Is Barbie’s Reign at the Top Over?

Mattel’s Barbie sales have been in a slump for four years. Has America’s most famous doll finally lost her appeal?

Barbie, with her long legs, tiny waist, big chest, little stiletto-wearing feet and flowing blond locks, has been at the forefront of America’s fashion doll market for more than 55 years.

But the iconic doll is no longer as popular with young girls.

Mattel’s Barbie sales have slumped for the past four years, according to Fortune. In fact, just last quarter, Barbie sales dropped by 19 percent compared with the second quarter of 2014.

Barbie is Mattel’s largest brand, The Wall Street Journal reports, so its dip in sales has been a big hit for the toy company, which is struggling to come out of a multiyear slump. Mattel posted a loss of $11.4 million last quarter, compared with a $28.3 million profit at this time last year.

Most recently, Barbie has been in a losing battle with Disney’s Elsa and Anna dolls, Fortune reports:

Earlier this year, Mattel unveiled new tactics to reverse Barbie’s fortunes, including a more diverse line of dolls as well as a high-tech model that talks to children. But those moves haven’t seemed to help, even as [the popularity of “Frozen”] begins to ebb.

Matthew Hudak, an analyst at consumer analytics firm Euromonitor International, tells the Huffington Post that the “disproportionately sized blond girl” is losing her appeal. Hudak says many parents are trying to distance their daughters from the “princess culture.”

Hudak says:

“Parents aren’t really going after Barbie for their daughters — they’re looking towards these other brands — because Barbie has this running stigma that it creates a negative self-image for a girl. It’s something that’s been in the background for some time, and now it’s really starting to develop more.”

Mattel is trying to save the iconic blond bombshell by finding a new way for her to resonate with this generation of young girls. According to WSJ:

The Barbie brand is making a big bet on a superhero version that hit shelves earlier this year and which has helped retail sales improve slightly from a year earlier, even as gross sales to retailers fall sharply.

Check out “Mattel Apologizes for Incompetent Computer Engineer Barbie.”

Do you think Barbie has finally lost her appeal with girls? Share your thoughts below, or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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