Barbie sales shoot up by 30% as movie uncontrollable excitement hits South Africa

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The classic toy, distinguished by its blonde mane, blue eyes, and pink clothes, has long been well-known in the country of southern Africa, but interest in it has recently increased.

According to Catherine Jacoby, the local marketing manager for multinational toy store Toys R Us, Barbie sales have increased by 30% since the movie’s opening weekend.

In an upscale Johannesburg suburb on Wednesday, a large, pink display wall covered in dollhouses and barbies dominated the entrance to a toy store.

Store employee Anna Mkhize told AFP chuckling, “This toy is driving the kids crazy,” as she organised the shelves, noting that recent days have witnessed a spike in foot traffic.

According to Hylton Bannon, executive director of South African toy retailer chain Toy Kingdom, the obsession has reached people of all ages, with Barbies in all skin tones enjoying good sales.

“We’ve got little girls coming in, but there are also adults who are collectors,” Dannon told AFP, noting that sales last week were twice as high as they were during the same time period in 2017.

An increasing segment of the industry is made up of “kidults,” adults who purchase toys “for comfort” and “to reconnect with their inner child,” according to Jacoby of Toys R Us.

In 1959, Mattel debuted the first Barbie. Since then, the toy manufacturer has greatly expanded its selection with dolls with various skin tones and body types.

Bannon noted that since its 1980 release, the first black Barbie doll “has always done well” in South Africa.

With $155 million in weekend box office receipts, the Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling-starring film “Barbie” had 2023’s biggest opening in North America.

Influencers and celebrities in all shades of pink attended a South African premiere last week in Johannesburg. They took selfies in a special Barbie box photo booth, which went viral on social media.

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