Barbie loses her standing as top girls' toy

Barbie has ruled girls' holiday wish lists for years, but when it comes to retaining her crown this year, she has no choice but to, as the song says, let it go.

The iconic doll has already had a tough holiday season, with Mattel (MAT) apologizing last week for her portrayal in a 2010 book as an incompetent computer engineer who needs boys to fix her problems. She's also had to watch as a rival doll nicknamed "regular Barbie" received gushing reviews from children and parents alike.

Now comes the final insult: For the first time in the history of an influential toy survey, Barbie is no longer the No. 1 pick for girls. That honor goes to merchandise related to "Frozen," the 2013 animated Disney (DIS) flick about two sisters that became an unrivaled blockbuster.

Frozen is the most successful animated film ever, with nearly $1.3 billion in box office ticket sales. Disney has created a touring ice-skating show based on the movie, and the company reportedly expects to sell more than a million tickets for the show by the end of the year.

"Barbie has been the top girls' toy for over a decade, but it is no surprise that Disney's Frozen has taken the top seat as children have had it on the mind as far back as Halloween," said Pam Goodfellow, a director at Prosper Insights & Analytics, which helped conduct the survey along with the National Retail Federation.

About 20 percent of people surveyed said that Frozen toys were the hot gift they planned to buy for girls this holiday. Barbie came in second, with nearly 17 percent of shoppers' interest. Dolls rounded out the top five on the list, including the Monster High and American Girl lines.

Lego cleaned up when it came to hot toys for boys, with more than 14 percent of people saying the buildable blocks were this year's hot gift. About 8 percent were eyeing cars and trucks, followed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles merchandise, video games and Hot Wheels toys.

The lists for boys' and girls' toys did have some overlap. About 3 percent of respondents said they would also buy Legos for girls. And about 2 percent to 3 percent of shoppers for both boys and girls named an Apple iPad or similar tablet as the year's hot toy.

  • Kim Peterson

    Kim Peterson is a financial journalist covering business and the economy. She has written for several online and print publications, including MSN Money and The Seattle Times.