Why Are American Girl Dolls So Expensive? (10 Reasons)


Dolls in The American Girl Place store, in New York City. American Girl Place is a store that sells American Girl dolls.


American Girl dolls are almost a staple of many young girls’ childhood.

Although they have dropped in popularity, there are a few households that still make it a tradition to get an American Girl doll whenever a new one releases on the market.

Considering that American Girl dolls are just dolls at the end of the day, you may wonder why some people spend so much money on them.


Why Are American Girl Dolls So Expensive? (10 Reasons)

Dolls in The American Girl Place store, in New York City


The average price of an American Girl Doll is around $100.

However, accessories and other features can make the doll cost around $150 to $200.

Certain factors like requiring repair services, customizing your doll, and shopping at an actual American Girl Doll store can increase that price.

Let’s look at those factors in more detail.


1. Repair Services

Father and daughter together repairing toy doll


One of the reasons American Girl Dolls are expensive has to do with when they wear down.

Although they’re made of high-quality materials, it’s only inevitable that something will break.

That’s especially true if your child tends to play rough.

The great thing about American Girl Dolls is that you can always send them back to the store for repair services.

They go to the Doll Hospital where the craftsman will repair parts, put hair back on, or fix the doll in other ways.

The bad thing is that those repair costs can be pretty expensive.

If the doll needs serious repairs, you could be looking at needing the Doll Advanced Care & Repair package which costs $88.

The cheapest service, the Doll Refresh & Renew service, costs $45.

Depending on how much the doll cost in the first place, it could cost you almost half–or more—of what you bought the doll for originally just to get it fixed.

This makes buying an American Girl Doll expensive because you can usually expect your young child to break their doll and for it to need repairs at some point.


2. Integrate Learning And Play

Little fashionable girls are friends of two different nationalities. African American girl showing doll to her friend


Another reason American Girl Dolls are expensive is that they’re more than mere dolls.

They integrate both learning and play.

For example, American Girl Dolls’ history collection features dolls with historical backgrounds.

They aim to teach young children about the history of that time and to inspire the child to learn more.

Other dolls come with other learning tools.

For example, some might come with a kitchen set.

This inspires children to learn how to cook and help out at family dinners.

They might find that they have an enjoyment of cooking and could end up becoming an executive chef.

There are other accessories that can inspire learning and hobbies.

Because the dolls do more than just let children play with them, they cost a bit more.

Parents who want to inspire their children’s imagination will find more value in American Girl Dolls than just standard dolls.


3. Book Series

Young black father and daughter reading book outside


When you buy an American Girl Doll, you’re not just buying a doll.

You’re also buying a book series.

Each American Girl Doll comes with a book.

The book covers their story.

It explains who they are, what they like to do, and their aspirations.

You get the book free when you buy the American Girl Doll.

However, you could say that the price of the books is built into the price of the dolls.

American Girl Doll doesn’t just produce dolls.

They also have an ongoing book series that follows the dolls on their journeys.

Some of the books are purchasable on their own while others come free with the doll.

The cost of writing, illustrating, and producing those books end up added to the price of the doll.

As such, you’re not just buying a doll, you’re also buying all the work that goes into making that book.

Since American Girl Dolls make high-quality dolls, they also put a lot of effort into making high-quality books.

They hire illustrators and put together a creative team to discuss and write each story.

All those costs then get passed onto the customer whenever they buy an American Girl Doll.


4. Experiences At Retail Stores

logo of American Girl in Scottsdale


Not unlike some jewelry stores, American Girl Dolls looks to make each visit to the store a special experience.

Shopping at an American Girl Doll store isn’t just going to the store to look at various dolls.

The store offers several services.

For example, children can experience their own salon experience right alongside their dolls.

Experienced technicians will do their nails and makeup while also giving the doll a similar experience.

It’s a way to create an initial bond between the child and their doll before they even leave the store.

It’s also an experience the child won’t soon forget.

You can also have food served at an American Girl Doll store.

They have selections for children and adults.

Everyone can sit together, including the doll.

Birthday parties are common in the store as well.

If you want your own personal shopping experience, the store will work with you to ensure they meet all your needs.

This sort of experience comes with its costs.

The store has to employ expert salon technicians as well as cooks.

They don’t just sell dolls, they’re also selling an experience.

That’s something that’s relatively priceless.

As a result, American Girl Dolls are expensive to cover the cost of the experience you have in their store.


5. Custom Dolls

Dolls in The American Girl Place store


While American Girl Doll has tons of different dolls for sale, your child may not quite bond with any of them.

The good thing about the brand is that it also offers the ability to make your own, custom, American Girl Doll.

A lot of children will often choose to make a doll that looks exactly like them.

Others might make the doll they’ve always wanted to have.

Regardless, you’re able to choose quite a few different details when it comes to customizing the doll.

You can expect a custom doll to cost more than other dolls.

For one, you might be choosing materials and options that are on the expensive side.

Those different choices all add up in the end.

Secondly, you’re also having your doll custom-made.

It takes a bit more work and time for the company to make a custom doll than one that’s off the assembly line.

Since it takes more time and often more resources, the company has to offset those costs with higher prices.


6. Charity Involvement

Happy volunteers with children sorting donation goods indoors


American Girl also gives back to charity.

Because they’re a successful business, they do their part in giving back.

Some of the charities they donate to include:

  • Children’s Hospital Association
  • Delivering Good
  • Save the Children
  • Harlem School of Arts
  • AAPI Youth Rising
  • United Way
  • Madison Children’s Museum
  • American Girl’s Fund for Children

Because it’s involved with several charities, the company gives away a good portion of its profits, too.

To make good on its charitable donation promises, it has to ensure that it has enough revenue in the first place.

The company needs enough money to pay its employees, invest in itself, and donate to charity.

To cover all those aspects, they put a high price on their dolls.

Many companies are also aware that customers tend to be a bit more willing to pay higher prices if they know that some of their money is going toward charity.

It helps them feel as though they’re doing their part to help change the world.

American Girl Dolls are expensive because the company donates to a lot of charities.


7. Accessories

Dolls in The American Girl Place


There’s no question that your American Girl Doll purchase can become a lot more expensive once you start buying accessories.

Furniture accessories, alone, can cost you anywhere from $100 to over $300 more.

That’s because the furniture accessories are large and detailed.

Their dollhouse, for example, is large enough for the American Girl Dolls to fit in.

They’re not small.

They’re built specifically for the large American Girl Dolls.

That means a lot of work and resources go into making each one.

You can also get your own salon furniture piece.

The salon pack comes with tons of tools and other accessories to help unleash the child’s imagination.

All those tools cost money to make.

The more extensive the furniture set is, the more it’s going to cost.

A lot of the cost comes down to size.

Because the pieces are larger, it means it uses more plastic and other resources to make them.

They’re also usually large enough for young children to almost fit in them as well.

This further deepens the bond between the doll and the child.

American Girl Dolls are expensive because their accessories are expensive.


8. Clothes

toddler girl pretend play feeding baby at home


Along with furniture accessories, you can also expect to pay a good amount of money on clothing for your child’s American Girl Doll.

The clothing also costs a good amount of money.

A large part of its expense comes down to its size.

If you’re buying clothing for the regular-sized American Girl Dolls, you can expect to pay a good amount of money.

That’s because it costs more to make larger outfits.

You can also wash the clothes in a washing machine.

While there are some exceptions, and you shouldn’t wash them that often, you can remove the clothes to put them in the washing machine.

That sort of quality comes at an expense.

If the company didn’t use high-quality materials to make washable clothes, they’d fall apart in the washing machine.

They might also shrink, so they don’t fit the doll anymore.

Luckily, American Girl understands that children can be quite messy.

They might put their food-covered hands on their dolls and get their clothes messy.

The ability to wash their clothes means you don’t have to buy more of the same outfit.

That said, there are tons of outfits available.

They even have outfits for Harry Potter fans.

If your child wants their doll to have every outfit available, you could be looking to spend a lot of money.


9. Washable Hair

African american girl smiling confident holding doll at home


Another unique feature of American Girl Dolls is that they have washable hair.

While the company does suggest not washing their hair often, you can do it.

This is unique when it comes to most dolls.

Other dolls have synthetic hair that can become ruined when you wash them.

American Girl Dolls use real wigs.

Not only does this give them a luxurious set of hair, but it means there’s slightly less risk of damaging the hair.

You can simply put the doll through the salon experience to get rid of any messes clinging to her hair.

The sort of quality that goes into making the wigs is expensive.

To offset that cost, the company has to make its dolls expensive.


10. Collectible

Mother and daughter play


A final reason why American Girl Dolls are expensive is that they’re collectible.

While children are certainly the biggest customers of American Girl Dolls, they’re not the only ones.

Because they’re made to such high standards, American Girl Dolls are also collectible.

Some of them have limited editions, for example.

There are only so many made of a specific model.

Others depict famous people from history or represent historical periods.

Collectors know that the value of an American Girl Doll will likely only increase.

As older models retire, the supply of those models diminishes.

If they can complete their collections, it might have an incredible value, especially if the dolls are in mint condition.

American Girl is also aware that its dolls appeal to collectors.

To ensure they’re able to earn their cut of those resales, they put a high price on their dolls to begin with.



Shopping for American Girl Dolls can become pretty expensive.

Due to the reasons listed above, you’ll find that buying a doll, her clothes, and any other accessories could end up making your shopping experience cost at least $200 or more.

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