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Every Country’s Favorite Toys in 2023, Mapped

popular toys for Christmas
G.John Cole
Written by
G.John Cole
Written by
G.John Cole
John is one of our senior writers here at TheToyZone. He is a filmmaker and author, and dad to one tiny (but super cute!) villain – so, all in all, he spends much of his time in a world of make-believe.
James Booth
Edited by
James Booth
Edited by
James Booth
Managing Editor
James loved anything Star Wars related as a kid! These days he uses the force to make sure TheToyZone is consistently publishing articles our readers will trust and find real value in. On his off days, you'll find him in the woods searching for Ewoks.
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TheToyZone is an independent publication with no ties with companies mentioned on the site. We don’t accept free products in exchange for glowing reviews. Instead, we report our own findings to help you make an informed decision.

This Christmas, no one rests until that doll is out of the box.

Whether it’s the Barbie your little one has in mind, or the more STEM-oriented Oppenheimer doll*, the wish lists of kids around the world are shaped by the culture around them.

And yes, that means Barbie is set to be a best-seller this winter — the doll and its spin-off merch have already rescued Mattel from a disappointing year.

It also means STEAM-based toys will make an impact. This year, with AI changing the career outlook of young people, two-thirds of parents are thinking about how the toys they buy help build a skill set, whether STEAM-related or “even skills like cooking, sewing, baking, and cleaning,” according to the Toy Association. The association also notes that “shoppers will be on the lookout for toys that offer deep play value while supporting companies that are enacting positive change in the world.”

Of course, that world looks very different depending on where you live. So, following our 2022 and 2021 guides to the toys that each country is searching for the most, we are ready to launch our 2023 report highlighting the most sought-after toys around the globe this Christmas.

*Not real. Sadly. Maybe we should create it?

What We Did

The data team at TheToyZone first curated an extensive list of toys from authoritative sources. We then found the average monthly searches on Google for each toy in each country across different languages. Toys were deemed the most uniquely popular in a given country by calculating how much more popular the toy is locally than globally.


  • Ludo is the most popular classic toy in the world, the favorite in 20 countries.
  • Barbie dolls and Yoyos are tied for second most popular, topping 16 countries.
  • When it comes to the U.S., Catwoman Toys are the most popular superhero toys.
  • Stickle Bricks are the most popular building blocks in the UK.
  • Sailor Moon Toys are the most popular TV toys in Canada.

Ludo is the Most Loved Toy in 20 Countries

The most popular classic toy in the highest number of countries is an unlikely movie star. No, it’s not Barbie, but the ancient game of Ludo. Invented as “Pachisi” in sixth-century India and reinvented as Ludo in Victorian England, the game is produced under different names around the world. But it is most famously known as Ludo, which toy shoppers in 20 countries Google for more than any other toy.

And yes, the game gave its name and structure to a Hindi crime comedy in 2020 — giving hope to those who can’t see how Mattel can possibly make a movie out of Uno. During the lockdown, the board game and spin-off Ludo King app enjoyed a renaissance as a “therapeutic” distraction.

01 Most Popular Toys in 2023 World Map

Click here to open the world map in full size

Barbie does get a look-in, though. She’s tied with the yo-yo as the most searched toy in 16 countries, mainly in Africa and Latin America. Mattel’s global doll sales (including Monster High, Disney Princess and Disney Frozen) rose 27% in the three months following the release of Greta Gerwig’s movie in July.

North America: Catwoman is America’s Favorite Toy

The most uniquely popular toy in the U.S. right now is the Catwoman line. Following her part in The Batman movie in 2022 and a new chapter in the Gotham War comic series, the character is enjoying a resurgence. A new Catwoman figure from McFarlane Toys, which specializes in detailed reproductions based on original comic book artwork, has particularly turned heads in 2023.

02 Most Popular Toys in North America 2023

The U.S. is the only country in the world that’s quite so enthusiastic about Catwoman toys. Elsewhere in North America, the yo-yo and board game Pictionary are each the favorite toys in three countries. While Pictionary is a Mattel property, it won’t get the big-screen treatment any time soon. However, a TV game show of the 38-year-old drawing game has revived interest.

South America: Barbie is Top in Four Countries

L.O.L. Surprise took the world by storm on its release, quickly becoming America’s best-selling toy and winning Doll of the Year in 2020. The “unboxing” toy went global and is the most searched toy in countries as diverse as the Czech Republic, Lebanon and Malaysia. It is also number one in Venezuela, taking over from 2022’s champ, Barbie.

03 Most Popular Toys in South America 2023

However, Barbie takes the continent. She is the favorite toy in Bolivia, Guyana, Paraguay and Suriname. Curiously, these are countries that don’t have their own Dolls of the World Barbie, unlike Chile, Peru and Argentina. However, Bolivian creatives have taken matters into their own hands, modding a similar doll into an unofficial “Cholita Barbie.”

Europe: Construction Toys Dominate the Continent

Last year, we found that Europe was in a construction kinda mood, with toys such as Lego, Duplo and K’NEX topping shopping lists in multiple countries. That’s still the case this year.

Stickle Bricks are the favorite toy in both the UK and Ireland for the second year in a row. They were invented by an Englishman called Denys Fisher in 1969. Fisher also created the Spirograph, and his engineering company produced parts for NATO shells — making this the closest to an Oppenheimer-designed toy you’ll get this Christmas.

04 Most Popular Toys in Europe 2023

A new contender joins our list in the Baltic countries of Finland and Estonia. Blokus (pronounced “Block us”) is a Tetris-like multiplayer board game. Players use colored pieces to occupy as much of the board as possible. The game has won multiple awards in Finland and neighboring Norway, suggesting an affinity for the Blokus across the region.

Middle East & Central Asia: The Yo-yo Remains Most Popular

Shapeshifting boy hero Ben 10 is the favorite toy of Saudi Arabia and nowhere else. The Saudi-flavored milk brand Rainbow won the Guinness World Record for the “Largest gathering of people dressed as Ben 10” in 2016 when 475 pre-teens donned his signature green and black outfit for a healthy eating event.

The cartoon is on hiatus right now, but the toys remain sought-after, perhaps as kids raised on PJ Masks — last year’s top choice in Saudi — move up a grade towards Ben 10’s age range.

05 Most Popular Toys in the Middle East and Asia 2023

The yo-yo is the most popular toy in three countries in this region: Bahrain, Oman and Turkey. This ancient toy may have been invented in neighboring Greece or perhaps China. Either way, it entered contemporary Western life via the Philippines, arriving in the U.S. with Filipino migrant Pedro Flores — who soon realized that the U.S. market was ready for such a “novelty.” “We’ve all done the yo-yo before,” noted one American, “but we never had a name for it.”

Rest of Asia & Oceania: Australians Shopping for Simpsons Toys

Boggle didn’t make it to our maps over the past two years, but in 2023, New Zealanders are searching for it more than any other toy.

In Australia, Simpsons toys are top of the list, taking over from another TV show — Octonauts — last year. The Simpsons switched TV channels from Foxtel to Disney+ at the start of the year, potentially reaching a far greater audience and rejuvenating fandom for the show.

06 Most Popular Toys in Oceania 2023

Unlike many countries in East Asia who prefer traditional board games like Ludo, Japan keeps an eye on the latest technology with Valve’s Steamdeck being the most searched for toy in the country.

The island nations of Taiwan and Singapore both favor the Japanese construction toy, Nanoblock, a smaller-bricked Lego alternative starting at a later age range (12+) than the Danish original.

Africa: Ludo is Top in 15 Countries

Ludo is the undisputed champ in Africa, as the favorite toy of 15 countries from Benin to Uganda. Despite discrepancies between the rules followed by players from different African countries, the continent has united to create the Africa Ludo Federation to capitalize on the game’s local popularity and develop educational opportunities through the game.

07 Most Popular Toys in Africa 2023

Despite the movie-version of Barbie being banned in Algeria, the world-famous doll was the most searched for toy in the country, as well as six others in the continent. This makes Barbies the second most searched for toy in Africa.

Consoles: The Nintendo Switch is What Most Countries are Searching For

51 out of the 151 countries we found data for have the Nintendo Switch as their most searched for console. Proving that processing power and the highest specifications don’t equal success, the Nintendo Switch tops search-lists from Albania to Venezuela. Its popularity is unsurprising considering the Switch is the third most-sold console of all time (behind the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS) with 132.46 million units sold.

08 Most Popular Gaming Consoles 2023

Click to see the map in full size

Top in 38 countries is the Xbox Series S. The stripped-down version of the more powerful Xbox Series X (most searched for in 11 countries); the Series S is the more affordable of Microsoft’s consoles at around 52% of the price, but still able to access the majority of the same game library. Possibly the affordability of the Series S is the reason that out of all the latest generation of Xbox consoles sold, the Series S accounts for 74.8% of sales.

Barbie: Doll with Down Syndrome is Global Favorite

In a year that’s seen Barbie escape from Barbie Land to the real world, Brits are further embracing the doll’s neo-realist turn. Shoppers in the UK (and in Romania) are searching for the gritty Barbie Dentist doll more than any other Barbie. The set comes complete with a young patient, a dentist’s cabinet with a spitting sink and a dentist’s chair (pink, of course).

09 Most Popular Barbie Dolls 2023

Click to see this map in full size

But the Barbie Fashionistas Doll With Down Syndrome is the most popular globally. Mattel produced the toy in consultation with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and released it in spring 2023.

“This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them,” said NDSS president Kandi Pickard. “We should never underestimate the power of representation.”

Funko Pop!: Moon Night Battles Naruto For Top Spot

One day, your children will have to explain to their grandchildren the meaning of all their Funko Pops. With around 15,000 available figurines serving a huge variety of fandoms, mantelpieces will be littered with these things long into the future.

In 2023, the news that you can now create a Funko Pop Yourself in the likeness of yourself, your kid or your gran means that potentially infinite variations will soon be loose in the world. New BTS, Star Trek: Lower Decks and Disney Pops will surely be big hits, too.

10 Most Popular Funko Pop 2023

Click to open the image in full size

Of course, the Pop Yourself has become a Christmas list necessity. However, as cute as your kid is, far more people search for Funko Pops of their favorite movie or show characters. This year, that means Marvel’s Moon Night in five countries and Manga ninja Naruto in another five — the most countries for any character.

Meanwhile, Americans are shopping for Princess Leia Funko Pop. A new Leia came out in 2023 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Return of The Jedi.

Lego: Marvel and Mario Are the World’s Favorite Sets

Lego counts “big kids” (adults) as its greatest source of growth. And while the company capitalizes on this by producing adult-oriented bricks, let’s face it: many of the kid’s Lego themes are suited to much, much older “children” too.

For example, Marvel and Mario sets are the most searched in ten countries each, and Star Wars is the top theme in the U.S. — nearly a quarter-century after the first Lego Star Wars came out.

11 Most Popular Lego Sets 2023

Click to see the world map in full size

Popular, too, are Lego Flowers. These are the most searched sets in seven countries, all in Europe.

“The only thing worse than killing a plant? The melancholia that comes with tossing out a withered bunch of grocery store flowers that probably never knew the pleasures of pollination,” wrote one New York Times columnist earlier this year. “I beat that hyper-specific case of the sads with the Lego Flower Bouquet, a 15-stem collection that will never wilt.”

Of course, Lego flowers make for great kids’ room décor, too.

Monopoly: Classic Edition Shakes Off Competition from Ted Lasso

Monopoly makers Hasbro began releasing their game in different “flavors” after acquiring the rights to the game in 1991. By 1998, Hasbro had created 65 different Monopoly editions “representing 35 cities and states, 12 colleges and a string of hobbies.”

But perhaps the first and most truly special edition was one that manufacturer Waddingtons created to give to Allied soldiers in German prison camps, a special edition that included playing pieces such as “a metal file, a magnetic compass, and of course, a regional silk escape map, complete with marked safe-houses along the way.”

12 Most Popular Monopoly Games 2023

Click here to open the image in full size

Today, nobody’s sure how many Monopoly editions exist — although it’s certainly in its thousands, especially if you include unofficial ones. We do know that the Classic (“vanilla”) version is most popular in six countries, including the UK and New Zealand, which is more than any others.

In 2023, new editions include a Ted Lasso Monopoly and a Super Mario Bros. Movie Edition. However, the U.S. remains loyal to the “classic” Animal Crossing Edition that came out in 2021.

The Toy of the Movie of the Toy

As the ever-expanding Star Wars universe (and the ever-expanding Star Wars toy-verse) has taught us, when an idea is truly loved, it can be repackaged and sold again and again, bringing joy to fans everywhere. And toy manufacturers can keep inventing new flavors of the same toy or, even better, match it with an existing pop culture phenomenon to get a bigger hit.

At this point, toy culture is close to eating its own tail: on top of the many movies that Mattel has in mind, there is a Funko Pop movie in pre-production, a movie based on a toy based on existing movies. With “rumors that characters ranging from Darth Vader to Deadpool, Harley Quinn to Hellboy, and even the ponies from My Little Pony” could appear, it’s an excellent opportunity for Funko to create Pops that are inspired by themselves. And will we buy these cursed and recursive toys? Of course, we will. Toys are great.


We first collected a list of toys and specific toy models from categories outlined by the Toy Association and Wikipedia, then cross-referenced them with popular toy round-ups from authoritative sources. Using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, we then found the average monthly number of Google searches over a 12-month period made for each toy in each country.

Toys were deemed the most uniquely popular in a given country using a method similar to location quotient (a measure of how much more popular the toy is locally than globally). When a toy’s share of search volume in a country has the highest difference in search volume vs the same toy’s share of search volume globally, then that toy ranks as a country’s most uniquely popular.

For each map that ranks categories of toys, such as Barbie, LEGO and Monopoly, we assign keywords such as “doll,” “board” and “set,” to differentiate search results from associated media such as the Barbie Movie. We then manually checked each model name in each country’s Google Search engine to remove irrelevant results referring to store searches or other search queries not related to a toy model.  

The analysis of this data is correct as of November 2023.


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