Though perennial holiday queen Barbie was dethroned last week in an annual survey ranking the season’s hottest toys, global toy-making powerhouse Mattel Inc. of El Segundo says it’s not worried.
After all, the company’s marquee Barbie doll was beaten out by another toy line also made by Mattel, at least for now: Merchandise from Walt Disney Co.’s movie “Frozen,” which includes dolls, was the top pick in the list of most popular girl toys for the upcoming holiday season.
“Frozen” toys topped the National Retail Federation’s annual Holiday Top Toys Survey, with 20 percent of consumers surveyed choosing items from “Frozen” and less than 17 percent choosing Barbie. It was the first time in 11 years – basically the life of the survey – that a doll line other than Barbie has been in the No. 1 spot. But Alex Clark, a Mattel spokesman, said the survey is just that – a survey.
“It is not a reflection of actual sales,” he said. “It’s a subtle but important difference.”
Regardless of which is No. 1, Mattel will reap the rewards from the popularity of both toy lines this holiday season and next. It has owned the licensing rights to the “Frozen” toy line since Burbank’s Walt Disney Co. released the hit animated movie last year.
“We’re happy we own licenses to both and feel it’s a very positive story,” Clark said.
But Mattel won’t own the rights to “Frozen” toys much longer. In 2016, licensing rights to that and other Disney princess films will shift to Mattel rival Hasbro Inc. of Pawtucket, R.I. Even so, Clark said that means Hasbro won’t get those toys until two more holiday shopping seasons have come and gone.
“Frozen is going to be an evergreen property for Disney and will always be a very popular line,” Clark said, “but it’s also safe to assume it’s popularity will decrease after this year.”
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