Disney’s top-selling merchandise line in Asia is this under-the-radar fluffy bear

Disney’s Duffy and Friends line is massively popular in Asia.

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Duffy and Friends is Disney’s top-selling franchise in Asia, having generated $500 million in revenue this year.
Duffy, a fluffy bear, was introduced in 2002 with a back story linked to Mickey and Minnie.
Duffy’s pink fox friend, LinaBell, is also massively popular in China.

Disney character Duffy bear and his friends may not be the most high-profile characters in the US, but they are hot merchandise magnetic in Asia. 

Duffy and Friends is the highest-selling franchise at Disney’s parks in Asia, chalking up $500 million in total sales, the entertainment giant revealed in an investor presentation on Tuesday. A Disney spokesperson told Insider that the revenues were for this year.

The revenues include sales from Shanghai Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland, and the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan. 

Last month, Disney posted $22.33 billion in revenue for its fiscal third quarter ending July 1. While this represents a 4% rise from the same period a year ago, the company missed analysts’ expectations of $22.5 billion in revenue, per Refinitiv.  

Disney’s third-quarter revenue for its global parks, experiences, and products segment — which includes revenues from merchandise sales — rose 13% to $8.3 billion from a year ago.

Disney did not break out its revenue for the parks, experiences, and products segment by country, but the filing showed that international operations contributed about one-fifth, or 18%, of the segment’s revenues.

Consumer products — which includes merchandise sales — contributed another 14% to the parks, experiences, and products segment’s revenues.

Duffy was introduced in 2002 for the opening of the “Once Upon a Toy” store at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. 

The back story for the fluffy bear involves Minnie Mouse hand-sewing the stuffed bear to accompany Mickey on a long sea voyage from Cape Cod.

Now, Duffy himself has several companions to keep him company. They include Gelatoni, an “artistic cat friend,” and ‘Olu Mel, a “musical turtle,” according to Disney’s website.

Disney didn’t specify which character in the Duffy and Friends franchise is the most popular in Asia, but LinaBell, a plush pink fox character under the range, quickly became a massive hit in China when she debuted in September 2021. 

LinaBell was so popular that scalpers were reselling a set of three plushies for as much as 10,000 Chinese yuan, or $1,570, in December 2021 when items in the theme park’s permanent range were selling between 100 to 300 Chinese yuan.

Disney’s official store on Alibaba’s Tmall doesn’t appear to be carrying Duffy and Friends items now, but another toy shop on JD.com‘s marketplace is selling a 16-inch LinaBell plushie at 349 Chinese yuan.

LinaBell appears to be still popular in China, according to a scan of Chinese social media sites by Insider. Shanghai police even busted a criminal gang selling counterfeit LinaBell plushies in August last year, according to the Shanghai Daily media outlet.

Both Duffy and LinaBell can be seen in a Disney video from September 2021, which shows the fluffy bear meeting his new fox friend.

 

 

It’s unclear how well the Duffy and Friends franchise is selling in the US, where some of Disney’s most popular franchises include Disney Princess and Spider-Man.

In Asia, there’s now a Duffy and Friends show and dinner at Tokyo Disneyland that starts from 2,100 Japanese yen or $14.20 for kids, and a LinaBell-themed restaurant in the Shanghai resort where adults can expect to pay an average of 51 Chinese yuan to 100 Chinese yuan, or $7 to $13.70 for entrees, according to the website. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

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