View Full Version : What do you think the recession is going to do to the future of the toy market?

11-01-2008, 12:19 PM
Hasbro releases 2 of their biggest vehicles: the AT-TE and the Millennium Falcon - taking the chance that they'll sell the rare $100 and $150 items they seldom offer.

Their lead time on such 2008 toys must have had them initiating it since 2005 or so, when all-time-record-sales for SW were peaking following ROTS.

Probably, an AT-TE wouldn't have been in the works prior to its debut in 2002's AOTC - but could have been due to the sharing of concept art. Still, Hasbro's denials of an AT-TE even at the 2003 Comic Con seemed to honestly indicate we were not getting one.

2004 was an OT year, and the BMF project was either not even initiated, or not ready to go yet. In any event, the OT year served to test the market for OT product and it did very well. Production that year was obviously geared for the next year's ROTS release, so the BMF couldn't start to see further work until 2005 at the earliest. I'm sure that by 2006, it was in full-gear, for its 2008 release.

These things being said, lead time looks to be at least 2 years on this big stuff - and Hasbro has told us so much anyway.

Now, unless they are looking at 2010 forecasts that say we'll all be richer and flush with credit again, I don't think they are developing things like Jabba's Sailbarge, a Blockade Runner, or a TurboTank. Does anyone think that would be a smart investment (on the tooling for such a product) right now?

In fact, SW is hitting the bottom of the barrel for new figures as well. You can repeat all the characters we already have in cartoon-style, but many of us are not buying (I'm not - I don't want to make room for more stuff. I want to make dioramas from the stuff I already have, and just take my time to enjoy that. I've ran to Targets and Wal-Marts for 13 years and have tired of that.) Ashoka is about the only new character the hobby has to offer - and she doesn't rest well with a lot of us. (Oh, and The Force Unleashed turned into a big timing fiasco, else it might have been more popular as an action figure subline.)

I'm not sure how it is for other people, but my other toy lines are not too inspiring either. For me, that's Star Trek, Transformers, and Terminator.

With Trek, the jury is still out on how the new movie will rate and few have seen what the toy line will be like. Most here are not Trek fans anyway, I gather. (Playmates has the license). Diamond continues to hold all other Trek figure licenses for past Treks, but I've never really been interesed in TNG or Voyager toys, so that leaves only 3/5 of the possible franchise to hold any interest for me. I order the occasional item from NewForcecomics.com as there are few brick-and-mortar outlets for Star Trek toys.

With Transformers, sublines- like the animated - are dominant right now, with what had passed for the mainline being some kind of sub-conglomerate of all previous lines' characters. A foreign-order Masterpiece Grimlock might tempt me, though it's doubtful, as I find the case for Dinobots doubtful anyway. I will wait to see what products might come of the next Michael Bay movie or if Alternators will ever make a comeback. I wasn't buying Transformers since the 1980's until Alternators came onto the scene in 2003 or so anyway.

For Terminator, I have the McFarlane statue-like pieces, though I hear Playmates is going to run a cool Future Wars toyline. I'll wait to see what that's like, but I might just stop to look but not buy. We'll have to wait and see.

There are other temptations, like Hot Toys Batman products, but having the space for it, and yeilding to another distraction even, are other concerns besides the money. But as cash is king, we still have to wonder if this economy will destroy the toy hobby as we've come to know it over the past 13 years or so that we've been into it (so far as Star Wars concerns us).

It'd be interesting to read some others' thoughts about this.

11-01-2008, 02:49 PM
I personally got burnt out a little while back.....and it's hard to think about spending money on collectables when I just want to get rid of the debt I have, school loans.

11-01-2008, 02:57 PM
Interestingly enough, China wants to get out of the toy manufacturing business. They don't want the low-tech, low-paying jobs. Perhaps now would be a good time for us to take some jobs back and do something for the economy here.

11-01-2008, 03:04 PM
They don't want the low-tech, low-paying jobs. Perhaps now would be a good time for us to take some jobs back and do something for the economy here.

Hmm, low-tech, low-paying jobs probably won't do much for the economy.:p

11-01-2008, 05:10 PM
Turn that around: the very notion of a high-tech, specialized worker is by definition, someone who has been in school and trained for a long time, and then developed themselves from experience.

I suppose they work in fields like improving microchip processing or in medical equipment design and engineering (since we're talking manufacturing and not focusing on service-sector jobs, where the high-techs would be the doctors for example).

But populations will continue growing. Thus, there will still be fewer good jobs for a smaller percentage of the population that can successfully compete for them in whatever country that can grow these high skill level jobs.

As to lower-wage, lower-skilled work, such as manufacturing action figures? In terms of making gains in employment wherever those jobs land, that will do some good, at the most minimal level. Consumers will be able to continue to at least marginally consume while they mostly pay the interest on their credit.

As long as populations continue to grow, children will feed a demand for entertainment products, and action figures might still have some footing. The subject matter might shift its focus though - or stay the same. This thread is actively wondering that very question. If it stays the same, Star Wars might continue, but with DUMPING almost all of us as we sicken of resculpts or the next anime version of characters like Darth Vader that we already have 332 versions of. That is fine, as I've seen it suggested that we'd buy the new product for our children as we consider it a safe brand even if we ourselves have lost interest.

An offshoot of that development might be the decline of the old guard Star Wars fan sites, and the rise of new ones - run by the excited new fans who don't want to be brought down by our tiring with the license.

13 years is a pretty good run for a lot of us in our 30's today. Coupled with the vintage days back in the 80's, we've experienced 2/3 of our lives as a Star Wars CHILD (buying toys for little kids). That's not bad. It's more than any generation prior to us has ever been allotted. We should count ourselves fortunate.

However, is the contraction of our global economy part of the natural course of business cycling, or something worse that the generations that came before us brought upon us, thereby threatening to end our previously endless childhood?

11-02-2008, 10:58 AM
Hmm, low-tech, low-paying jobs probably won't do much for the economy.:p

If we're making and selling the toys and we've got the market share of production, then I think it might just be good for the economy! :love:$2 is better than $0!

11-23-2008, 03:31 PM
Well, how does Star Wars look for our immediate future?


Trinto Duaba w. Dice Ebegon
Obi-Wan ANH
Han Trooper
Luke Trooper
WED-151 w. Jawa

Captain Needa
Luke Medical Frigate
Leia Medical Frigate
Ugnaught (s)

More. - Figures look to be OK. Rumors also suggest 2 more Obi-Wans as there was an Evolutions set broken up into carded figures, so I'm sure one is TPM and one is probably AOTC. (ROTS has been available to the point of overstock)

Surprisingly, I don't usually see any Darth Vaders on the pegs, so I'm sure we'll get another one.:rolleyes:

Galactic Heroes has:

Representative Binks
Padme Droid Factory
AOTC Clone
Dwarf Spider Droid
Luminara Undulli
Super Battle Droid
Snowspeeder Vehicle

Comic 2-packs have:
Quinlan Vos and Faie
DE Palpatine and DE Luke
Wedge and Fey'lya
Sharad Hett and Ki-Adi Mundi
Luke and Deena
Ibatisam and Vkil
Lt. Sunber and Amanin
Ewok 3-pack

Vehicles / scenes:

Skiff and Sarlaac
Yavin Base with Red Leader, Droid, Rebel Tech and Pilot Transport

Exclusive Multi-Packs

Joker Squad and Quarren Sith from Legacy

Overall, this seems stronger than the start of the TAC wave in 2007, and definitely ahead of the curve for figures in 2008 - but 2008 was strong for vehicles with the V-19, Grievous' fighter, the AT-AP, and the Homing Spider, let alone the BMF and the AT-TE. Hasbro might rest on their laurels for the vehicles to wait out the recession, as I don't think I've recalled seeing the 2008 vehicles be too available in-stock at the brick-and-mortar stores, so Hasbro might want to sell a lot more units. Hard to say if the BMF or the AT-TE move, as they are large ticket items that wouldn't sell as frequently as their tested $20 pricepoint vehicles.

Now it remains to be seen whether China can keep open its plastics manufacturing plants that Hasbro subcontracts with, so they keep churning out figures. And if it is economical to order and ship a ton of them over here to the USA if consumption is down. But IS toy consumption down? We are entering the Christmas season and families that may not have been able to make toy purchases previously, might spend so as to clear out the items most of us purchased on July 26.

Meanwhile, SideShow collectors have complained about everything coming out at once: Vader, Stormtrooper, Rebel Fleet Trooper, Ki-Adi Mundi, Utopau Trooper, and some Indiana Jones products amongst other things. As I didn't order any but 2 of these, I'm not sure how intense the actual billing and shipping dates are on all of this stuff - but I've noticed postings suggesting that it will be a financial squeeze on many collectors at a difficult time.

What do you think of the state of the toy industry at this juncture?

11-23-2008, 03:59 PM
Everyone is sitting on the discussion is oil. Toys are plastic which is derived from OIL which are shipped on DIESEL fueled cargo containers and than trucked to stores. While there is an oil dip right now, probably a precursor to more systemic deflations, the price is only going to go up from here.

11-23-2008, 04:52 PM
China's emerging middle class will refuse to make toys anymore at such low wages, inflation hits the toy market, all the toys we have hoarded over the years suddenly become scarce and then we all can begrudgeoningly become toy profiteers, because everybody wants them, but they can't have them...no, not till they pry my cold dead fingers off of them, and if I die with the most toys I win! :crazed: