Price and Prejudice – why is black Barbie dearer than white Barbie?

November 28th, 2015

I noticed that my daughter’s letter to Santa included a request for a ‘Barbie doll’. I thought I’d help Santa out by doing some research. I was pleased to see that this type of doll had come along way since I was Franky’s age. I was shocked to see the price differentiation.

The ‘I can be president’ white blonde doll costs £12.95, the Asian doll with the same aspiration costs £79.24 and the same Black doll costs £97.65

It’s ironic that as a cash strapped mum I was searching for a bargain on ‘Black Friday’. I certainly got less than I bargained for as the Indian Barbie I wanted cost between £80 and £136.

I posted all of this on Facebook and got more WTF comments than I had seen before along with comments from economist parents who put it down to popularity driving price. But one of my friends wondered about the production costs, asking “What are the differences and then what is the mark up, profit on each doll per unit?”

Of course the price difference will and must impact on the popularity and therefore the sales.

So come on Barbie manufacturers! You at least acknowledge that Barbie can be more than just a glamour model. Since I last owned one they come in lots of nationalities and even aspire to be president. Now let’s have some equity of price so that our toys can help smash the gender and diversity glass ceiling by representing the little girls that own them.