of Christmas 2001. Kylie Minogue released Spinning Around in 2000, and little did she know that Beyblades would spin into the world soon after, becoming one of the most popular toy lines on the planet. Bratz dolls knocked Barbie off her pedestal, while younger children couldn’t get enough of In The Night Garden toys.
In the 2010s, nostalgia kicked in and a Furby reboot saw them return to the top selling toy list. Loom Bands were the craft craze that that took the world by storm, as fanatics turned the small elastic bands into colour-popping bracelets, necklaces, and even dresses and jackets. Disney’s Frozen stepped into the spotlight, and Elsa, Olaf and the rest of the cast became playtime must haves. The messiest, and most mayhem-packed bestseller in The Entertainer’s history splatted onto the scene in 2016, as Pie Face – the game that sees friends and families cover each other pelt each other in the face with whipped cream – took centre stage at thousands of Christmas celebrations. The game was originally released in the 1960s, but a viral video showcasing the game in action gave it a new lease of life.