Barbie primes to fend off disruptor dollies in fight for holiday-sales dominance

The big 3 toy companies are facing off to win the holiday season -- and there are billions of dollars at stake.


October 2, 2019

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There’s drama in the dollhouse as America’s 3 biggest dollmakers — Mattel, Hasbro, and MGA Entertainment — battle for the top spot on holiday wish lists. With billions of dollars on the line, this is one toy story to watch.

Meet the injection-molded contenders 

Barbie’s been the HBIC for years — earning a huge share of the estimated $3.4B market in 2018 — but pressure from Hasbro’s upcoming Olaf and Elsa release and MGA’s collectible L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls could unseat the icon. 

Olaf and Elsa are merchandising dolls from “Frozen 2,” the sequel to Disney’s Oscar-winning mega-hit. 

L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls — which conceal a fashion doll within multiple layers of packaging, are next-level enablers of the “unboxing” trend. 

Barbie is projected to dominate, but it’s still anybody’s game

Some analysts predict Barbie will bring in $1B+, with Hasbro’s “Frozen 2” dolls and L.O.L. Surprise! earning about $500m each. 

Barbie enjoys the international brand power that comes with having spent 60 years on the market. Even so, any victory will be hard-won.

The first time “Frozen” dolls were issued, Monster High — then a $600m doll brand — saw its value halved overnight. And if “Frozen 2” takes off in China, this could spell trouble for Barbie’s global dominance.

And don’t overlook MGA’s offering. Kids go apesh*t over the L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. Fashion Dolls, which were included in Toy Insider’s Hot 20 list. Neither Barbie nor the “Frozen” dolls made the cut.

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