Image from: Barbie’s Face / Barbie.com
Although holiday decorations have been available for weeks, for most of us, the holiday season begins in earnest as the Halloween decorations come down and our children shift their attention from costumes and candy to wish lists. If this year is like so many of the past 50, many young girls will reserve space high on their lists for a Barbie doll.
Looking back at weekly shopping activity last holiday season we can get a sense for the continued popularity of the Barbie brand as well as its importance to the online retailers.
During the eight weeks beginning October 30th, an average of 770,000 shoppers searched for a Barbie across the leading online retail websites, namely eBay.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com and Toysrus.com, each week. Online interest in the doll reached a peak of 1.02 million shoppers during the week of Black Friday, before trailing off as parents shifted their shopping to physical stores. Among these online shoppers, just 15% searched for Barbie on more than one site.
Walmart.com consistently had the most on-site search activity for “Barbies,” capturing 31% of total searches during the holiday season, with a noticeable spike during the last week before Christmas as last-minute shoppers likely searched for in-store availability. Combined, Toys R Us and Walmart captured half of all Barbie search activity. Amazon grabbed share around Black Friday and maintained it through early December as shoppers performed more one-stop shopping.
Finally, eBay’s share dipped as the holidays approached. Its weekly Barbie search volume actually remained relatively consistent at approximately 200,000 per week, however, suggesting a steady stream of interest in Barbie collectables as opposed to new merchandise for children. Their share dipped as the volume on other sites rose.
For brands like Mattel, visibility into online shopping activity at these key retail partner websites can aid tactical decision making focused on maximizing category success and market share during the holidays and throughout the year.
As VP of Millward Brown Digital’s financial services, retail and consumer products practices, Matt is responsible for vertical growth and strategy and the delivery of digital insights and best practice marketing consulting to leading Fortune 500 advertisers. Follow Matt on Twitter @mattpace.