‘Barbie’ Came up Short at the Oscars, but the Brand Can Outperform in 2024

Barbie - Mattel

Even though Hollywood’s incarnation of Barbie took home just one Academy Award this week, the famous figurine is well positioned for another year of solid sales.

As PYMNTS reported, Mattel, the company behind Barbie, happily credits the doll — and her cinematic doppelganger — for helping drive the company’s 29% year-over-year bump in global doll sales last year.  

“The breakout success of the award-winning Barbie movie was a showcase for our entertainment strategy and cultural relevance of our brands outside the toy aisle,” a Mattel executive told shareholders.

But, the Barbie-naissance is just getting started. Last week, Mattel announced Barbie’s 65th anniversary, which the company intends to capitalize on by throwing a full-blown in-store and online shopping extravaganza. The celebration will include specialized digital-only promotions on Amazon, Walmart, Target and dozens of other specialized retail sites. 

Mattel already launched its Celebrating an Icon webpage devoted entirely to exalting Barbie’s six-plus decades as a cash cow for the company.

It remains to be seen as to which website will ultimately move the most Barbie merchandise, but if recent data offers any indication, Mattel.com may reap the biggest bang for the Barbie buck.       

That’s because 43% of Generation Z consumers said they prefer shopping on brands’ sites, a rate 53% higher than the average consumer. Millennials aren’t far behind: nearly 33% of them shared that preference for brand websites. Equally important, 72% of all consumers who shop on brand sites (as opposed to third-party retail sites) said they find the experience highly satisfying.


These findings are from “The Online Features Driving Consumers to Shop With Brands, Retailers or Marketplaces,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and Adobe report examining the opinions of more than 3,500 U.S. consumers who were surveyed about their online shopping preferences.

Consumers do have misgivings about buying directly from brands. For instance, the report showed many perceive buying from brands is a more expensive option. Respondents also said brand sites fail to deliver the smooth checkouts or multiple payment options many retailers offer. In fact, only 20% of respondents believed brand sites outperform their retail counterparts. 

Yet, despite these shortcomings, about one-third of consumers surveyed said brand websites deliver three things they value: trust in the store, good customer service and the availability of live/human assistance.

Trust, in particular, is a major factor driving shoppers to brand sites. Three in four respondents said it is pivotal in their store choice, while 15% of those who shop exclusively on brand sites singled out trust as the biggest factor behind the choice. (For those consumers who prefer using retailer sites or online marketplaces, attractive prices are the most influential factor.) 

If Barbie sales in 2024 match — or even surpass — what Mattel saw in 2023, it may likely contribute to another impressive year for the toy giant. But if the company really wants to win what could well be a Battle for Barbie amongst retailers this year, Mattel could offer consumers additional features they look for in online shopping.

For instance, “The Online Features Driving Consumers to Shop With Brands, Retailers or Marketplaces” report revealed that 66% of consumers said free shipping turns them into loyal customers. Another 50% said easy checkouts win them over. The ability to track packages resonated with 46%, which is the same percentage of consumers who want options like fast deliveries and hassle-free returns.