K-pop superband and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors BTS’s influence has spilled over into the toy industry. When toymaker Mattel Inc. launched its line of BTS Barbie dolls, worldwide sales rose by 10 percent, a testament to the strength of BTS’ “army”, or the group’s dedicated fanbase.
On Tuesday (Oct 29), Mattel reported a “surprise jump” in quarterly revenue, thanks to a demand for its flagship Barbie brand. Meanwhile, international Barbie gross sales rose 10 percent to US$412.8 million (S$561.26 million) in the third quarter, despite analysts’ fears that demand would slow down in the countdown to the release of the movie Frozen 2, the doll rights of which are owned by Hasbro.
Mattel’s international gross sales rose 10 percent to US$721.7 million, supported by BTS Barbie sales. Fans everywhere have rushed to purchase all seven dolls to complete the set.
Over the years, Barbie has evolved to represent characters from different ethnicities, backgrounds and professions, and its popularity is stronger than ever with the rise of pop culture-relevant Barbie dolls.
“The story around BTS shows how we’re able to capture cultural trends and commercialise them,” Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz told Reuters.
Unlike Mattel’s main competition, toymaker Hasbro, Mattel reported that there were no cancellations by its retail partners in anticipation of the US tariff deadline on Chinese toy imports, slated for December 15.
“At this stage, we are not seeing any impact from tariffs and we don’t expect anything this year,” said Kreiz, noting that the brand’s popularity is going strong as the main toy-buying season, the Christmas holidays, are approaching.
The BTS Barbie dolls were launched in Singapore on August 15 and can be purchased in Toys “R” Us branches, Takashimaya, OG, selected Popular bookstores, and selected stores in Changi Airport. Fans can also order the Barbies through the Toys “R” Us website.
Mattel has priced each BTS doll at S$34.99, making the full set of seven cost S$244.93.
In an official statement, Mattel said the dolls looked “just like the beloved BTS members” and were intricately made, with rooted hair and 11 points of articulation, meaning that the dolls can be moved to pose in “many” of the group’s real life stances and dance moves.