It’s time to bust out the Dream House, the jet, and the convertible, because March 9th is National Barbie Day! America’s most iconic doll was invented in 1959 by businesswoman Ruth Handler after being inspired by a doll she spotted during a trip to Germany.
From the introduction of her longtime boyfriend Ken in 1961, to the launch of new body types in 2016 in response to decades-long criticisms surrounding the doll’s negative impact on body image, and on to efforts to expand the diversity of the product line– the Barbie brand has evolved a great deal over the past 62 years.
This year, in honor of National Barbie Day, we decided to do a deep dive into our data to learn more about America’s current relationship with Barbie.
Has the doll gotten less popular over the past few years? Which types of dolls and accessories are the most popular? Has the COVID-19 pandemic had any impact on demand for Barbie dolls? And what about National Barbie Day—does the unofficial holiday drive any additional demand?
Keep reading to find out the answer to these questions and more!
We started our analysis by examining online demand for Barbie as a general term throughout all of last year. Here’s how the week-to-week trend panned out:
As you probably expected, the holiday shopping season was by far the biggest time of year for Barbie. Online demand ramped up sharply during the last week of October, peaking during the week of December 12th.
It’s unclear what may have driven the surge in demand in mid-July, but it’s clear that Barbie is generally at its most popular in the latter half of the year.
National Barbie Day, meanwhile, doesn’t appear to really move the needle too much. Demand during the week of March 9th picked up slightly when compared to the previous week, but only to levels similar to what we see during the rest of March.
For an even better understanding of online demand for Barbie, we next examined monthly demand over the previous 3 years.
Here we see that last year was actually a fairly strong year for Barbie, with demand remaining consistently higher throughout most of the year than either of the previous two years.
Comparatively, both 2020 and 2019 saw demand drop much more during the spring months, only to experience a slower increase during the summer and fall. But while last year saw the most consistently high demand, the 2020 holiday shopping season represented the high point across all three years.
Of course, the Barbie brand includes far more than the doll itself, so let’s dive even deeper into the data to see if these trends hold true for Barbie accessories, dream mansions, movies, and more
Now that we’ve examined the trends for Barbie as a complete brand, let’s see how some of the most popular items and accessories compare. We’ll start by comparing total demand in 2021 to see which items and accessories are the most popular overall.
As you’d expect, the dolls still drive by far the most demand—a full 64% more than the next most popular item, the Barbie Dream House. Barbie clothes weren’t far behind the Dream House, putting those two items in a tier of their own.
From clothes there’s a significant drop to the fourth most popular item in our analysis, Barbie Movies, a popular series of about 40 animated films. Barbie Car rounds out the top five, edging out boyfriend Ken.
To see if some of these most popular items and accessories experience the same kind of trends as the brand at large, we next compared the change in monthly demand for each.
Once again, the holiday shopping season is absolutely huge for Barbie items and accessories. Only Barbie movies, which see their demand peak in the dog days of August, didn’t experience the bulk of their demand during the months of November and December.
Barbie dolls and the Barbie Dream House both experienced the biggest boosts in demand during the holidays, with the Dream House peaking in November, while dolls continued to surge into December.
Interestingly, Barbie clothes and Ken dolls both started the year with demand up above the annual average, perhaps as kids look to fill out the big Dream House they got on Christmas morning.
Let’s close out by taking a look at the long term trends for some of these top accessories and items.
Interestingly, demand for Barbie dolls as a specific item actually saw demand at its highest in 2020, while 2021 saw demand drop below 2019. It’s important to qualify that queries for “Barbie” were far more common than specific queries for “Barbie Doll” – so it’s possible that 2021 simply saw more people searching for Barbies with a more generic query than in previous years.
Either way, all three years did see very similar trends, with demand slowly increasing and peaking during the holiday months.
It’s a similar story for the Barbie Dream House, with the 2020 Holiday shopping season rising well above both 2019 and 2021. All three years saw November rank as the top month of the year, but November 2020 saw demand up 44% more than either other year.
Barbie movies saw demand pick up when the pandemic hit in March of 2020, no doubt as millions of parents suddenly found themselves needing to help entertain a house full of socially distancing children. That increase in popularity held into 2021, which saw even higher demand throughout most of the year.
It’s clear that the holiday shopping season is crucial for Barbie dolls and accessories. The brand sees the majority of its demand fall during the months of November and December, although for some accessories and items we do see demand begin to pick up as early as late summertime.
Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.
To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.
And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, get in touch today.
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Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.
And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.
Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.
Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.
Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.
Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.)
To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.
Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.
Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.
Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers.
The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:
Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);
Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).
To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging.
Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place.
It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.
Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.
It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.
By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.
Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.
Pattern’s Accelerate22 event, the global ecommerce acceleration summit, provided a way for participants to learn from each other and leading experts about building a successful ecommerce presence. During our Brand Control and Compliance track, Leslie Hensell, co-founder of Riverbend Consulting and an Amazon expert, spoke to attendees about “Bezophobia”—the fear of losing brand control on Amazon. She talked about the importance of having a clear strategy to help you perform your best on the digital marketplace and the fact that achieving that is much harder to do in a 1P Amazon relationship.
With better control, which is more achievable in a 3P relationship, brands can let go of their fears and more richly enjoy the inherent benefits of selling on Amazon. If you think you could have a case of Bezophobia, read below for three important areas every brand should have control over when selling on Amazon.
Pricing is a huge concern for brands selling on Amazon—in most cases, Amazon prioritizes their customers’ happiness and providing a great experience for them on the platform over brands’ best interests. So, they want to offer their customers the best price available at all times.
This seems harmless enough until a rogue or unauthorized seller enters the ecommerce space. They’d like to capture your consumers’ interest as well, and often list your products at a lower price than you’d authorize. When Amazon notices the change, whether on its platform or on another, they drop your listing price to match.
Many brands seriously struggle to raise their prices after events like this occur, leading to what we call the Profitability Death Spiral. As your product prices fall, it’ll be harder and harder to raise them again, especially if you’re operating with Amazon as a 1P seller.
At Pattern, we know brands can’t achieve marketplace acceleration without brand control. So, we partner with econtrol firm VORYs to allow all brand partners to better understand their distribution channels and how to address control problems that ultimately lead to pricing issues.
The next key area of control brands should be focused on is their product selection on Amazon. Leslie spoke about this being a common issue for brands—as mentioned above, Amazon doesn’t see your brand as its top priority.
Many brands provide a certain assortment of their products to Amazon to sell, then find that their expectations don’t match Amazon’s efforts. Leslie has worked with many brands that have believed that Amazon will list, market, and move product the way a brand would if they were managing their Amazon presence themselves.
But, in a 1P relationship, it’s difficult to get true visibility into what’s really going on. If Amazon buys your products without putting the effort in to represent your product selection in the way you think, it can cause big, long-term issues that are very difficult for brands to reconcile.
In Leslie’s experience, this is a brand’s most important area to have control over on Amazon. Your ability to sell products is completely dependent on how you’re able to showcase those products through your content. And, in a 1P relationship, brands lose the ability to have the final say over how their products appear to consumers.
Leslie has seen many cases of brands’ sales dropping inexplicably, only for them to discover that their vendor has made significant changes to product detail pages and other marketing materials, such that they no longer reflect the brand.
Pattern understands how important your brand representation is on digital marketplaces like Amazon. So, when we agree to partner with brands, we provide a suite of creative services to help your products look their best, including a studio team for fully-optimized pictures and videos and an expert advertising team that knows how to write descriptions and copy that really help your products stand out among the competition.
If you’re able to get ahead and get in control of your Amazon strategy, especially in your pricing, selection, and marketing efforts, you have no need to fear the digital marketplace. As an Amazon expert and ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows what it takes for brands to truly succeed, and is committed to helping all brands take charge of their strategy to achieve long-term success.
Set up a call to talk more about Amazon and ways Pattern can help you make the platform work better for you.