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Idea Probe - Doll houses - Is this market right for you?

A guide for market opportunities for doll houses and their accessories

Market segment:

Doll houses have been around for several centuries and most people who have enjoyed growing up with them have fond memories of the many hours they spent with their imaginary families. Today, not only are parents still shopping for doll houses for their children, but there are also adults who collect them as a hobby.

Doll houses can be anything from a simple 1 storey structure with a couple of rooms, to more elaborate multi-floor structures costing thousands of dollars with windows, working doors and even lighting.

As a wood craft, building doll houses has its challenges from having to work with miniatures to detailing them sufficiently to be somewhat realistic. This amount of detailing can get quite laborious and would have to be reflected in your price strategy. Another hurdle to consider is if you decide to sell these online. Because of their size, shipping becomes an issue often requiring that the doll houses be shipped as kits for assembly by the buyer. This, in itself, means that the construction design must accommodate disassembly and simple reassembly while maintaining the integrity of the piece.

Regardless of these hurdles, the popularity of doll houses and the potential for 'micro-niches' makes wooden doll houses worthy of further analysis.

Analysis:

  • The idea here is that by knowing what people are searching for (keyword) on the internet, this gives us a glimpse into their potential purchase intention. By using various keyword analysis tools, not only do we get statistics about the specific keyword people have entered, but we also get a wealth of information with respect to other related search terms for that target keyword. This gives us an invaluable look into a market and the demand for a product and it's sought after features.
  • Source: Google keyword database (English, Worldwide), Etsy, Amazon (USA)
  • The analysis provided below is based on actual keywords that people have entered into a search.

Initial keyword used:

  • The seed keyword used for this analysis was: wooden dollhouse.
  • The analysis was performed on: February 28, 2017
  • Trend: Searches for this product category are significantly higher in the months of November and December (typical x-mas shopping season)
  • The Google keyword analysis accepts a keyword from which it provides a breakdown of similar searches as entered by Google search users

Let's start by looking at the actual top 30 Google keywords searched and their monthly search volumes:

 

Keyword Search Volume
dollhouse 164455
doll house 110245
barbie doll house 49500
dollhouse furniture 14800
dolls house furniture 12117
wooden dolls house 12085
dollhouse kits 8100
dollhouse miniatures 5400
doll houses for sale 4400
barbie dollhouse 3600
mini dolls 3600
big doll house 2933
wooden dollhouse 2900
melissa and doug dollhouse 2900
miniature furniture 2400
miniature house 2332
miniature dollhouse 2322
dollhouse accessories 2296
victorian dollhouse 2296
dollhouse dolls 2021
dollhouse for 18 inch dolls 2021
cheap doll houses 1984
wooden dollhouse furniture 1950
dollhouse furniture sets 1950
princess doll house 1950
wooden dolls house furniture 1900
american doll house 1900
doll house plans 1900
barbie doll house furniture 1642
baby doll house 1625
Monthly searches for above keywords: 429524
Top 200 keyword monthly searches: 503493

 

Here are the top 10 web sites for the top keyword searched:

According to "Search Engine Watch", the likely traffic to the Google top ranking site is about 33% of the total monthly searches for a specific keyword. This means that Google users will typically select the first Google search result 33% of the time.  This is therefore where a large number of potential customers will start during their initial product shopping.

Top 10 web sites:

1 http://www.toysrus.com/products/wooden-dollhouses.jsp
2 https://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Multi-Level-Dollhouse-Furniture/dp/B000VO3GQU
3 https://www.etsy.com/market/wooden_dollhouse
4 http://www.melissaanddoug.com/our-toys/dolls-and-dollhouses/
5 https://www.wayfair.com/Dollhouses-and-Accessories-C232248.html
6 https://www.bellalunatoys.com/collections/wooden-dollhouses
7 https://www.pinterest.com/explore/wooden-dollhouse/
8 https://www.walmart.com/ip/Children-s-Wooden-Dollhouse/40634611
9 https://www.walmart.com/ip/Wooden-Doll-House/52730829

 

Sample page of the highest ranking web site for our seed keyword:

Since this is the highest ranking web site for our seed keyword, looking at the products they offer will give you a good idea about what is currently offered commercially.

* click the image to visit the page:

screencapture toysrus products wooden dollhouses jsp 1488373655979

 

Micro-niche opportunities:

What you should keep in mind

  • Realistically, it will not be easy to compete against the top ranking web sites if you plan to open your own internet store to sell this particular product. These top sites are recognized by the major search engines as being leaders in their field and a climb to the top of the ranks can be quite difficult and expensive.
  • A visit to these top sites can provide you with a wealth of information regarding product price ranges, product features and customer ratings and feedback. Having access to this information is critical in understanding the market and determining if there is a niche that is right for you. Read our article on "Product Planning - Gathering Product Intelligence" for additional information on collecting competitor information.
  • If, on the other hand, you want to sell your products in other venues such as at craft shows or craft websites (such as Etsy), you have an incredible opportunity to dominate these spaces if your product focuses on features that people are seeking in and outside of those particular venues. Here, not only can you tap into the product knowledge you've acquired online and in our article, but you can also carve out a micro-niche of products for people searching for unique features. 
  • Make sure that if you ever decide to build and sell a particular product with some of the features shown below, that your marketing and sales descriptions include the target words.  This will ensure that prospective online buyers in those venues will find your products more easily.

Let's dig in!

Analyzing the individual words used in popular keyword searches:

Of the top 200 most popular Google keyword search phrases found for our seed keyword, we then performed a word analysis of these to determine the frequency and therefore the potential importance of the various words used in each keyword phrase. This is what we found:

  • Rank: Popularity of a word or "search term" used with our seed keyword
  • Word: Word used (Search term)
  • Entries: Number of keyword phrases that included that word
  • % Use: Percent of the top 200 keyword phrases that included that word
Rank Word Entries % Use   Rank Word Entries % Use
1 dollhouse 95 47.5%   38 custom 2 1.0%
2 house 80 40.0%   39 giant 2 1.0%
3 dolls 58 29.0%   40 mini 2 1.0%
4 doll 44 22.0%   41 shop 2 1.0%
5 wooden 40 20.0%   42 pink 2 1.0%
6 furniture 39 19.5%   43 girl 2 1.0%
7 sale 17 8.5%   44 play 2 1.0%
8 miniature 16 8.0%   45 big 2 1.0%
9 houses 14 7.0%   46 furnishings 1 0.5%
10 barbie 11 5.5%   47 unfinished 1 0.5%
11 kits 11 5.5%   48 materials 1 0.5%
12 cheap 8 4.0%   49 realistic 1 0.5%
13 large 7 3.5%   50 assembled 1 0.5%
14 accessories 6 3.0%   51 bathroom 1 0.5%
15 dollhouses 5 2.5%   52 building 1 0.5%
16 victorian 5 2.5%   53 michaels 1 0.5%
17 melissa 5 2.5%   54 handmade 1 0.5%
18 modern 5 2.5%   55 princess 1 0.5%
19 girls 5 2.5%   56 lighting 1 0.5%
20 doug 5 2.5%   57 bedroom 1 0.5%
21 miniatures 4 2.0%   58 kitchen 1 0.5%
22 supplies 4 2.0%   59 stores 1 0.5%
23 plastic 4 2.0%   60 lights 1 0.5%
24 small 4 2.0%   61 family 1 0.5%
25 inch 4 2.0%   62 cabin 1 0.5%
26 sets 4 2.0%   63 price 1 0.5%
27 kids 4 2.0%   64 plans 1 0.5%
28 toy 4 2.0%   65 toys 1 0.5%
29 buy 4 2.0%   66 baby 1 0.5%
30 18 4 2.0%   67 real 1 0.5%
31 childrens 3 1.5%   68 wood 1 0.5%
32 american 3 1.5%   69 huge 1 0.5%
33 boys 3 1.5%   70 year 1 0.5%
34 toddlers 2 1.0%   71 log 1 0.5%
35 figures 2 1.0%   72 bed 1 0.5%
36 toddler 2 1.0%   73 set 1 0.5%
37 people 2 1.0%   74 12 1 0.5%

What's next?

Well, based on the total number of monthly searches for "wooden dollhouse", we see that there is significant interest in that product.  The micro-niche opportunities abound for products with some of the features identified above. (This is not to say that some of these features don't already exist in the market.)

Here are a couple of examples of how you can use this information to generate ideas for your next project:

  • Victorian- this is telling us that there is likely a demand for specific styles of doll houses. This could be expanded to include castles, lodges, futuristic design, outer space dwellings, etc
  • furniture and accessories - for the above
  • custom - this can be quite interesting by offering a service where the doll house design is based on photographs of a real house. Depending on the level of detail reproduced, the price for such products could be at the top end of the range. Not much competition here.
  • boys - traditionally, doll houses were targeted specifically to young girls. Although existing products can be enjoyed by both sexes, a line of doll houses focussed more on modern unisex activities including game rooms, garages, workshops, gyms, etc would likely be a welcomed update to this old product line. Of course, all the furniture and accessories that would go with those specific room types would also be an opportunity.

Do not ignore features that might have a low number of entries from the table above.  These could possibly be gold nuggets to make your products unique and desirable.  We are also not suggesting that your product design includes all the features. Not everybody wants a Swiss army knife. It is best that you consider designing variations of the product and sit back to see what sells the best.  Market testing can go a long way in identifying your particular and successful niche.

So, take your time and review the word analysis above and determine if you can include or focus on some of the ideas presented.

Now, let's take a look at some online craft venues to see what popular product searches are:

If we take a look at the most popular unfiltered "doll house" search phrases on Etsy, we get the folling results: 

Keyword Rank
doll house accessories 1
doll house dolls 1
doll house furniture 1
doll house kit 1
doll house miniatures 1
doll house wallpaper 1
doll house food 2
doll house kitchen 2
doll house family 3
doll house for 18 inch dolls 4

And lastly, the top ranking search phrases on Amazon (USA) for "doll house" are:

Keyword Rank   Keyword Rank
doll house 18 inch doll 1   doll house ebook 2
doll house 2 year old 1   doll house family set 2
doll house 3 floor 1   doll house items 2
doll house 4 year old 1   doll house kitchen accessories set 2
doll house 5 year old 1   doll house living room furniture 2
doll house 6 years old 1   doll house nursery furniture 2
doll house 7 year old 1   doll house open and close 2
doll house accessories set 1   doll house quilt pattern 2
doll house book 1   doll house under 50 2
doll house dolls family 1   doll house you and me 2
doll house electric 1   dollhouse accessories 2
doll house furniture 1 12 1   dollhouse grandfather clock 2
doll house glue 1   dollhouse hinges 2
doll house ibsen 1   dollhouse jeans 2
doll house john hunt 1   dollhouse miniatures 2
doll house kits to build 1   dollhouse people 2
doll house light 1   dollhouse rugs 2
doll house melissa doug 1   dollhouse shingles 2
doll house outdoor furniture 1   dollhouse table 2
doll house plants 1   dollhouse victorian 2
doll house quilts 1   dollhouse wood 2
doll house roof shingles 1   frozen doll house castle 2
doll house spinning wheel 1   barbie doll house accessories set 3
doll house toys 1   doll house 1 12 scale 3
doll house vacuum 1   doll house 2 sided 3
doll house xmas decorations 1   doll house 3d puzzle 3
doll house you and me happy family 1   doll house bathroom furniture 3
doll house zen 1   doll house door knobs 3
dollhouse couch 1   doll house furniture kit 3
dollhouse hape 1   doll house grass 3
dollhouse nursery 1   doll house high chair 3
dollhouse uptown 1   doll house imaginarium 3
dollhouse wooden 1   doll house kidkraft 3
doll house 1 12 2   doll house loft bed 3
doll house 2 yr old 2   doll house miniature books 3
doll house 3 year old girl 2   doll house nails 3
doll house 4 feet 2   doll house oven 3
doll house 6 feet 2   doll house parts 3
doll house book shelf 2   doll house quiet book 3
doll house door hinges 2   doll house under 20 dollars 3

Conclusion:

The Dollhouse market seems to offer a wide range of opportunities.  By using our Google analysis and the popular searches on Etsy and Amazon, you now have a much better idea of the possibilities to design, build and sell items that are sure to please many customers.  What you decide to do is entirely in your control.

Enjoy these opportunities!

Additional information:

In our article "Product Planning - Gathering Product Intelligence", find out how you can gain more competitive information about this niche and how you can potentially differentiate your craft from what is on the market today. Our accompanying article "Pricing - The Human Psyche", find out how you can position your product in the market and price it accordingly.

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