When Barbie was first introduced by the Mattel toy company in 1959, few people could have predicted how popular the doll would become.
Barbie, whose full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts, began as an 11.5-inch version of a young, suburban, blonde-haired, white female. She debuted at the New York Toy Fair on March 9, 1959, and the doll sold for $3 that year.
Since then, more than 1 billion Barbies have been sold in over 150 countries, making Barbie l one of the most popular toys of all time.
As the 60th birthday of Barbie nears, 24/7 Wall St. has created a list of the most popular Barbie dolls. We used average ratings of the most reviewed Barbie dolls on Amazon.com to determine popularity.
Mattel enhanced Barbie’s popularity by associating the doll with popular television shows such as “Charlie’s Angels” in the 1970s and to special events like the Kentucky Derby horse race. The toy company also created Barbies from different nations.
Over time, Mattel created Barbies with different hair colors and skin tone to reflect the diversity of the United States.
Barbie’s idealized body shape also came under scrutiny, and in response, the doll’s makers created different body types for a Barbie that is more realistic.
Even as overall toy sales have declined, Barbie remains popular. Sales of the doll rose 9% in the fourth quarter of 2017 and are about $1 billion annually.