Beautiful, elegant and extremely fashionable — Barbie has been the reigning queen of dolls for over 50 years.
But now she has been thrust into the battle of her life.
Mattel recently announced that its second-quarter net income fell by 24 percent due to a decline in Barbie sales.
But while they have dropped, sales of the Monster High dolls have grown, to become worth more than 376 million euros in just three years.
Based on teen characters born from famous monsters, Monster High dolls boomed in sales after being introduced in 2010.
Jim Silver, the editor-in-chief of Timetoplaymag.com, has tracked the changes: “What we’ve seen over the years is Barbie is age compressing. So whereas 20 years ago Barbie used to be [played with by] three to nine [years old], the core audience now is really three to six [years old] and this new line Monster High, started from ages six to 10 but is now reaching five year olds”.
Monster High is a fashion doll franchise created by Garrett Sander and Kellee Riley for Mattel .
The characters are inspired by monster movies, sci-fi horror, and thriller fiction making them different from most fashionable dolls.
The franchise also includes TV specials, a web series and five feature length TV movies.
“It’s kids growing up quicker. They’re growing up with computers. The music they listen to is entirely different so they want things that are edgier” added Jim Silver.
Since debuting in 1959 as the world’s first fashion doll, Barbie has been subject to controversy. While the 54-year-old doll has over the years graduated from pin-up girl to a range of characters that include astronauts and engineers, some insist her unrealistic physical proportions and obsession with fashion creates a unhealthy role model for young girls.
As the unique characters of Monsters High continue to attract a large following it looks like Barbie’s dream life could well be a thing of the past.