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Barbie sales are bombing despite new body types

Barbie still isn’t pulling her weight at Mattel.

Shares of the toymaking giant dropped nearly 10 percent in early Friday trades after it posted disappointing quarterly sales and profits, partly blaming weak demand for its iconic Barbie dolls.

Barbie sales tumbled 5 percent during the quarter, marking Barbie’s third consecutive decline despite last year’s launch of three new Barbie body types — petite, tall and curvy — which briefly goosed esales. Barbie is also increasingly available in a range of skin colors in a bid to make Barbie more attractive to kids worldwide.

Mattel blamed shriveling licensing fees for the drop, while also reporting weak demand for its American Girl, Monster High, Mega Bloks and Thomas & Friends toys in North America. Fisher-Price sales dropped 3 percent. That weighed down Mattel’s results, as well as disappointing demand for toys based on the new “Cars 3” movie.

Shares of Mattel fell about 9.2 percent to $19.35 in early Friday trades.

The Cars movie franchise has been profitable for the toymaker since the series launched in 2006. But U.S. demand for “Cars 3” toys has been soft, Mattel said in a post-earnings call.

“Barbie sales excluding the lapping of a license revenue event in the previous year would have been up about 5 percent, but were not enough to offset more aggressive declines in Monster High and Ever After High,” Jefferies analyst Stephanie Wissink wrote in a client note.

Net sales rose about 2 percent to $974.5 million, but missed analysts’ estimate of $979.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales in the company’s Asia Pacific region, of which China is a major part, rose 16 percent to $122.2 million in the latest quarter.

Mattel is renewing its focus on emerging markets such as China where it has tied up with Alibaba Group and Chinese parenting website Baby Tree to set up educational development and learning centers for children.

Excluding certain items, the company lost 14 cents per share, missing analysts’ average estimate of a loss of 9 cents per share.


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"more aggressive declines in Monster High and Ever After High"

"weak demand for...Monster High"


I was initially surprised about Barbie's sales because of the new ones being nicer, especially with the ethnic diversity and body types. But then I took a step back - the new Barbies aren't doing as well because dolls in general aren't doing so well. It's all of these blind bags that are becoming popular, not to mention kids' movements away from toys and into technology. 

This makes me sad   D:

this blind bag trend will come to end soon, it's a fad all fads die out eventually, I think with prices rising it will.

Oh thank goodness!

Maybe if Mattel put more effort into giving consumers value for money and put actual quality products out, they'd be seeing sales. Consumers aren't stupid, they can tell most of what mattel are offering are crap and not worth the price.

That's why MH sales are bombing, the products they're churning out are cheap, soulless crap.

Cars 3? I mean did anyone SERIOUSLY think that was gonna be a money spinner?

Weak demand for American girl stems from 1: they're massively expensive and we're in a global ressession and 2: perma panties, accusing fans of lying about the poop butt perma panties and general quality decline.

Expensive deluxe toys like AG are hard to sell when people are struggling to put food on the table, to then make them cheaper to make but not passing those savings to the consumer and to make such a huge misstep as the perma panties fiasco is just crazy. I mean, they actually accused a long time fan and collector of doctoring images to make them look bad! and then when the perma pantie bodies hit more stores people saw they weren't lying, the pictures were real, Mattel was just trying to cover it up. If anything is going to screw your sales, it's accusing long standing customers of lies publicly and covering up problems on social media.

Mattel in fact doctored pictures to remove the poop butt seams in all their promo images. It was absolutely shocking how they handled it. Much like their handling of hte gappy mh bodies.

Barbie I think struggles purely because she's struggling to remain relevant in a culture that's steadily and rapidly turning away from the "beauty and money and perfection" life she constantly embodies. There's a lot of baggage attached to the Barbie brand and it'll take quite a while to steer away from the negative image she still has. She's going the right direction with diversity and body variety, but she's still a pink overload princess of unrealistic perfection living an idealized life that many parents just aren't buying into these days.

I wonder if perhaps they'd see better sales if they stopped this "everything is pink" and everything is perfect thing and just went back to realistic clothing, realistic accessories and went back to marketing her as an every day girl.

"anything is possible" is a nice tagline, but i'm not so sure that in hard times economically and socially that sort of play is very fashionable.

I think people are generally tired of princesses, fairies, mermaids and all that nonsense. Maybe it's time for a more down to earth barbie girl?

(I still think Sindy should relaunch, she filled that niche by being a more everyday kinda gal to Barbie's glamourpuss)

thing is, mattel are STILL turning profit, just not as MUCH as they wanted.

Well GOOD. Maybe it'll scare them into putting more effort into their products and treating their customer base with a little more damn respect.

I agree that along with blind bags as well as cheaper vinyl style figures like Funko Pops being a more popular fad right now,  kids move to tech at an earlier age is whats really doing the doll brands in. I have seen it myself with my niece. At around 7 years old she started wanting to play less and less with dolls and spend more time playing mobile games on her phone and tablet. She will be 9 this month and has by now completely stopped playing with dolls. She spends all the time playing mobile games, games on her mom's laptop, face time-ing with her relatives while playing games and watching tween aimed stuff on Disney Channel(sigh.) Yep, girls just arent playing with dolls as much as they used to. I wonder if sales have fallen for action figures as well.

so what are the toy companies to do? well how about forgetting focusing so much on tween aged kids and focusing on adult collectors who like dolls! Make dolls with more adult friendly themes(like the subculture themes MH used to have,) make them better quality at a slightly higher price and make less of them.

I think the permapants definally hurt ag sales like mattel said part of that was them lying about how bad they were. A lot of ag fans are even afraid to order the new customs as they could turn to not be top quality. After all some of the more recent dolls even have squishy vinyal which can crave in overtime. This has caused a lot of maybe of people to think twice about ordering a new doll directly and instead go to ebay and get a used one.

As for mh mattel stiching to cheaper per posed non articulated dolls is what's killing it. The posablity really can help sell a doll. Haven't they learned anything.

Eah is pretty much dead considering there are no new characters and non articulated dolls as well there.

Mattel needs to wake up and stop blaming their buyers for not buying the random stuff they turn out.

I agree Fashionistas used to be articulated when they first came out then they switched to static and everything since then has been static, there hardly is any articulated Barbie dolls out there now, the last fully articulated lines I can remember are those Style dolls and life in the dream house which ended so sudden and I think they were doing OK but I guess not. 

there defiantly has been way too many princess, mermaid and fairy lines where Barbie is concerned I don't really get it because when Barbie came out she wasn't a Princess I never get why all of a sudden after all these years she suddenly became one, the early movies weren't as bad, the dolls didn't have moulded plastic tops and cheap light up gimmicks, yes some of them did sing but their outfits weren't plastic and didn't light up so much better quality but now 95% of the line is all about now.

I don't get why everything is cheaper now and everything is static, moulded and gimmicky, people enjoyed MH the way it used to be when effort was put in and the dolls were articulated came with diaries that told stories had bios so you can get to know the character came with stands and brushes and pets, and the movies and webisodes telling stories following things on, and the sales were good they were doing well, changing the age group was a bad move things were fine they way they were and now they have barbiefied the line too much, and EAH got the same treatment which was just odd as they came out later though it's a sister brand so that is probably why, in the beginning they didn't focus on the princess side of it and it was pretty good we were getting different characters but then it just went all princess cliche with tea party lines and ballet and and that just killed it.

even AG are not safe from the cheapening, I don't get why, they make millions so why are they cutting back on quality.

Sindy should come back as a fashion doll it would be good competition, the toddler ones were cute, but they failed big time and they weren't Sindy, if Hasbro makes them again maybe it can work, or if pedegree make them like they used to in the 60's some similar style that might also work as they were cute and cute works. 

Bratz should also come back again maybe some healthy competition will prompt Mattel to do better. 

it would be nice if Mattel made more fashion lines again like My Scene and Generation girl.

the fairy tale line came out around the 90s when they were also selling the first Disney movie dolls(B&TB, Aladdin, Pocahontas etc) they probably wanted some of that success. And the first Barbie princess dolls were really well made, full fabric fashions and high quality accessories/play sets. I had bought a 2nd hand Magic of Pegasus horse and Barbie princess doll on Ebay a couple years ago and the quality is amazing! the dress is gorgeous and the horse is fully articulated! Today they are complete junk!

Maybe companies should be embracing the technology and do like augmented reality toys? Like, stop motion programs and instructions and a site where you can share your content with other kids, or you get a code you scan that lets you play in a game like Amibos and stuff? Or the ability to custom create content and then order it. Printables like printable fabric design or accesssory decorations?

Basically just incorperate computer/tablet time into the doll.

Heck, we had a few tie in barbies, give us Minecraft Barbie lol.

Thing is, parents are increasingly concerned by their child's screen time so toys that encourage kids away from screens at least some of the time are something parents will buy. Will kids want? Who cares? you're trying to get PARENTS on board because they're the ones with the money right?

But I do feel like the way kids play with toys has changed. There's more emphasis on sharing what you create/do with other people and maybe embracing that would be a good idea? Set up an actual proper forum that's SAFE for kids and heavily moderated so they can meet other fans but the parents feel okay about them talking to strangers. Let them share content without fear. You made a cool stop motion thing? awesome, share it. Fan art? Share it!

Encourage creativity and play away from the computer by using the computer lol.

tie in Barbies sounds like a good idea, like they used do, they did do an Angry Birds Barbie a few years back so Minecraft and or five nights at freddy's Barbie could happen since those games are popular right now, however that dose not guarantee the quality will be good or they will be articulated, they will probably have the basic static body if they will come with junk in which they probably will like maybe some figures of the characters from the game or some props or something.  

yeah the older princesses were made better and had better quality and they also weren't everywhere it wasn't 95% of the line, yeah now horses are just hollow plastic and static. 


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