Jul 27, 2023
'Barbie' success boosts rivals in battered toy industry: 'Pink tide is lifting in toyland'
Submit Δ Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission. Barbie is the superhero the beleaguered toy industry needs right now. The blockbuster hit featuring Margot Robbie as Mattel’s iconic
Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.
Barbie is the superhero the beleaguered toy industry needs right now.
The blockbuster hit featuring Margot Robbie as Mattel’s iconic doll has also been a smashing success for rival toymakers that sell any product featuring Barbie’s signature pink color, The Post has learned.
“There is a big trickle down when the $1 billion Barbie brand does well,” said Jay Foreman, chief executive of Basic Fun, which makes Tonka Truck and Lite Brite. “There’s an entire ecosystem that the pink tide is lifting in toyland.”
The rose-colored glasses extend to Basic-Fun’s popular Care Bear stuffed animals.
“Our pink Care Bears are flying off the shelves or three times as fast as they did four weeks ago,” Foreman raved.
Similarly, a new line of Fingerlings – featuring a monkey character – has had one standout seller.
“Our light pink Fingerling is selling twice as much as all the other ones,” Sydney Wiseman, vice president of WowWee, the Montreal-based toy company that makes the novelty item.
The Barbie movie is having a “halo effect on all things pink,” Wiseman added.
It’s a much-needed boost for an industry that suffered anemic sales growth for more than a year and had a glut of inventory that had to be deeply discounted, as The Post reported.
Even sales of Barbie declined 23% in the first half of the year compared to a year ago, according to Mattel’s most recent earnings statement. Overall toy sales decreased by 0.2% or by $49 million last year, while the number of toys sold declined by 4%, according to research firm, Circana.
Toy makers are now struggling with a new problem. They can’t replenish their pink or Barbie-fueled merchandise fast enough and weren’t prepared for the demand generated by the movie, which has grossed more than $800 million since its release July 21.
Montreal-based WowWee has already sold out of a foldable Barbie-branded slide, which sells for $35 a pop. The company has had a licensing deal with Mattel to sell Pop2Play slides for the past two years.
WowWee has pushed its manufacturer in China to produce more of the slides.
“We are having conversations about how fast we can get them on boats,” Wiseman said.
Similarly, Tara Toys, which sells a Barbie-branded storage case that can hold up to 20 dolls as well, as a tie-dye doll clothing kit, among other products that are not connected to the movie – is seeing a buying frenzy of these items.
“There’s been a surprising uptick for our products and we are hoping it goes all the way through Christmas,” Tara Toys Vice President Brian Specht told The Post.
Sales of the storage cases alone are up 40% while the other Barbie-related items are up between 20% and 30%. Some of the lift is coming from a special Barbie related display in some 2,000 Walmart stores, according to Sprecht.
But if those items sell out it’ll be near impossible to replace them this year.
“We can’t get more product now in the supply chain,” Sprecht added.
Mattel’s rival Hasbro just announced a pre-order sale of a Barbie edition Monopoly that will be available in the coming weeks – part of a licensing deal with Mattel announced in April.
Other competitors, including MGA Entertainment, which makes LOL Surprise dolls, grudgingly conceded that more people are shopping in the toy aisle because of the Barbie movie, chief executive Isaac Larian told The Post.
“We see some increases, but it’s insignificant,” Larian said, adding that he predicts there will be a glut of licensed Barbie toys that won’t sell well this fall.
Toy companies will take what they can get, especially during the dog days of summer when sales are slow.
“The movie is especially impactful in July and August,” when toys aren’t top of mind, Steve Pasierb, CEO of the Toy Association said.
Others are trying to ride the pink tide before the wave crests.
Basic Fun recently got the “green light” to introduce a Barbie Lite Brite next year that will have pink hearts, lipstick and shoes, Foreman said.
“There are tons of Barbie coattails to ride on,” he said.