Doc McStuffins, a widely popular Disney cartoon character whose merchandise has garnered about $500 million in sales last year, is on course to set a record as the best-selling toy line based on an African-American character. The eponymous cartoon centers on an African-American girl who fixes broken toys in her backyard playhouse clinic.
Industry experts attribute the toy line’s great commercial success to the country’s changing consumer demographics — namely, the swiftly growing population of children from nonwhite backgrounds — and the show’s crossover appeal.
“The kids who are of color see her as an African-American girl, and that’s really big for them,” Chris Nee, the creator of Doc McStuffins, told the New York Times. “And I think a lot of other kids don’t see her color, and that’s wonderful as well.”
It was Nancy Kanter, the general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, who had reportedly suggested that the character be African-American. “If you look at the numbers on the toy sales, it’s pretty obvious that this isn’t just African-American families buying these toys,” Kanter told the New York Times. “It’s the broadest demographics possible.”
According to the recent census data, last year about half of all infants in the United States were minorities. By 2018, minority children under 18 are predicted to outnumber non-Hispanic whites within the same age range.
“Right now there are more multicultural children being born under the age of 5,” said Lisa Williams, chief executive of World of EPI, the company behind Positively Perfect Dolls, a line of multicultural dolls sold at Walmart stores nationwide. “They are no longer the minority; they are actually the majority of children. The demand is there.”
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(Photo: Doc McStuffins)