Barbie dolls are losing favour with kids.
Sales of Mattel’s signature doll dropped a whopping 21% last quarter, reports Matt Townsend at Bloomberg News. Revenue has declined more than 10% for the last four quarters.
Mattel executives highlighted a few reasons that the iconic dolls are declining in popularity in an earnings call with investors.
They also hinted at the future of Barbie, which CEO Bryan Stockton said is “still the number one dollar brand in the world” thanks to an empire of books, movies, clothing, and games.
Here’s why fewer girls are buying the dolls.
1. Kids are spending more on tech.
The popularity of tablets, smartphones, and games is taking market share from Barbie dolls, Townsend writes. As kids increasingly spend their allowances on technology, plastic dolls aren’t as exciting.
To deal with this shift, Mattel has been offering a variety of Barbie apps, computer games, and movies.
The brand also sells a Barbie digital “makeover mirror” which allows girls to apply make-up to a Barbie doll’s face.
2. Girls want edgier toys.
Monter High dolls are “cannibalising” Barbie sales as girls opt for the edgier toys, company executives said last year.
Mattel created Monster High in 2010, and sales have been skyrocketing ever since they hit shelves.
The dolls are inspired by famous monsters like Dracula, the Mummy, Medusa, and Frankenstein’s monster, and retail for around $US20 each (compared with around $US10 for Barbie).
Monster High is “all about celebrating your differences,” company execs said on the call, adding that the franchise appeals to both younger and older girls.
3. Barbie needed a makeover.
CEO Stockton said that the dolls needed a makeover to appeal to young girls.
“The dolls look better this year than they did last year,” Stockton said.
While he didn’t elaborate on details, the new dolls appear to have thicker, glossier hair and bigger eyes than the dolls offered last year.
The proportions also appear to be more similar to Monster High dolls, with a bigger head and smaller body.
It’s unclear whether this makeover will have an impact on sales.
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