The Economics of Disney’s Frozen

Frozen fever” largely passed over my house.  As the father of two young boys, I’m a lot more likely to have Teenage Mutuant Ninja Turtles playing on my living room TV. Still, even my rowdy boys have watched Frozen a few times, and I’ve caught my wife singing Let It Go more than once.  Frozen is the highest-grossing animated movie in history–bringing in more than $1.2 billion–and it is selling more merchandise than ever.


Research firm Panjiva had some interesting statistics to share on the Frozen phenomenon:

As you may have seen earlier this week, Disney (DIS) released that they have sold over 3 million Frozen costumes this year, and the latest data from Panjiva shows that fans aren’t ready to “let it go.”

According to an analysis of shipments from July to October (the time when retailers stock their shelves for the holidays), the Disney blockbuster is freezing over retail shelves this holiday shopping season, with shipments being up more than 570 percent in 2014 compared to last year during the same time period:

  • Frozen is taking over retail shelves: From July to October, there was a total of 1,508 shipments of Frozen products, up more than 570 percent from last year (Almost doubling the total number of shipments for 2013 Disney favorites, Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins, combined)
  • Elsa v. Anna: Queen Elsa has proven she is the true ruler of Arendelle, beating out her sister Anna by 46 percent in number of merchandise shipments
  • The major characters support demand: While Elsa might be dominating merchandise shipments, the other major characters aren’t doing to shabby in terms of demand. Elsa, Anna and Olaf all saw more than 1,000 percent increase in shipments in 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013.

Now, you should consider the time periods involved here.  No one was buying Frozen merchandise this time last year because the movie hadn’t come out yet.  All the same, it’s interesting that enthusiasm for the merchandise appears to be stronger than ever even though the movie hasn’t been in theaters for months.  Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that half the elementary-school-aged girls trick-or-treating in my neighborhood were dressed as Elsa…and a fair number as Anna.

Bottom line: Don’t be surprised if Disney enjoys a blowout quarter.


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