Along with other popular Sanrio characters like the Little Twin Stars, My Melody and Tuxedo Sam, Hello Kitty was a popular character to pre-teen girls in the early 80s. Many girls had pencil boxes, stationary, diaries, erasers and more printed with the adorable characters. Then, in the mid-nineties Hello Kitty had a resurgence in sales and was marketed to both young girls and girls in their twenties and older teens. For older girls, it was a throwback to their youth. Famous women like Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and Lisa Loeb also showed their adoration for the cute kitty which further fueled Hello Kitty’s popularity.
Amazingly Hello Kitty has maintained her dominance over more than 450 characters created by Sanrio. She accounts for half of Sanrio’s $1 billion in revenues. Hello Kitty adorns 50,000 products in over 60 countries. Thanks to many licensing deals, she can be found on kitchen appliances, car accessories, diamond jewelry and more! There are also several videos including a 3D animation released last year called The Adventures of Hello Kitty & Friends.
Hello Kitty is also a star attraction at Sanrio’s indoor theme park Puroland which currently welcomes about 1.5 million visitors a year and outdoor theme park Harmonyland.
Today, Hello Kitty remains one of Japan’s most popular brands. Outside of Japan, her sales rose 3.2% last year. Each year, hundreds of new products are introduced and hundreds are taken away to keep fans excited about more kawaii (cute) items to add to their collection.