Is it possible that boys will at some point demand Littlest Pet Shop sets and girls will ask their parents for K'nex?
Highly unlikely, despite the fact that boys and girls have increasing similarities. The biggest gap is in traditional toys and which genders play with them, and toy makers around the world seem to be woefully behind the curve when it comes to developing traditional toys that appeal to both genders. A new study by agency the Marketing Store Worldwide called "The New Definition of Childhood" global kids study -- which surveyed more the 4,000 kids with internet access ages six to 12 in 12 countries, including, Canada, U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China, Australia -- suggests that while the gender gap is closing in several areas for kids, the chasm is still wide for toys.
The study found that boys and girls generally do the same things -- for instance, their usage of electronics is very similar. Both genders embrace technology the same amount, but boys tend to be more into gaming, while music appeals more to girls. The study noted, though, that the gaming gap for kids is closing, as video game developers -- such as the Nintendo Wii -- offer more girl-friendly titles. Boys and girls are also similar in their activities. Roughly the same amount of boys and girls engage in activities such as gardening, camping, cooking and other outdoor activities.
But the disparity in the types of traditional toys kids play with is vast. Girls are still by far more likely to have dolls and stuffed animals; roughly 55% of girls surveyed said dolls were in their top three favorite toys, whereas some 2% of boys said the same thing. Boys are still more likely to have construction toys, as close to 40% of boys surveyed said building and construction toys were among their favorites, where just over 10% of girls said the same. "These gaps are enormous," said Renee Weber, VP-consumer strategy and research at the Marketing Store Worldwide.
These differences in traditional toys are also very consistent around the world, Ms. Weber said, adding that Mexico had some of the biggest gaps in almost every toy line. "For whatever reason, [Mexico] was more gendered."