Ranking & Evaluating The Season’s Hottest Toys

By November 21, 2014 Commentary No Comments

According to a Networked Insights analysis of social conversations, the Frozen Elsa doll is the top holiday toy for 2014. Honorable mentions go to:

  • Monster High Dolls
  • Lego Minecraft
  • FurReal
  • Skylander

To arrive at this conclusion, Networked Insights used thematic discovery to cluster the conversations around toys in anticipation of Black Friday. A few themes popped out from this analysis regarding the general conversation around these popular toys. These themes included movie/entertainment references, creativity/building things, technology (apps, smart watches), and video games, as described below.

Digging deeper into the actual toys being talked about, we found that roughly 30 toys resonated with consumers. We then took a closer look at not only the volume of the conversations, but the acceleration and the emotions around these conversations. With this information in our hands, we scored all thirty toys to conclude that the hottest toy for the 2014 holiday season is the Frozen Elsa doll.

Top reasons for Elsa’s popularity:

  • ​The doll accounted for the largest number of toy-related conversations in the past month by volume, close to 10,000 posts
  • 43 percent of posts about the doll expressed amusement – much higher than other emotions
  • Frozen’s appeal extends beyond young girls
    • (example Tweet) – “Well, I’m a teen girl, but I think that my ‘want list’ is probably a bit weird. ~season passes to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Kings Dominion~the Anna & Elsa ice skating doll set”
  • Elsa is seen as not just a toy but also a good role model promoting qualities of independence and sisterhood
    • (example Tweet) – “I flipping love Elsa! She is gorgeous and an independent young women! I personally love that!!! Go Elsa!!!!!!”
  • Elsa was one of the most popular Halloween costumes
  • Consumers complained that the doll was out of stock, further driving demand
    • (example Tweet) – Trying to buy Grace a frozen doll & it is out of stock everywhere!

What Do Popular Toys Have in Common?

Every November, there is substantial social conversation about Black Friday as consumers anticipate shopping and the kickoff of the holiday retail season. We took a deep-dive into conversations about toys to begin to anticipate which toys will be hot this year.

Applying a lens against the most popular (most talked about) toys this season, themes have emerged surrounding common traits of each of the most popular toys to understand what makes these hot toys “hot.”

Incorporating technology normally seen in adult products

  • Vtech Kidizoom Smart Watch
  • My Friend Cayla
  • Skylander’s Trap Team Starter Pack

Creative toys

  • Action figures
  • Fashion designer maker

Movie tie-ins

  • Frozen Elsa doll
  • Transformers Stomp & Chomp Grimlock
  • Superhero Legos

Toys that Involve Building

  • Legos
  • Goldieblox
  • Rubber bracelets

Video games

  • Minecraft Figures
  • Leapfrog


By identifying these common themes and traits, brands and retailers alike can track the rise and fall of trends and predict the success of a given toy or category.


We analyzed 63,386 posts about Black Friday and toys from long-form sources over the different time periods listed below using our semantic analysis tool, Doppler 2.0.

  • Black Friday 2014 Doppler: 12,382 posts analyzed, dates: 9/1/14-11/6/14
  • Black Friday 2013 Doppler: 11,592 posts analyzed, dates: 9/1/13-11/6/13
  • Toy Doppler 2014 Doppler: 39,412 posts analyzed, dates: 10/5/14-11/5/14​