Barbie toy sales shoot up 25% after film’s release

Sep 13, 2023, 4:34 PM

'Barbie The Movie' Ken and Barbie dolls in inline skating outfits.
Mandatory Credit:	Courtesy Matte...

'Barbie The Movie' Ken and Barbie dolls in inline skating outfits. Mandatory Credit: Courtesy Mattel

New York (CNN) — The ‘Barbie’ movie, which turned into a global box office phenomenon in a matter of weeks, appears to be energizing sales of Barbie toys after its summer release.

Barbie toy sales in the US increased 25% for the July-August combined months compared to the same two-month period a year ago, according to the most recent data from market research firm Circana, which tracks retailers’ point-of-sale data.

“That’s a significant increase,” said Jaime Katz, an analyst with Morningstar who covers Barbie toy maker, Mattel.

The Circana data also showed Barbie was the No. 1 property and No. 1 dollar-growth brand within the dolls category at retail in the two-month period. The Barbie brand additionally had six of the top-ten selling items within the dolls category in the period.

Demand for Barbie products from the movie’s record-making success isn’t surprising. The “Barbie” movie, from director Greta Gerwig, scored the largest opening weekend of 2023, and is now the highest-grossing movie at the domestic box office this year, taking the crown away from “Super Mario Bros.”

“Barbie,” which hit theaters on July 21 is distributed by CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.

Mattel, riding high on the pink wave of “Barbie,” told analysts during its recent earnings call that the toymaker has big plans to stretch the Barbie halo effect well beyond just the movie. On June 1, the company released a new collection of toys, which included Barbie and Ken dolls pegged to characters in the movie and a toy replica of Barbie’s three-story DreamHouse.

Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz said during the call that the first wave of movie-related products had sold out, and that Mattel plans to release more products timed for the holidays. In total, he said Mattel has locked in more than 165 partnerships with brands and retailers that cover everything from clothing to candles, furniture, burgers, pasta and even Barbie-inspired sushi.

Mattel’s movie-fueled Barbie merchandise boom should also help give the company a much-needed sales boost later this year as consumers pull back their spending on discretionary goods.

Although the Circana data didn’t breakout sales data for Barbie dolls, Katz said Barbie doll sales were growing well even before the movie release.

Katz said it’s important to see how Mattel can maintain the Barbie brand’s momentum.

“This could pose a problem in 2024, when Mattel is lapping elevated movie-related Barbie sales,” she said.

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Barbie toy sales shoot up 25% after film’s release