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.
If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.
Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.
At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead.
An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.
A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:
Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance.
Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS.
To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.
A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.
It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.
Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins.
Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.
As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.
Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.