Could this be a result of the several other types of dolls that are being marketed towards young girls?
There has been growth in sales for the Monster High doll collection which is inspired by mythological films and stories such as Dracula. The Monster High doll sales have increased 23 percent. These dolls are fashionable and edgy/different. American Girl dolls are also doing well as they have increased by 14 percent. Although they are only available online in Canada...kind of an ironic name seeing as how they are only available to Canadian girls!
Is it possible that Barbie sales are declining because parents and their children are interested in dolls that better represent who they are? While Monster High dolls are still quite thin like Barbie, they do make an interesting point of being different from mainstream beauty and are marketed in a way that promotes acceptance of difference. Their style does remind me somewhat of the Bratz style dolls which are owned by MGA Entertainment because of their use of "adult" style clothing and heavy makeup. We discussed the effect that Bratz dolls have on sexualizing girls in a past post here.
The American Girl dolls are probably one of my favourites because they depict proportions that are a little closer to Average girls body types. Each doll can be customized according to skin colour, eye colour, hair colour and length/texture, etc. The idea behidn this is to create a doll that represents the individual who will own it. These dolls remind me of the type of dolls I favoured growing up because they were much more reflective of my child proportions. The down side to these dolls is that they are currently only available in Canada online and they are quite expensive. They are similar in ways to the Lottie dolls we wrote about here. Would you spend the money for your child if it meant having a healthier example of size and diversity?
Mary Shearman, PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University, explained to the Globe and Mail that Mattel may realize that their non-Barbie doll sales will increase as parents look into finding more relatable dolls. She said that “there was a sense that you wanted to expose little girls to role models that were a little more diverse and not so stereotypical, so they tried to make Barbie active and gave her all kinds of activities to do and tried to make her more interesting than a beauty queen.”
Do you think that the reason Mattel's Barbie sales have declined is because parents and children are growing tired of Barbie's lack of diversity? Are companies actually starting to hear arguments about needing more positive examples of different body types and beauty for children? What do you think?