Mattel is the world’s largest toy company, specializing in a range of Barbie toy dolls that cater towards children and kids who have not reached their teen years yet. Unexpectedly, Mattel’s sales have been slumping more than usual, dropping about 13 percent in the first quarter and then dropping a bit more towards the end of March. This came as quite a shock to Mattel, who as a company decided to remake Barbie dolls to fit the criticism of unrealistic body images.
The new marketing strategy for Mattel was to have a range of skin tones and body shapes. The movement was to help girls feel more confident in themselves, as they always should. It was surprising to see that the numbers fell more this year, which was the worst since 2009. Maybe children are outgrowing toys and are catching the marketing tools of video games and technology. The wave of smartphone users and mobile apps could be making a bigger impact on children as well.
For almost six decades, Barbie has grown through each era… Is it time for Barbie to leave this one?
Because of the unsold stock, Mattel has faced during the holidays, it left the company with over $113.2 million in losses. This was bigger than a couple of years ago when it only came down to losing $73 million.
The chief executive of Mattel, Margo Georgiadis was more than upset at the sales crumble. The isolation for the Barbie doll has spread over into both North America and Europe. The company was not predicting that this much stock would be leftover.
The competitions that Mattel faces each year now have an open spot when it comes to their merchandise, which are more tech-enabled than Mattel. The former president of Google’s Americas has also been planning a few things up his sleeve and would like to expand his marketing tools in Asia, where technology seems to be blowing up.
It is sad to see how many toy stores are not doing well because of the technology overload that is seen in this generation. Other brands such as the American Girls dolls have also been trying to design something new and exciting. The layout of the store and the dolls are completely different than what was popular ten years ago.
Barbie used to be every little girl’s favorite doll to play with. Barbie had it all back in the day with a house, a boyfriend, cars, and all sorts. She used to be a historic figure and now is used as a collector’s item for adults and senior citizens.
Mattel is currently trying to strike deals with China’s own toy store company, Alibaba. If the two teams can work on projects and ideas together, sales will hopefully increase in the next year, putting Mattel back on their feet.
On the other side, Hasbro has been making a comeback with their business. Since the contract between Hasbro and Mattel ended at the end of last year, Hasbro has a lead in Disney franchises. They have been selling Disney merchandise in their store, with the likes of Frozen still increasing in sales. Disney princesses have always been beloved for children and because Disney is not done yet with new movies and remakes of old ones, toys have still been selling off the shelves.
Last month, Hasbro had made a 52 percent increase in the girl’s division alone, sending sales skyrocketing.
Maybe it is time to say goodbye to our famous Barbie dolls to make room for other toys to make a breakthrough. Barbie will now be iconic to people who grew up with her and her friends.