Barbie has been dethroned as the top holiday season toy for girls by merchandise from the movie “Frozen,” according to the National Retail Federation. About 20 percent of shopping parents plan to get “Frozen” merchandise for their girls this holiday season compared to 17 percent who plan to get Barbie. This marks the first time in 11 years the brand was not the most sought after present in the trade group’s annual study. This latest findings comes off the heels of Mattel, Barbie’s parent company, reporting 21 percent decline in sales of Barbie in its latest quarter.
Mattel still held strong on the list with three of five products on the top five. Dolls in general were third on The National Retail Foundation’s list. Monster High dolls and American Girl dolls rounded out the top five among girls. Both Monster High and American Girl are products of Mattel. Lego is the top choice among boys with 14 percent of parents planning to buy the gift for their boys. Cars and trucks, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, videos, and Hot Wheels rounded out the top five for boys.
While Barbie is still second among popularity with girls, the National Retail Foundation’s list shows the brand is losing favor with its targeted audience. The trend is shifting to “Frozen” among girls. The Disney film is the biggest animation box office draw of all-time, grossing close to $1.3 billion in worldwide sales.
The movie, released last year, has enjoyed a successful run and remains fresh in the minds of girls through DVD sales and Halloween outfits. Disney Consumer Products earlier this month announced it had sold 3 million “Frozen”-themed dresses for Halloween. Disney also has created an ice-skating show, “Disney on Ice presents Frozen” based on the popular movie. The show sold 250,000 tickets on its first day on sale. The tour is reportedly expected to sold over one million tickets by the end of the year. All of which played a role in Barbie being dethroned as the top holiday toy for girls.
The brand’s rough week certainly is not helping if it plans to retake number one in the future. Lammily, the “Normal Barbie” is attracting a lot of attention. Complete with imperfections that the original does not have. The doll’s creator Nickolay Lamm, a Pennsylvania artist, rose over $500,000 on a crowdfunding site for research and to produce a doll that resembles an average 19-year girl. The doll features skin flaws and other common imperfections such as common measurements, cellulite, stretch marks, and acne.
Mattel’s attention was also focused on apologizing following outrage of a book titled Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer. The book was published in 2010, but still is available on Amazon.com drawing recent criticism. In the book, Barbie struggles trying to make a computer game. After experiencing several dramatic technical issues she is forced to enlist in help from two males for technical support. In a male dominant industry, some critics were not fond of how it took two males to fix her issues.
Barbie has been a part of America’s pop culture. The brand has been dominant since its debut in 1959. But declining sales, the popularity of Frozen, and the intrigue of Lammily leaves Mattel scrambling to buck the unsettling trend for them. How they respond remains to be seen, but for now Barbie has been dethroned as the top holiday toy for girls.
By King Motley