Guest Article: Why Pops Aren’t “The Next Beanie Babies”

The following is an article by guest writer Lee B.

Why Pops Aren’t “The Next Beanie Babies

We’ve all heard the popular theory that Pops are the next Beanie Babies, meaning they are simply another collectible fad that will quickly fall off a cliff and lose all its value. But we all want to know: is it truly inevitable that this will happen? My personal belief is a resounding ‘No’, but let’s look at both sides of the argument. To do this, we need to analyze the rise and fall of Beanie Babies, as well as how Pops have become one of the top collectibles in the world. But let’s start with the history of Beanie Babies:

Ty Inc. started manufacturing Beanie Babies in 1993 with a series of 9 stuffed animals. They didn’t become popular until late 1995, at which point they took off as collectors scoured their local toy stores, Hallmark locations, hobby stores and anywhere else that might carry them. They would quickly get snapped up and end up on ebay to be flipped. The primary reasons they had mass appeal were: 1) some were produced in limited quantity, 2) some would become retired and hard to find, and 3) they were marketed as a collectible rather than a toy. Sound familiar? Yes, these are also some of the reasons Pops have become the rage. But I think this is where the similarities end. So anyway, they started losing steam in 1999 and were almost completely out of the public eye by 2000.

Now, let’s look at Pops: Funko started making Pops in 2010 (initially called ‘Funko Force’) with a small line of licensed DC characters to be auditioned at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con. Opinions were initially mixed, but overall the concept seemed like it had legs. So Funko decided to abandon their plastic clamshell package for a box with a window, and they rolled out the Pop line for their DC, Marvel and Star Wars licenses. The rest was history- it didn’t take long for them to become very popular with collectors which caused the pop culture licenses to come rolling in. That brings us to where we are now- a collectibles marketplace where Funko Pops are king and getting seemingly bigger every day. So let’s take a look at why I feel Pops will not nosedive anytime soon in the same way that Beanie Babies did.

Culture Connection

As long as Funko hitches its wagon to things that are already incredibly popular (Star Wars, Game of Thrones, etc…), there will be a collector for it. Even the less mainstream lines with niche appeal, like Hanna-Barbera and Pop Asia, are popular among many collectors. It would stand to reason that as long as Funko stays the course and keeps churning out Pops for things that are popular with American culture, there will always be collectors that will want them. Maybe certain lines will start to lose the interest of collectors due to the decline in popularity of that movie/show/video game (looking in your direction Domo and Ghostbusters reboot), but that’s more a function of the content rather than Pops themselves. Contrast this with Beanie Babies, which were essentially a glorified stuffed animal. There were a few that were connected to popular icons, such as Princess Diana and Jerry Garcia, but the vast majority of them were random animals in random colors. There’s no emotional connection between collectors and, say, a purple giraffe, but there is between collectors and Daryl Dixon or Winnie the Pooh.

Evolution of Collectibles

Anybody who was collecting anything in the 1990’s (myself included) should be able to remember what it was like- EVERYBODY collected EVERYTHING. You could dig around in any random kid’s room and find sports cards, video games, action figures and/or dolls, Pokemon cards, autographs, maybe some coins, and of course Beanie Babies. It was just the thing to do, and people had a lot more disposable income to buy that stuff than they do now (more on this later). Things are a lot different now. As a buyer and seller of Pops, I’ve asked more Pop collectors than I can count what made them start collecting. The most popular answer (and it isn’t even close) has been something along the lines of “I was bored and looking for something to collect”. Sports card manufacturers stupidly priced out the average collector by the early 2000s, and most other collectibles have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another. So while Beanie Babies took off as a “want” at a time when collecting was the thing to do, Pops actually filled a “need” to collect in an effort to provide a brief escape from the stresses of their daily lives. Afterall, that’s what collecting is, right? A reason to focus on something that brings you pleasure rather than your job, bills, responsibilities, and everything else that stresses you out. So unless a collectible comes along that’s bigger and better than Pops to provide that escape for us, Pops are here to stay. And nothing else is even on the horizon as far as I can tell.

Market Conditions

The reason everybody collected “stuff” in the late 90’s was because everybody had money and were looking for ways to spend it. The U.S. economy started seeing huge growth around 1995 due to many factors, one of which was the popularity of new computer and cell phone technology. This lasted until about 2001, which almost exactly coincides with the rise and fall of Beanie Babies. Talk to the average millennial right now and they’ll be happy to tell you how the economy is treating them at this moment (spoiler alert: it’s not good). I’m 41 and I’ll be the first to say that our generation left the millennials a huge mess of an economy to clean up. Between the banking crisis, housing collapse, artificially inflated dot com boom, and all the other crap we pulled, it’s a wonder that anybody today has two nickels to rub together. But the millennials keep powering on, taking lower paying jobs than they deserve, and overpaying for education that provides no guarantee of a future career. So what does this have to do with Pops? Glad you asked. All of these struggling millennials with insufficient paychecks are STILL collecting Pops even though they can’t necessarily afford them (I can hear their heads collectively nodding as they read this). This is how appealing these things are! So if Pops have enough mass appeal to keep them going under these current sub-optimal economic conditions, it stands to reason that the market should be fine for a while.

It’s funny, I always hear the reasons that people think Pops will go the way of Beanie Babies: too much too fast, too many chases, flippers, etc… But the very few negatives are outweighed by the overwhelming positives that I think have brought this hobby to the forefront, which is why I think it will continue to thrive for many years to come. And even if the worst does happen, there are still Beanie Babies that command in the thousands (Don’t believe me? Check ebay’s completed sales), so there will always be a buyer for your Pops if you choose to leave the hobby.

Lee started the online Pop shop 7bucksapop.com and created the PopShield Pop protector. He’s also been a collector and dealer of various collectibles since 1989. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

We are always looking for guest writers! If you have some content you’d like to post on PPG, please send us an email at [email protected] and let us know!

PatientX

The founder of PPG, I am a long-time action figure collector who started collecting Pops in 2012. I am fan of Star Wars, DC Comics, Alien, music, Royals baseball, KU basketball, and geek culture in general.

34 thoughts on “Guest Article: Why Pops Aren’t “The Next Beanie Babies”

  • January 19, 2018 at 3:58 pm
    Permalink

    Great write-up. Absolutely agree that the licensing makes pops distinct from beanie babies and while I think we are on the other side of the curve of popularity i feel it will slowly decline rather than crash like beanie babies.
    Interesting that you didn’t address poppriceguides roll in keeping prices up. I’ve been collecting a long time and it’s been discouraging to see people collecting for the wrong reason. Let’s face it – these people are not trawling eBay to find out the value of things

  • January 19, 2018 at 5:38 pm
    Permalink

    one thing left out of this story is you are dealing with humans and human nature. Our society today is about short items like sitcoms over three hour films, you tube clips over tv episodes, paleo diet to plant based diet. FADS are part of what humans do and do on a regular basis…

    • January 19, 2018 at 7:35 pm
      Permalink

      You mean like Pokemon which has been going strong for 20+ years? Fads are fads because people lose interest. As long as Funko is creating Pops of things people have a vested interest in (new TV shows and movies, video games, pop culture figures, retro stuff, comic characters….) there will be a buyer for them. Pokemon has remained strong for so long because a) their content is good, and b) they keep coming up with fresh ideas. There’s no reason to think that Funko won’t be able to do the same, at least in my humble opinion.

  • January 19, 2018 at 6:07 pm
    Permalink

    I don’t believe that pops and Beanie Babies are equivalents either. As was pointed out in the article, at the end of the day, Beanie Babies were just teddy bears. Look at 3 3/4 inch action figures. They have been around for decades and still sell to this day. This is because they don’t just make one thing out of them, there are many different properties that are made in 3 3/4 inch action figures and there is no slowing down of them because they are so versatile.
    The one difference between the appeal of action figures and the appeal of pops is the stylized look of pops. While this look may fall out of fashion and pops probably won’t always be sold in every store with a shelf, there will still be plenty of people who will collect the line on the secondary market.
    So, while Blue chrome Batman may not always command $500. He will sure never be for sale on ebay with a Buy It Now of $9.99.

  • January 19, 2018 at 6:29 pm
    Permalink

    “The primary reasons they had mass appeal were: 1) some were produced in limited quantity, 2) some would become retired and hard to find, and 3) they were marketed as a collectible rather than a toy. Sound familiar? Yes, these are also some of the reasons Pops have become the rage.”

    So you’re saying BB and Pops are essentially the same thing…fads.

    You can try and dissect why you think they won’t tank like BB, but history tells us something newer and shinier will come along and people will flock to it. Then it’ll be “Why *New Item* is not the new Funko Pop” rinse and repeat.

    Fads come and go, it happened to “glorified stuffed animals” and it’ll happen to poorly (in many cases) painted pieces of plastic..it’s simply a matter of how long before the new it thing hits the streets.

  • January 19, 2018 at 7:09 pm
    Permalink

    I believe that what will ultimately seperate Funko Pops and Beanie Babies will be licensing. The most saught after Beanies were the bears or certain animals without ties to mainstream franchises. Funko is built on franchises that have staying power (i.e. Star Wars, Marvel, DC). There will always be a Star Wars collector. If or when the fall of Funko Pops happen, it will be due to a new collectible or a bored fan base or the inability to keep up. As a collector of Stranger Things I am finding it difficult to keep up with all the new releases to secure a complete set. I can’t imagine how a Star Wars Pop! collector must feel. The feeling of defeat can play a role, but I do feel that Funko should be good for years to come unless a better and cheaper collectible debuts.

  • January 19, 2018 at 7:47 pm
    Permalink

    Hi guys, I wrote this article. This is a great debate and one that I’ve had with many folks. I’m not trying to change anybody’s mind, just pointing out some things that I thought separated Pops and Beanie Babies that some people might not have thought about. It’s ok to think Pops are a fad- if that’s what you believe you’re certainly entitled to that view and there are certainly valid points to be made to back it up. But keep in mind, not everything that becomes popular is “just a fad”. Look at Pokemon- they’ve been going strong for 20+ years because of great content and constantly reinventing the brand. The Pokemon card market is stronger than it was when they first hit the scene in the late 90s when they were “the next big thing”. Funko appears (at least to my eyes) to be going along the same path, and I’ve collected a ton of different stuff over the last 3 decades and seen a lot of stuff come and go. Is everything they do a home run? No, but by and large they seem to be hitting a lot of doubles and triples. And there’s certainly room for them to screw it up which I think we’re all crossing our fingers doesn’t happen. But in the end, none of this really matters if you collect what you like because you like it which is what I always encourage people to do.

  • January 19, 2018 at 11:42 pm
    Permalink

    This may not be a popular opinion on here but I can give you the harsh reality from a big collector that started in 2013 and had over 800 pops and 50+ Dorbz, rock candies ect ect..
    First negative is the size, when I was at 100 pops and less I was an out of box collector. The constant dusting and size of the collection became too much so I started keeping them in box after 100 or so Pops. Once you pass 500 you need an entire large room of your house dedicated to them. I hit the point of way too many back in late 2016. That was before GameStop bought a piece of Funko and started making over 100 new figures a month. Speaking of the new ownership that brings me to the negative that was the straw that broke this camels back. When Brian was in charge he promised not to rerelease old figures but added that if he ever had to do so they would be very different from their original versions. The Penguin and Riddler figures were upsetting when they came out and instantly cut the value of both figures from around $200 to around $100 but I was ok with it as the figures seemed different enough. Then I saw the new Will Farrel Elf Pop and the two He-Man & Skelator figures and that was it. All they did was add a tiny coffe cup to Elf’s hand. With He-Man and Skeletor one picked up a sword and the other a shield.
    The night I saw that I started the purge of my collection on eBay. I think I picked the best time as I’m almost positive this has to be the very tip of the market, I could be wrong but I would be willing to bet a lot of money the high point of the Funko Value market is within the next 12 months if not already here. I’ve done great so far making over 10k back (went through one nightmare return experience when someone returned an empty box and claimed it was an $1,800 order, to protect yourself from this its a must that you record yourself opening any returns on large orders) but I’m worried for my friends because if a lot of people with collections the size of mine start to dump their collections this year the market can turn bad a lot faster than people realize. Most people just don’t physically have the space to keep up with a Funko collecting habit.
    Another negative is the impossibility to be a completionist with most sets. I’m a huge Game of Thrones show and book fan so I wanted to complete the GoT set. I did a great job and even managed to acquire a headless Ned Stark for a fraction of asking price through some extremely hard work. Now with the new part owners they are going to come out with 20 different Jon Snow Variants, even an 8-Bit version although GoT has nothing to do with 8-Bit anything. (I thought the 8-Bit idea was awesome on any character that was around on 8-bit consoles but when I saw it on the Stranger Things cast I wanted to throw up in my mouth.
    There’s more I can write but it’s getting late, I just want to say that also I am not just an average collector. I was/am a Funko fanatic. Every Target, B&N, Walgreen ect employee in my area knows me like a co-worker, I’ve traveled very far to see all the major Funko stores in person, I go to Comicons in person or I’m up after midnight hitting refresh a million times on the boxlunch website trying to get my order of the latest con exclusive in within the first 30 seconds before it sells out. I was fully in the game. I’ve even had Funko raffles on my Instagram page, TheFunkoGyro where you can also see my collection at its highest point.
    Last note before I go, I have an amazing, loving, beautiful and very very understanding wife that fully supported my Funko habit and even bought me amazing gifts on Holliday’s like expensive all glass display cases and other great stuff more than just pops themselves. The problem is they may act like they think your collection is great, they may smile and truely seem happy when you show them the awesome pops you found while out hunting that day. But it’s an act, it’s a good one because they love you and seeing you happy makes them truely happy so it’s not a mean act at all. Then once you start getting rid of your collection you’ll see the real smile. Not the smile of being happy that your happy but the big deep genuine happiness smile of realizing they will finally be getting a lot of their space back

    • January 20, 2018 at 5:17 am
      Permalink

      Well Said 👊

      • January 21, 2018 at 8:50 am
        Permalink

        How was that well said?? The majority of that article was this dude telling some personal stories about his life trying to make it seem like each person has that exact experience, seriously has anyone even seen this 8-bit Jon Snow he speaks of? The great thing about owning things like this is, you don’t have to have each and every version of a Pop, if you only want the base one fine, you can still complete the chronological collection, stop being OCD and have to “own everything” this is obviously not possible nor is it recommended. Most of the article was baseless assumptions that are pointless to share as a whole.

    • January 20, 2018 at 12:42 pm
      Permalink

      You make some good points for sure LuckyGyro and thanks for sharing your story. Everybody’s journey into the hobby is different. Over the past year we’ve bought over 100 different collections from collectors like you, and the top three reasons for selling in order are: 1) They’re taking up too much space, 2) I need the money, and 3) I got too obsessed and needed to get out. So there are definitely pitfalls to Pop collecting, and I do agree that the space they take up is a big deterrent to building a big collection. All of that being said, I’m on both the buying and selling side of things and there are WAY more buyers right now than sellers, and WAY more folks entering the market than leaving it. Whether this holds true years down the line only time will tell. But I do believe that collectors like you and others who sold off their Pops will want to jump back in the pool at some point, maybe on a more manageable scale where it’s not affecting your life in such a negative way. I’ve been there with other hobbies, so I can certainly relate to your hobby arc. The one thing I’m completely with you on is that Funko doesn’t seem to care about the older Pops maintaining or increasing in value. I think it would serve them well to be just as respectful to the collectors that dropped $100+ on an older Pop on the secondary market as they do the guy lining up outside Hot Topic on a Sunday to buy one that just came out. The secondary market is what drives every collectible hobby (which is why that’s where I’ve chosen to park my business), and I think the sooner Funko realizes this the better off the hobby will be.

    • January 21, 2018 at 8:51 am
      Permalink

      The best part is, “the market will crash in 12 months” although I provide no actual evidence for this claim, I am saying to to make myself feel better about selling them way too soon and probably missing out on a sh*t ton of money for my impatience…

  • January 20, 2018 at 12:43 am
    Permalink

    Funko IS the next beanie babies, hands down. The value on 90% of these things drop dramatically within weeks of their release. The market is a joke, it’s a flippers dream though.

    Doesn’t help that Funko doesnt care to stop it. To boot, Funko’s lack of customer service and customer care only feeds their greedy reputation to turn a quick buck off cheap chinese plastic. They will be their own downfall, watch. They’ll be on grocery store end caps only here in a few years.

    There will be a handful that hold value of course, like all collections, but most will be worthless garbage soon enough. Lots of huge collections are already online trying to be sold off. They damage easily and take up a lot of space. I’ll be one of those too.

    • January 21, 2018 at 8:53 am
      Permalink

      But your visiting the Pop collection site daily still?? So are you just trying to say this to get some kind of agreement from others?

  • January 20, 2018 at 11:15 am
    Permalink

    I use to be a pop hunter, even spend hours haggling on ebay for a better price on “grails” and “rare” pops, till i had started spending quite a lot of money on “retired” pops e.g martian manhunter to then learn a few months later that, oh funko are basically re-releasing him, yes fair enough in a different box and a slightly different pose, but i could of got him for a fraction of the price i paid because funko said he was retired. I know a lot of people in the same position as me, that they have paid a lot for a “grail” to then have it chucked back in there face months later, when funko decide to release them again, just look on ebay and see that pops that were selling for a lot have already started losing there value.

  • January 20, 2018 at 11:43 am
    Permalink

    As someone who had a mother who was a big part of the BB craze this is different, I used to help my mom search for those things at the gift shop I worked at. Pops have a much wider appeal and while I think they pushed a bit too far by putting them in so many stores every con, every show, every shop I go to Pops are the big sellers still and ebay is not the be all end all for pricing, brick and mortar exist and will sell above ebay. That being said Pops do take up a lot of space, i finally went open box collector minus a few rarer ones I have to save space, i can box up and rotate my commons and have room for my other collections as well. Funko will have a winner on their hands as long as they keep it fresh and do not completely tank the values of its older rare pops, if they ever get the Nintendo license they will be able to keep going on just the Mario and Pokemon licenses alone.

  • January 20, 2018 at 12:54 pm
    Permalink

    All you people complaining about re-releases are part of the problem, not the solution. Funko doesn’t care whether your OG Martian Manhunter sells on eBay for $5 or $500, as they don’t get a cut of that. They do make $$$ on selling newer MMs. They need to do more, not less, to cut out flippers. And if I recall, it was investor / collectors who artificially inflated, and then tanked, the comic book industry in the ’90s.

  • January 20, 2018 at 5:10 pm
    Permalink

    The problem is that Funko is pushing artificial rarity and that’s what killed a ton of collectibles in the past, not just beanie babies. Sports cards were utterly decimated with artificial rarity. So were non-sport carts which hardly even exist today. Same with CCGs. Same with action figures, which are a mere shadow of their former selves. Every single one of these things have followed the same path and eventually gone down in flames because of it. Funko only flourishes now because they’re at the zenith of their popularity. When the next big thing comes along, Funko will vanish like everything else. That’s just the way collectibles, especially in this format and sales tactic, go. Funko is flooding the market with far more figures, far more exclusives, far more chase figures, than the market can reasonably bear. They’re going to lose in the end.

  • January 20, 2018 at 7:56 pm
    Permalink

    Great read and discussion. A couple of simple points I’d like to make:

    1. As with all hobbies, people will leave the hobby (even if they buy all their life, life doesn’t go on forever). Funko needs to continually replace the exiters with fresh collectors to continue to sustain the business. How successful they are at this is for me one of the key factors in how long Pops will be around for. If no new collectors are attracted to the hobby, with the number of exiting collectors around today I would estimate the decline would be slow.

    2. A price crash could be caused by everyone trying to offload their collection in a panic fire sale. Something that could cause this is a self-fulfilling prophecy effect where collectors are paranoid that Pops aren’t going to hold their value and so they stop paying inflated prices on the secondary market (which is what really dictates the value of your Pops). As a result sales and values noticeably decrease, leading to collectors offloading their collection whilst it still has some value, which would lead to a buyers’ market and prices falling further due to competition between the off-loading sellers. But this would have to be a globsl phenomenon to be happen like this.

    In summary, if everyone continues to enjoy the hobby and considers the value in their collection not just in monetary ways then Pops could be around for quite a while 🙂

  • January 21, 2018 at 1:09 am
    Permalink

    But everyone who is a serious collector, likes to know the monetary value of there collection and like you say, if they start seeing a dramatic decline in there collection they will panic and try to offload as fast as they can, to try and get as much back as possible. @zillamon51 my point about martian manhunter was that, when funko first started they said once a pop is vaulted then it would never return from the vault, but now they bring it out in a new box or a slightly different pose, i understand funko don’t care about the secondary market but there customer base does, and that has what made funko so popular, it was the thrill and the chase of trying to get the rarer ones, without paying to much for them, but now its just frustrating when you save up or finally manage find one your after, to then a few months later funko just re-release it. Its like someone pointed out here, it is gettig harder and harder to actually complete a set now, because they flood the market with different variables and exclusives.

    • January 21, 2018 at 8:55 am
      Permalink

      Who says you need to own every variant to have a completed set, I believe they have the exact same number as the original Pop, so you don’t need to own every variant to have a complete set, that is why they use the exact same numbers…. Stop being greedy.

    • January 21, 2018 at 5:09 pm
      Permalink

      That’s not a collector, that’s an investor. Collectors collect for the emotional desire of collecting. Collectors don’t sell off their collections… ever. Value means nothing, except as it relates to acquiring new collectibles.

  • January 21, 2018 at 3:36 am
    Permalink

    I used to collect beanie babies back in late 90’s. I still have some of them but I donated about 90% of my collection to charity since most of them are pretty much worthless. I must’ve spent over $ 2,500 on those beanie babies which is a lot of money if you adjust the inflation to today’s money. Now I’m trying to buy only the Pops I want but they just come out with so many cool stuffs and its hard trying to keep up with most of it. My wife is getting pissed off at me also because she said it just going to be like the beanie babies again. Currently I have about 100 + pops but half of those came within the past 6 months. But at the end of the day , all I can say is ” do what makes you happy “. Some people get drunk , gamble , smoke , some collects shoes , sport cards , action figures , legos , games. We all do stupid things to make us feel human.

  • January 22, 2018 at 1:24 am
    Permalink

    Everyone who uses this site is here to find out what there collection is worth, yes you collect for the fun of collecting, but of course it is also a investment with the amount of money you spend on your collection, to say you dont care what your collection is worth is ridiculous.

    • January 22, 2018 at 10:58 am
      Permalink

      I’m not. This is just a convenient way to track the collection. The values are entirely irrelevant and frankly, not all that accurate.

      • January 28, 2018 at 6:49 am
        Permalink

        As a collector not investor this is 100% accurate! So easy to pull up the guide on my cell to see what I need while in FYE or Hot Topic.

  • January 22, 2018 at 1:32 am
    Permalink

    2018 will absolutely be a make or break year for Funko.

    Right now Funko very dedicated to poisoning their own well. The company has over-expanded on their merchandise lines without ensuring any type of deep committed purchasing. The most recent HeroWorld set (Target Exclusive btw) I’m expecting to bomb out, especially if something as basic as the ppg poll on it is looking (Roughly 80/20). Other recent snafus like the Christmas ordering also haven’t done the company any public image favors.

    Pop Vinyls are no exception. Over the past year their production sets bounce around all times, periods, themes and places with little reasoning. I’m just over 30, and after seeing people younger than me buy Fraggle Rock pops, it’s obviously not for any type of sentimental reasoning. Buyers are collecting them for:
    – Assumed Resell value and/or
    – Pop Collection Addiction
    Meaning that the Fraggle Rock ones they have bought will be on a sitting on a personal shelf, or in a box, and then when push comes to shove it will be sold. That’s EXACTLY what was occurring with BBs back in the 90’s. For conventionals, it’s neat to have but certainly wouldn’t be above selling if someone offered; this applies for a lot of merchandise coming out within the next year as well.

    “But buying Pops and other figures, even if its just to resell, is still going to keep the market for them strong right?” Not necessarily. I’d wager that at least 50% of buyers are people who collect specific sets or figures, and don’t go out of their way to purchase the English Royal Family figures. That effectively doubles the “stock” within the overall market. You can see this present a lot of the time currently: Modern Star Wars Pops, WWE Pops, Movie-Tie In Pops, FNAF, NFL, WWE, and so on linger on the shelves for months and years after their releases.

    Store overflow IS VERY BAD. Stores will stop ordering them, and Funko will cut down on supply to save on their return. This in turn will result in more incomplete sets and longer wait times between sets, which loses collector interest and in turn investor interest (since Investors play off the Collectors). Without investor interest, large companies that license Funko (Disney) will be more than happy to pack their end of the contract and take the ball to a personal toy maker.

    • January 22, 2018 at 11:03 am
      Permalink

      Depending on the store, they either have already stopped ordering or the Pops are just rotting in the back because they are so clogged up with commons everyone already has. I was in Walmart yesterday and while the toy aisle was gutted, the Pops were full. It’s the same Pops they have had for months. We all know that places like Walgreens simply do not sell Pops, you can go in there for a year and they won’t have sold a single one, or stocked a single one. Yet Funko is making more and more and more Pops that I don’t think they have the outlets for, chasing a dream that simply does not exist.

      It’s the same thing that all of the industries that have been mentioned in this thread have done and it has never worked out well for them.

  • January 23, 2018 at 6:00 pm
    Permalink

    Deep breath…

    So the great debate has finally earned a front page write up here on PPG. Are they the same thing? No, but that’s merely due to being a different product. Will Pops suffer the same fate as the beanie baby? Probably. Why? Simply put; the demise of Funko will be a result of their own greed. The market is flooded with new waves being released on what seems like a daily basis, and they are being sold anywhere that has a shelf to sell them on. Not to mention more and more product lines being cranked out on the regular (dorbz, hikari, rock candy, vinyl idolz, reaction figures etc). Funko is absolutely beating their licensing agreements to death. Eventually even the most hardcore Pop collectors will scale back on buying. I have accumulated 345 Funko products according to my collection tracker (with around 277 of those being POPs!) and I can’t even display them all or even remotely properly at this point…I refuse to dedicate an entire room in my house to this hobby and if someone were to offer me anywhere near what PPG has my collection valued at, I would probably take the money and run (and it looks even better once its converted to Canadian dollars).

    I have enjoyed reading all the comments more than the article itself, mostly because the author hasn’t really presented any concrete facts to back up why they believe the Pop vinyl will be around for the long haul other than Funko has great licensing agreements. They have merely stated an opinion, there are no sales figures, no production numbers, no statistics and no evidence as to why they believe what they do, other than gut feeling. To me, this is an opinion piece written by an admitted re-seller (who’s add is currently running at the top of my screen) to justify their current business venture.

    Funko has completely saturated the marketplace, there are simply too many Pops collecting dust in just about every store you can go to. How long will retail operations sit on product that simply isn’t moving before they cease ordering completely? My guess is not too long. In my area even dollar stores have begun selling unwanted pops…and, yes for a dollar…Canadian, so approx $0.80 US

    Comparing Pops to something like Pokemon is also a long shot. Pokemon has succeeded for 20+ years because it exists within several types of media. There are countless games on pretty much every Nintendo home and portable console produced since the original game boy, television shows, movies, cards, books, mobile games etc. You also can’t downplay that its a Japanese phenom, a country with nearly 40% the population of the USA living on a land mass roughly the size of California.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed collecting these things but the bubble has to burst at some point. Pops are cool and trendy now, but so were parachute pants once upon a time.

    • January 23, 2018 at 6:57 pm
      Permalink

      Hi there. You’re right, my article is absolutely an opinion piece and I’m sorry if it didn’t come across that way. And yes, I am a Pop reseller and paid advertiser on PPG, although the writing of this article was something I did more for fun than anything else. You definitely make some good points about Funko’s rapid and sometimes exhausting expansion; there are some concerns there for sure and I agree with a lot about what you said there. But I think the market can eventually digest it all and decide what should stay and what should go, and it will serve the hobby well if Funko listens and acts accordingly. I hope right now they’re just trying to capitalize on all of the hype and throwing a ton of different things at the wall and seeing what sticks, then once the dust settles they will scale it back some. And yes, there are leftovers on retail shelves throughout the world, but there are also a ton of Pops that stores can’t keep stocked no matter how many they buy. That will always be the case with any type of collectible- some stuff within a product line is desirable and other stuff isn’t. It’s not as if Holographic Qui Gon’s are gathering dust on Target shelves right now (if they did then it would absolutely be cause for alarm). But I digress- you make some very good points and I think it’s close-minded for anybody to not at least be open to listening to the other side of the argument before finalizing their own opinion. On this topic we happen to disagree, but that’s ok as long as we can at least hear the other side of the argument.

      As for the Pokemon analogy- I was really just using Pokemon as an example for the argument that just because something in the toy/collectible realm becomes popular quickly, doesn’t mean it’s a fad. I think this is a faulty assumption that people make and largely the reason many folks assume Pops will die sometime soon. Pokemon has wonderfully marketed and grown their brand from inception, but their products and concept have very little overlap with what Funko is doing like you suggested.

      • January 24, 2018 at 12:56 pm
        Permalink

        Just for the record, I wasn’t calling you out or meaning any disrespect to you personally or your business. You have made some good points and some I don’t necessarily agree with. While I do agree with what you said above regarding some figures that sell out almost before they are put on the shelves, most of these are store exclusives and many of the people buying them up are flippers and re-sellers. This is starting to create a false market value for many figures because the collector and even the casual buyer is being forced to the secondary market almost imediately if they really want a specific figure and are sometimes paying a hefty premium (this doesn’t just apply to Funko either, I’m a die hard marvel legends collector and it’s much of the same thing and sometimes even worse). It just really boils down to if/when the fad crashes will anything hold it’s value that isn’t the holiest of grails?

        I also feel like funko is trending towards a more casual market given that chase figures have been scaled back to a 1/6 rarity ratio pretty much guaranteeing every case packed will include one…gone are the days of 1/36 which made you feel like a champion if you were lucky enough to find one in the wild.

        It’s still a fun hobby but I find myself constantly questioning my purchases and in many cases flat out passing on figures I would have snapped up in a heartbeat 2 years ago out of fear that I might indeed end up sitting on a bunch of unwanted toys that will be worth less than I originally paid…which is slowly happening with many of the pops in my current collection. I havnt yet completely stopped buying but I’ve probably cut back 90% in the last 6-8 months. At the end of the day funko does not care if you or I quit buying because there will be a new collector there to take our place…it will really just depend on how long people are willing to ride the bandwagon.

        I never got into collecting pops for an investment but I also never thought I’d ever accumulate close to 300 of them either…so at this point the value is important to me and it’s scary to think that a time could come where I’m sitting on essentially a pile of unwanted trash destined for the thrift store or landfill.

        • January 25, 2018 at 5:28 pm
          Permalink

          This is nothing new, of course. As a former action figure collector, I spent a lot of time watching flippers making deals with employees of every single local store that carried figures, those figures never hit the floor and the flippers took every single exclusive or limited figure and sold them at absurd prices. I know the exact same thing is happening with Funko products. I’ve watched with my own eyes as known flippers will go into Target or Walmart and an employee they’ve made a deal with with bring a couple of boxes out of the back room for them. The store doesn’t care because they still get a sale, the employee gets paid off (outside of the store of course) and the flipper turns them over at a huge margin at a local toy expo. It’s win-win for everyone except the casual collector who, as you said, gets forced into the secondary market because they have no choice.

          Personally, I don’t care about value because I will never sell my Pops, any more than I will ever sell my hundreds of action figures that I just don’t collect anymore. Any more than I will sell the stamps I spent decades collecting. Any more than I will sell the Japanese blind-boxed figures I still get occasionally at a convention. Any more than I’m going to sell the thousands upon thousands of comic books that are sitting under the bed. These are collections, not investments. I can afford to do it, I enjoy it, I couldn’t care less about the money and when I’m dead, I really don’t care what my family does with my collections because I’ll be dead and won’t know anyhow. I just don’t get the investment mentality of a lot of people. Those who invest in collectibles might make short-term profits but unless they get out at the right time, they almost always wind up with long-term losses. That’s just how it goes.

  • January 27, 2018 at 6:58 pm
    Permalink

    I’m sorry, this article really just seemed like you were defending pops and not making a good comparison.

    EBay was started in the end of 95, it wasn’t in any position to drive the market price. It wasn’t until 97 that eBay really skyrocketed and that’s when they introduced airline travel.

    The price wasn’t dictated by eBay, it was dictated by price guides. Ty was making the price guides. They dictated pricing. They also fabricated rarity.

    While eBay was still
    In its early days, beanies were already a craze and were making a deal with McDonald’s. (96)

    Beanies did hold about 10% of eBay listings in 97/98 but it still wasn’t driving the price. If anything, in 99 when Ty did a major retiring (vaulting), eBay helped expose the non rare aspect of beanies and it caused a sell off.

    Pops ARE beanies….and Funko KNOWS it.

    The practice of manufactured rarity and ridiculous exclusives is what pushes the price. Its a good practice when you want to make a lot of money. Its why Ty hit a billion and so will Funko.

    They know, if you look, both ty and Funko made side/ sub collecting lines. Both failing to hit the popularity of the main lines but both still producing revenue.

    Ty still produces a lot of those lines, and they still make beanies.

    Funko’s advantage does lie in licenses. That is true, the crash won’t be so hard. When people stop being POP collectors, you will still have people that collect spider man or star wars. So they will collect those licenses. The POP collector, which resembles the beanie collector (buys every release and rare/chase) will disappear.

    Old stuff is rare because people played with it, clothes pinned cards to bike tires, read their comics, threw away the box. This will never affect Funko as most of the base keeps them mint in box. Numbers will never decrease. (Its why fabricated rarity is needed).

    There will be a crash, it happens with all collectibles. It may not be as hard as others, but I caution anyone that thinks they will retire on these, or anyone that wants to spend a grand on a 4 inch piece of Chinese plastic.

  • January 29, 2018 at 12:51 pm
    Permalink

    WOW…..I am a collector and dealer of antiques and collectibles. I love these POPs and I am a 52 year old female who knows about collectibles. I am collecting the mainstays though…Disney, Marvel, DC and Freddy Funko. Funko Pops are a PHENOMENON. Just like all toys from the turn of the century to now. Look at the Kenner Star Wars figures from the first 3 movies. Collect them because you like them….but I do believe to hold value I would stick with those themes that will always hold their value – Disney, Marvel, DC etc. That is my opinion….and then get the others that you love because you love them. I mean seriously I got the Battlestar Gallactica Pops from the first TV show because when I was 14 years old…yes 38 years ago….I loved that show! So really collecting is a mixed bag on what will be worth something down the road….I watched an auction where a bisque doll from the late 19th century sold for almost $300k. She did not cost $300k when she was on the market. Have Fun and stop worrying! Funko is on to something……

Comments are closed.