Barbie Mid Life Crises Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Product Range:

Barbie has the maximum number of dolls in the market. It has a wide range of products available for girls to choose from.


Barbie offers exclusive customized goods in different countries. They prepare dolls for every market in a different manner to cater each market needs.


Limited number of products:

The main weakness of Barbie has been the product profile for the company. Barbie does not have any other products other than the Barbie which makes their market concise and limited scope market.

Fake Imitation:

Barbie as a brand is being hurt by the fake imitation of its logo and the dolls. In the international market, many local companies replicate Barbie and sale with the original brand name that has hurt the company (Kerin, 2012).

No retail outlet

The Barbie doll has a weakness in not having retail outlets for its products. In spite of being the number one brand in the toy industry and with strong financial background the company should have started with its own retail stores globally.

Old Fashioned:

Barbie dolls are considered old fashioned where they do not emphasis on bringing in new features and products in the profile. The dolls are considered to be old fashioned because same attire is being used for a long time.


Open up Retail stores:

The first thing which Barbie should do is open up stores in the international market specifically offering all the different range of goods, accessories and dolls manufactured by Mattel. This will make the company evolve as a better brand because of the fact that no other competitor has a retail store.

Innovative goods:

Barbie as a company should introduce a new product range along with the existing ones. As for now, Barbie is considered as a preference for 8 to 10 year old girls. Therefore the company should come up with better products that can target a larger audience.

Online Presence:

Barbie should look to enter the online industry to explore an untapped and uncaptured market. People nowadays prefer buying goods online. Therefore, Barbie doll should introduce online website where the purchasing can be done.


As for now Barbie is just a fashion doll product. However, in the future Barbie can introduce a new range of products for boys also. This can make the company enter another market and become a leader over there too.



Barbie faces stiff competition from brands like Bratz, My Scene and Sindy. The bigger market share of fashion doll industry has gone to Bratz.

Changing customer preference:

The changing customer preference has been a major threat to the company. Now the girls are looking for funky goods rather than trendy dolls. This makes Barbie come up with new products all the time, which obviously requires time and finance.


The Barbie doll has faced a slump in its profits since April where the sales revenue has declined to 73%. Whereas the gross sales in the United States have decreased by 13%. In contrast to this, Bratz has reached to $100 million revenue in the first years of its operations. The fashion doll industry of the United Kingdom is alone considered as the 100 million pound market. The Barbie as a company is going through a mid-life period, which has been tough for them to compete with. The sales have reduced to around 500 million doors in 1998. The decrease in net income for the final quarter is reached a diluted share of 20 cents. The company has, however, managed to achieve a growth of 7 to 10 percent in the year 1999 which was a big shift from decline year where the loss was around 14 %. The financial position however is on the verge of fluctuation and decline, but still it can be said that with proper understanding of the market and its competition Barbie can revive and regroup itself for the future endeavor.


Product Development:

In the current situation where Barbie is losing the market share and the competitors such as Bratz, Sindy and My Scene are posing severe threat to the company, Barbie should look to introduce product development strategy within itself (Ansoff, 1957). As for now, Barbie is in the fashion doll industry, but moving forward and with the financial stability and strong brand name, the company should introduce cartoon with the brand name Barbie. This will make the company target a different range of audience. As for now, Barbie has been considered as a band for 8 years and younger girls. By introducing a TV cartoon with the concept of Barbie they can cater a different market audience. This will attract teenage girls also and the focus of the company will also differ. In the current system, Bratz has been a strong brand with innovative dolls in its portfolio, but with a television cartoon if launched by Barbie the company can get back on track and can also increase.................................

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