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View Full Version : Pricing Gripe.....



Bacta Beast
08-12-2007, 12:00 PM
I realize that this subject has already been discussed (in the forums and in Hasbro's Q&A) and I'm sure I'll draw some criticism, but having just purchased some of the excellent new 25th anniversary G.I.JOE figures I find myself once again screaming in head the question; "Why do STAR WARS figures have to cost so much"?!!!!
I realize the licensing aspect is going to add cost, but after looking at all the detail, accessories and articulation in the JOE line, I refuse to accept the argument that increased articulation has to mean higher price tag (granted a little)!
I especially have a problem with the LEGENDS being so high whem they're all repacks (with slite paint changes here and there).
Stores in my area are charging $4.99 for JOEs (vintage packaging, extra articulation, cool accessories, great new sculpts and a stand) and $6.99 for LEGENDs. Consider the ROTS super articulated Clonetrooper. Here is a re-used sculpt, less articulation then a JOE, less paint application then when he was originally released, and at least a dollar more. It just seems to me that they could get away with LEGENDs at 4.99 and TAC at $5.99.
And, I hate the angled elbow cuts! I would personally prefer a straight arm, with no articulation over that.
Okay, attack.....

TheDarthVader
08-12-2007, 01:44 PM
I feel you bro. They try to explain why it is costing the consumer so much, but, in the end, it does not make sense to most consumers. I believe sw figures are overpriced too. I mean you can get a premium 12" figure from sideshow for around $50, and those are heads and feet above a hasbro sw figure. In other words, you can get 7 hasbro sw figures or a premium sideshow 12" figure. I would go with the ss figure if you asked me. I have decided to downsize my hasbro sw figure buying. From now on, I only buy jabba palace figures, mcquarrie figures, cantina figures, and droids. That is all I am going to buy in the 30th line because I have had enough of hasbro's scalping. I firmy believe they are screwin' us.

So, all in all, I agree with you.

figrin bran
08-12-2007, 01:54 PM
There's one Target near me that is selling the Joe singles for $7.99 while TAC is $6.99 at that store and Saga Legends $7.64.

Kidhuman
08-12-2007, 04:16 PM
According to Hasbro, they set an MSRP which hasnt changed in years. Stores make up their own price points on them. I figure an MSRP has to be around 5 bucks considering the ROTS figures were less than that at WM(4.88). Since then the prices have rose every year.

The legends line is my biggest gripe considering they are all repacks and molds are made for them already. They should be at least $.50 cheaper than the regular line. I wish they wouyld do away with the Legends line altogether since it is usually repacks that I dont want. The clones are going to be repacked anyway, so the line is pretty much useless. They keep cranking out Vader, Lukes and HAns that we have tons of and they end up warming. I strill have 6 pegs full of lst years stuff around here and it is annoying since they wont clearance them out.

If you want to be more technical, battlepacks cost 20 bucks with 5 figures(4 bucks a pop) and we are on the verge of paying double that for a single carded figure.

darko666
08-12-2007, 04:34 PM
Stores in my area are charging $4.99 for JOEs (vintage packaging, extra articulation, cool accessories, great new sculpts and a stand)

what the hell, the stores around me are charging $6.99 for JOE figures. i haven't seen a figure go for $4.99 since i was a kid. i remember when JOEs only costs $2 or $3. those were good times.

JediTricks
08-12-2007, 11:28 PM
The Target in North Hollywood is charging $5.99 for the Joe singles, so I'm surprised to hear $4.99 anywhere.

Honestly, it is about licensing, and about how much market share the line already commands. Star Wars is sitting higher, more people are going to buy it, so they're going to milk it for every last penny; Joe is on a downturn and needs to attract a new market, overcharging will only drive them away.

That said, I think SW is at least a buck too pricey right now, and it leads to less casual purchasing from every type of collector I've seen (except scalpers) - that's bad for the line.

Kithaba
08-15-2007, 03:08 AM
You guys seriously have nothing to moan about. If you were Australian, you'd have to pay about US$12.50 for each TAC figure if you were dumb enough to buy them from an equivalent shop to WalMart or Target. I had a look in my local store the other day and couldn't believe my eyes at the prices they charge here. They're charging about AU$15 a piece. It's disgusting.

TheRealDubya
08-15-2007, 05:34 PM
I think it's whatever the market will support. If the Bro suddenly saw a huge slide in Star Wars sales and heard price gripes from retailers AND us, I'll bet they would do something to help get the prices down (less packaging, less big accessories...something that packaging-wise looked more like the Joe's 25th.) I think the overall $7 per fig cost is meant to offset the cost of the larger figures (think Hermie Odle, Yoda with Kybuck, McQuarrie Chewie and Pre-Cyborg Greivous) and large accessories (moisture evaporator, bar sections, Umpass Stay's drum, the LIN droid), so that those figures, which might ordinarily retail at a "deluxe" price point (say $10) can fit into the mainline pricing schedule. And I would bet that, overall, outside of adult collectors, the Saga Legends are the economic engine of the line -- roughly the equivalent of the vintage line always having a Han, Vader and Tatooine Luke on the shelves. So while the pegs get frustrating for us frequent store visitors (three to five trips a week) they are mana for moms shopping for birthdays or the forthcoming holiday season. If I have to cut costs elsewhere in my luxury budget to make room for the product I want, I do it. If they hit $9 or $10 a pop, I would drop the line immediately. I'll buy close to 80 figures this year, which is about $600 for the year, or $50 a month. Not so bad. For completists or those who buy two of each, it's a brutal amount of money.

Devo
08-15-2007, 06:58 PM
You guys seriously have nothing to moan about. If you were Australian, you'd have to pay about US$12.50 for each TAC figure if you were dumb enough to buy them from an equivalent shop to WalMart or Target. I had a look in my local store the other day and couldn't believe my eyes at the prices they charge here. They're charging about AU$15 a piece. It's disgusting.

Same price in Ireland. US$12 at retail for the figures that actually make it to the regular toy store shelves (the typical pegwarmers). Dearer than that in specialist comic book/sci-fi stores and online stores like R2dtoys for all figures on initial release and then those figures that are harder to find in stores.

Kithaba
08-15-2007, 10:53 PM
Same price in Ireland. US$12 at retail for the figures that actually make it to the regular toy store shelves (the typical pegwarmers). Dearer than that in specialist comic book/sci-fi stores and online stores like R2dtoys for all figures on initial release and then those figures that are harder to find in stores.

Yeah. It's us international buyers that bear the brunt of the cost. I could understand why they would be a bit more expensive but not over twice the price of US-bought figs. And then you hear the Yanks moaning about their piddling little 6 bucks or whatever! They don't know they're born ;)

JediTricks
08-16-2007, 02:42 AM
It's apples and oranges, your Hasbro divisions have to import tiny amounts into specialty shops because your countries don't have very many buyers, as low as in the hundreds, so it's going to cost more to offset the lack of bulk sales and the heavy price of shipping in smaller batches. Basically, your countries have no market to speak of so they can charge whatever because they're more novelties.

Meanwhile, the US is the chief market for these things and buys hundreds of times as many units and gets large shipments that lower costs, so it's gonna cost less here. Plus, unlike the small foreign markets, Hasbro US is actively courting a larger, casual-consumer demographic so they can't go and price themselves right out of that market (well, they apparently can try to, as we're seeing now).

That's not to say you're not paying a lot of money, just that it's not "oh, you guys in the US don't know how good you have it" because the entire market and marketing strategy is so different that they don't mean the same thing.


The reason we're paying $7 right now isn't to offset bigger basic figures or larger accessories, Hasbro's pushing the budget on that stuff actually and it's supposedly a problem. No, the reason is that the line went up to $7 back in the TSC line when they were riding high off increased market interest from ROTS and they had to offset the new license with Lucas.

Kithaba
08-16-2007, 11:28 AM
But the figures are expensive from the outset and always have been. It's not like they even tested the market at a reasonable retail price in the 1st place. How do they know there's no market for them in our countries? I'm sure there are plenty collectors here and plenty kids who would buy them from shops like Target if they were priced like the plastic toys they are. Maybe if they sold the figures at a reasonable price people would actually buy them. But at US$12.50 a figure, why would anyone buy them, target market or not?! Especially when you can get the same one on ebay for less than half the price (even when you factor in international postage), and you get more choice - not just pegwarmers.

I'm sure you're right that the marketing strategy has to be a bit different here than in the States, and I can understand why they'd be more expensive here due to shipping costs etc, but really, c'mon, $12.50 is just laughably unfair, is it not? Apples, oranges or whatever. If there was ever any market for figures over here, they've gone and priced themselves out of it.

Then the shops wonder why the figures stay on the pegs, and they end up refusing to sell them because they can't shift them. :rolleyes:

I don't think I buy the idea that the cost is purely down to the lack of demand. It's got to be partly down to corporate greed too.

Kithaba
08-16-2007, 11:37 AM
PS, if they're supposedly a novelty, why are they on pegs in my local suburban Target toy section???

jedi master sal
08-16-2007, 11:49 AM
Much of it really does come down to sales and bluk rate shipping.
IIRC, sales for domestic (USA) SW toys was more than triple (maybe quadruple, I can't recall that part correctly) than foreign (Rest of the world). So it stands to reason that because we do buy so much and there is a much better distribution system here in the U.S. (even though we still complain about it), that figures would be that much cheaper for us in comparison to the rest of the world.

That still doesn't mean we U.S. consumers don't have a right to gripe when the price escalates. Heck I really miss the days of $5 figures. Articulation has improved much over the last 3 years, so it's expected there would be a cost overhaul. However I think the average U S. SW collector just didn't expect it to be as much. Going from $5 to $7 in just a few years was a big jump, nearly 150%. Hasbro saw that that price didn't work for EPI figures for U.S. consumers. So, they had to up the ante by giving us better figures, mostly in the form of articulation. This price flucuation is a bit extreme when 25 years ago we were paying $3 for SW figures. So in just a few years they've gone up $2 per figure, where as before the prequels it took at least 10 years (between 1985-1995) to go up by $2.

Just because we have it cheaper here in the U.S. than everyone else, doesn't mean we have to like or agree with price hikes.

TheRealDubya
08-16-2007, 12:33 PM
The reason we're paying $7 right now isn't to offset bigger basic figures or larger accessories, Hasbro's pushing the budget on that stuff actually and it's supposedly a problem. No, the reason is that the line went up to $7 back in the TSC line when they were riding high off increased market interest from ROTS and they had to offset the new license with Lucas.

I had thought I read in one of the Q&A's that Hasbro said the Saga line was more expensive to balance out of the increased costs of the mainline. I could be mistaken though.

Yeah, that licensing royalty must be pretty extreme. It seems like they lost their shirt on the Spider-Man 3 line...

dindae
08-16-2007, 02:39 PM
The MSRP was raised to $7 around the POTC days. The big stores went below that and offered the price of $6 and then decided to bring it back up after EIII interest subsided. I did pick up Snakeeyes and Storm Shadow the other day because the price was $4.88 at my Wal-Mart. I wish I could see the math because of things like this. I know that the liscencing is huge for SW and the Joes use the same articulation on most every figure. I just don't know if that is equal to $1 a figure increase on manufacturer cost (I'm assuming that the $2 cost increase is $1 cost $1 retail markup). But look at My Little Pony 10 molds no articulation with different colors and a new symbol on the butt $5. So maybe GI Joe is trying a low price to grab new fans. Certainly these are the first figures that I felt they have really put any quality into.

Sinscia Fat'o
08-16-2007, 06:08 PM
I got the new joes for 4.99 a figure at wal-mart, though kay bee had them for 6.99...star wars figures go from 6.63 at wal-mart (on average with discounts ETC.) while at Kay-Bee they ranged on average of about 6.99 a figure...No targets around me well about two hours away not worth wasteing gas on that when i can just order from EE and get them for about the same price as retail.

But hasbro is scalping us and they have been for years! I left the hobby around Episode Two after those figures i was done...i took back alot of what i bought and called it a day. the price point was horriable when compared to the quality of the product. Though episode three caught my attention...and i started gradually back into buying the ones i liked...the OTC sucked a bunch of repacks, and the new figures were hard to find...20 bucks a piece i've paid for all of them but Yaura the wookie senator. So i've been back and fourth with star wars collecting for a very long time, as i do love the star wars story collecting as been a hassle, but i'm still doing it off and on so i must get something out of it.

Though like someone else said if you want quality for your buck go side show. They're figures rock! and they're a ton more collectiable than hasbros stuff.

JediTricks
08-17-2007, 01:37 AM
But the figures are expensive from the outset and always have been. It's not like they even tested the market at a reasonable retail price in the 1st place. How do they know there's no market for them in our countries? I'm sure there are plenty collectors here and plenty kids who would buy them from shops like Target if they were priced like the plastic toys they are. Maybe if they sold the figures at a reasonable price people would actually buy them. But at US$12.50 a figure, why would anyone buy them, target market or not?! Especially when you can get the same one on ebay for less than half the price (even when you factor in international postage), and you get more choice - not just pegwarmers.That's something Hasbro Australia deals with, either they're inept or they know their jobs and we're overestimating the interest. Consider this (it's a vague comparison since Europe ain't Australia, but Australia's not had a convention of this kind), Star Wars Celebration Europe was a pretty low turnout from what I've heard, compare that to SW Celebration IV - which was only 2 years after the last one even though this one had no movie to advertise - where the turnout was the biggest ever supposedly, so is it reasonable to assume that the number of British Star Wars collectors is comparable to even half the US market? No, of course not, there it's much more a niche market.

And keep in mind, figures for non-US release require specialized packaging which means printing up separate cards or stickers to go over the cards than the US, that's going to be a little more expensive too. From what I hear, Australia got burned on Ep 1 product pretty bad, perhaps they're gunshy about it now.


Not seeing how you can get figures on ebay with international shipping for less than $6.25 US though, that's just not realistic from what I can tell - I've shipped a few things overseas, it's ridiculously expensive what with the various fees and the shipping charge itself.


I'm sure you're right that the marketing strategy has to be a bit different here than in the States, and I can understand why they'd be more expensive here due to shipping costs etc, but really, c'mon, $12.50 is just laughably unfair, is it not? Apples, oranges or whatever. If there was ever any market for figures over here, they've gone and priced themselves out of it. I never said it was fair, I just said it wasn't reasonable to compare those issues and prices in Australia to that of the US. I mean, if you want to get technical, we have to take the tumbling value of the US dollar into consideration here as well, a figure that used to cost $8 to ensure profitability for Hasbro US now is going to worth less at the current exchange rate. But then my head starts spinning.



PS, if they're supposedly a novelty, why are they on pegs in my local suburban Target toy section???I can't speak for Australian Target, they're a different chain from American Target, but American Target carries plants that grow statements in the toy aisle and talking Family Guy pens in the toy aisle - they carry novelties where they think the market is trending, but they don't go whole-hog with it.



I had thought I read in one of the Q&A's that Hasbro said the Saga line was more expensive to balance out of the increased costs of the mainline. I could be mistaken though.Not exactly, it was more complicated than that... It was our question, here's what they told us on Aug 3rd:
Q: In your response to the question of individual figure pricing in battle packs vs basic figure single cards, you stated that one of the major factors as to why the figures in Battle Packs can often be produced for less per unit is because the tooling for them already exists and thus doesn't factor into the cost of reusing it - that argument is consistent with prior comments made by Hasbro about costs and mold development. Since that is the case, why is it that the various recent Greatest Hits basic figure lines such as Saga Legends have been the same MSRP as the new, non-refresh, basic main-line figures?
A: The SRP for all basic figures is the same, whether or not they are 30th Anniv or Saga Legends. If we reduced the price of Saga Legends, it would draw an unfavorable (and confusing to the average consumer) value comparison to the 30th line. We want to keep our tooling budget healthy for our mainline figures, and pricing parity helps protect our ability to deliver more new figures like we have been doing this year.

Yeah, that licensing royalty must be pretty extreme. It seems like they lost their shirt on the Spider-Man 3 line...That Marvel license is just about to bite them in the back, from what the news had been reporting lately, but I'm hoping it'll be deferred across a longer period (one of Hasbro's reorganization efforts after the disaster of Ep 1 was to ensure that no 1 line ever took more than 10% of the company's resources in manufacturing or any other area).



The MSRP was raised to $7 around the POTC days. The big stores went below that and offered the price of $6 and then decided to bring it back up after EIII interest subsided. Exactly, here's what Hasbro told us at CIV:
SSG: Do you actually have an MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price)? In our online Q&A sessions, we try to avoid getting the answer of "the retailer sets the price" by specifying our questions about MSRP, but it doesn't always work.
DD: We do. Actually, the law requires it, it prevents us doing anything other than suggesting a price. We cannot go to a retailer and say "your price is too high" because it's a violation of the Free Trade act, it's the retailers' right to set the prices they want. We negotiate our deal with the retailer, and then it's their product to decide what to do with. It's a popular one we hear. We haven't raised our price on basic figures in three years.
SSG: That actually leads to another question, during the Revenge of the Sith line, collectors saw price drops from all the retailers and assumed that was your price drop, and when the price of basic figures went back up at retail...
DD: Well, how that works too, as a retailer they have what's called "loss leaders" or "promoted items" where they lower prices to get customers to come in the door to buy one thing on special and then maybe buy other things as well - that's their decision, the retailer has chosen this to get them in. What we saw with Episode III basic figures is that they were a runaway smash of the year, so everybody was saying "I need to get a piece of that". And you have competition, one sees another doing that and does it too, and then they stayed there for a long time - that was what surprised everybody I think. But that's all on their (the retailers') side, they decide what they can afford to do to bring people in, and that's why you see when Star Wars figures continue to be hot like they have been, you'll see people easing prices to leverage to get traffic in, and all the other retailers watch what each other's doing.
SSG: Do you discourage this practice in a long-term effect so you don't have the incorrect perceptions on the fans' part about the MSRP going up and down? (Sorry, they can't all be gems folks! It was a spur-of-the-moment question, we were on a conversational roll.)
DD: (chuckling) I dunno, that's a great problem to have, selling more product, figures are in demand, everybody wins because they get people in, the effects of the promotion are felt.

I did pick up Snakeeyes and Storm Shadow the other day because the price was $4.88 at my Wal-Mart. I wish I could see the math because of things like this. I know that the liscencing is huge for SW and the Joes use the same articulation on most every figure. I just don't know if that is equal to $1 a figure increase on manufacturer cost (I'm assuming that the $2 cost increase is $1 cost $1 retail markup). But look at My Little Pony 10 molds no articulation with different colors and a new symbol on the butt $5. So maybe GI Joe is trying a low price to grab new fans. Certainly these are the first figures that I felt they have really put any quality into.I've so far only seen the Joes at $6, not $5, but you're not the first to say it's that... I'm just unlucky I guess. :p

Hasbro's always built in mold-recycling values with GI Joe, that's essentially what put them on the map in the '60s and it's what made the RAH line possible in the '80s - the first wave of RAH figures were like 8 heads and 7 body parts all shared. :p

Anyway, as you pointed out, there are licensing costs involved, they can be pretty steep. But there's also sculpting costs, the GI Joe line isn't based on a preexisting product, they can sculpt Snake Eyes' helmet super tiny for all the want and not worry that Lucasfilm's going to send it back to the design stage saying it's inaccurate - there's a lot more freedom in that respect. So you take all that and compare it to TAC, and I think it fits pretty well. If you compare it to the Vintage-style lines though... but we all know that's a bit of a scam. ;)

El Chuxter
08-17-2007, 02:39 AM
"DD: We do. Actually, the law requires it, it prevents us doing anything other than suggesting a price. We cannot go to a retailer and say "your price is too high" because it's a violation of the Free Trade act, it's the retailers' right to set the prices they want. We negotiate our deal with the retailer, and then it's their product to decide what to do with. It's a popular one we hear. We haven't raised our price on basic figures in three years."

Then why is it that videogame manufacturers can require a specific price on units? Remember when some retailer sold the NES for $89.99 during a sale (instead of $99.99)? It was in violation of some agreement, and not only did the chain get fined, but they actually had to send $10 refunds to anyone who could prove they bought it at the lower price and followed up on it. (Yeah, this means technically, they got 'em for even less--$79.99--but I think Nintendo just wanted to teach the chain a painful lesson.)

JediTricks
08-17-2007, 03:46 PM
First off, way to stay current with a piece of evidence from 20 years ago. :p

So, here's how the FTC explains it:
Q: Shopping for a stereo loudspeaker made by Sound Corporation, I couldn’t find a dealer who would sell it for less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Isn’t that price-fixing?
A: The key is evidence of an agreement. If the manufacturer and a dealer entered into an agreement on a resale price or minimum price, that would be a price-fixing violation. The agreement could be formal, through a contract, or informal, when the dealer’s compliance is coerced. However, if the manufacturer has established a policy that its dealers should not sell below a minimum price level, and the dealers have independently decided to follow that policy, there is no violation.



http://www.ftc.gov/bc/compguide/question.htm

Kithaba
08-20-2007, 08:44 AM
Not seeing how you can get figures on ebay with international shipping for less than $6.25 US though, that's just not realistic from what I can tell - I've shipped a few things overseas, it's ridiculously expensive what with the various fees and the shipping charge itself.

I'm a collector of loose figures, not carded. Last lot of figures I got cost me US$2.99 per figure, and I paid an amount which worked out at just over $1 each for postage to Australia because I bought in bulk. This is the only way I can afford to collect given that I live in Australia and the retail prices in shops here are so high. At that price on ebay, why wouldn't I shop that way instead of going to my local store?

Kidhuman
08-20-2007, 03:06 PM
If you get a lot of figures, it makes total sense to do it that way. I would do it and have done it.

JediTricks
08-20-2007, 04:36 PM
I'm a collector of loose figures, not carded. Last lot of figures I got cost me US$2.99 per figure, and I paid an amount which worked out at just over $1 each for postage to Australia because I bought in bulk. This is the only way I can afford to collect given that I live in Australia and the retail prices in shops here are so high. At that price on ebay, why wouldn't I shop that way instead of going to my local store?
Ok, but we weren't talking about lots or loose figures. We were talking about new, individual figures. Lots are a totally different animal in this regard.

Kithaba
08-20-2007, 10:19 PM
Yeah, but I think my point was that, as a loose figure collector, I'd be happier if I could buy carded and then open them. Buying off ebay loose is very hitty-missy. However, I can't buy carded, because they're prohibitively expensive to buy carded in my local store.

Never mind...