Funko Conquers the Collectors World Pt 1
Funko POPS have become the hottest collectible on the market. New releases come each week and new announcements come monthly, if not weekly. Exclusives are a major part of the POP drive and more exclusives are expected to come. Now how does this impact the market? How does this impact the average collector? We will look into these questions and more with our special two part report! Read on for more!
Funko has become a juggernaut of a company and one of their staple items is the Funko POP. These little vinyl collectibles have blown up and truth be told, they are a major staple at conventions across the country. Booth after booth will have some POPS for sale and some dealers only specialize in these collectibles. Funko offers other items such as Dorbz, ReAction, Legacy and much more! The only item to really take off was the POPS and here is why:
- 1- They are licensed collectibles
- 2- They share a uniformed look
- 3- The price point in near perfect
- 4- Easy to display
- 5- There is something for everyone
- 6- Exclusives, Exclusives, and more Exclusives
Some have compared Funko POPS to Beanie Babies. As you might know Beanie Babies was a hot commodity back in the 1990’s and collectors sunk a ton of cash into the line. Unlike POPS, these were little stuffed animals, which never had the licensing power that Funko has. Selected Beanies were retired and prices shot up overnight. The overall market did crash and collectors who had valuable collections realized they were worthless. The magic bubble burst and now you can get Beanie Babies for pennies on the dollar. The one thing that we fear is POPS market could burst and we would be looking at the same situation all over again.
POPS are indeed the Beanie Baby of the 2000’s but there is a major difference; these are licensed characters. Funko has a vast library of characters, TV shows, movies, animation, comics and much more they can pull from. Anyone who is in the geek scene will find something that perks their interest. If you like X-Men, Star Wars, Marvel, DC, or any major movie, Funko will have something for you.
The first Funko POP(S) came out at SDCC 2010 and that release caused a firestorm that we now have. Pops were relatively a new concept and Funko was well known for their Bobble head figures. These were very different and no one, not even Funko could have predicted their success. It’s hard to believe that these little guys changed the collectors market that was dominated by action figures.
Now we are not going to go to deep in the history of Funko nor the history of the POP, what we want to do is look at the lasting effects on the market; both good and bad. Let’s look at our first question, how does this affect the market? Right now Funko dominates the overall market due to shear volume. More POPS are released than any other toy line and exclusives are everywhere. In the early days, select retailers such as Hot Topic were the only outlet for POPS, minus conventions. As time progressed, more and more retailers started to carry the line. This brought a ton of attention to POPS and even casual collectors started to get interested in them. For example, Star Wars collectors would be more inclined to pick these up due to the theme and most completists had to get them.
The concept is simple and the time to get these from production to retail is much shorter than other toy lines. They also use the same style body construction. This leads to a more unified line look and no matter who you have, they will fit in the collection. Sure, some require new sculpting but they still share the same basic style.
This leads into the domination of the market. Collectors like unified looks and simple ways to display their collections. The first releases were in bubble packs and were quickly changed to the box style we all know now. This made it easy for fans to display their goods. Plus if you wanted to take the POP out of the box, it was just a matter of pulling the POP out. Funko made storage simple for the line, both boxed and unboxed. The sheer number of licenses makes POPS one of the richest toy lines of the 2000’s and that alone enables Funko to control a major part of the market.
The average collector will have at least 15-20 POPS in their collection. This goes back to the last point we made; the licenses. Funko has an extensive amount of license and they continue to add more each year. I know GI Joe collectors who went nuts for the Joe POPS and I have Star Wars friends who actively collect Star Wars POPS. There are Disney collectors who only buy Disney POPS and of course Marvel and DC fans have plenty to choose from. I personally know comic collectors who broke down and purchased a Funko Marvel POP. It only takes one and once you have that first POP, you will be more inclined to buy more. There is just so much to choose from!
The other thing that helps the POP domination is the price point. Most of the times the price will fall between $10-$12 depending on where you shop. Exclusives have a higher price point but we will go into that with part 2. Since the inception of POPS, the price has remained close to the same. Funko knows how to manage that price point, which helps in sales.
Funko will retire POPS and move them to the vault. Some lines have a very short life at retail and this spurs collectors to buy what they see, when they see it. Once vaulted the secondary price will shoot up but some, it takes time. This in itself can be a challenge. New collectors will want some of these older POPS and that alone will continue to drive market prices up.
Now the bad news to all of this; collectors are running out of room! With so much product hitting, collectors are running into an age old issue that has plagued us all. As a former Star Wars Mega Collector, I had to have one of everything. There was no exception to this and as Hasbro ramped up the line, I was getting stressed. I started to army build and next thing you know, I had a room dedicated to this toy line. The madness did not stop until 2005 and I decided I could no longer get what I thought I needed. Funko collectors are starting to see this very thing but instead of high end collectibles, they deal with constant releases, exclusives and more. I know collectors who have resorted to boxing up their collections do to the lack of room. This is very common in our hobby and no one is exempt.
The way this could hurt Funko is collectors getting out of the game. Now when we go into part 2 we will explore this issue in more detail. There is a real fear and it’s compounded by the continuance of the growing line and the ever nuisance of exclusives. Do not get me wrong, I love exclusives as much as the next guy and gal but sometimes it can be to much. Join us next week as we will dive into this and more with Funko Conquers the Collectors World Pt 2!