Buyers Overwhelmingly Reject ‘Diverse Barbie’, Forcing Price Slash

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By Heat Street Staff | 5:11 am, April 24, 2017

Attempts to diversify the Barbie doll so that it reflects the modern world appear to have failed.

Sales of the toy have fallen by 15 per cent following a raft of changes introduced last year, with makers Mattel admitting its revenues dropped in the first three months of 2017 to $735 million.

Barbie’s diversification – which followed criticism that the stick-thin blonde model with a big chest set an unrealistic expectation of body image for young girls – included giving her a curvier figure.

The new range, launched around the world in 2016, also included a taller Barbie and a smaller version. Seven new skin tones and a range of different hair styles rounded off the attempt to modernize Barbie after she had gone virtually unchanged for more than half a century.

Mattel said at the time it had a “responsibility to reflect a broader view of beauty”.

But the toy’s overhaul has been given the thumbs down by a consumer base whose fondness for Barbie has been fading for several years.

Barbie sales dropped by 20 per cent between 2012 and 2014. The latest figures represent the second consecutive quarter of falling revenues and the biggest drop since 2009.

Mattel was also forced to slash prices to sell stock that was unsold over Christmas.