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.
Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.