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Trading Cards - a diminishing customer base ?
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Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of ghostrider666
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I gotta agree with cyberbats to a degree. The non-sport card market seems to be on its way out, but not for lack of collectors. On the rare event that I see a box of non-sport at a Target or WalMart, they never last long. I think a bigger problem is the lack of product. There are NOMarvel/DC card sets out there. Upper Deck's just sitting on the licence(another story). The overall choice of cards being released just isnt there.
 
Posts: 1495 | Location: Hbg Pa USA | Registered: January 24, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Gold Card Talk Member
Picture of mykdude
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Available titles is a trick, card companies cant just run what a couple of people want. They have to plug into what they feel is popular among card collectors....not just what is popular. In many cases it equals out to two entirely different things....a good case in point would be the "Six Feet Under" set. I just crindged when I heard it was being relased, knowing that the average watcher of that show is not a card collector.

As far as ebay is concerned I think it just leveled the playing field. I think it is strange that we can get upset over collectors selling their extra sets for $5 dollars on ebay and yet if that same collector were to sell his extras to a dealer he would get much less. Prior to ebay many dealers had a pennies on the the dollar buy scheme (still do) even if it was something the dealer could turn around in a relatively short amount of time. It wasnt prudent for dealers to run a bulletin board system so that collectors could sell to each other and undercut him so it was entirly up to the collector to find his own community. Not an easy task.

As far as what happend to the kids is concerned they got turned off because many of the new collectors in the 90's were looking for instant gratification and rising book prices. Long term collecting was traded for a get rich quick scheme and in the end everyone lost. Many people that got into collecting then still have a bad taste for it.

I think the current course for card collecting is by force and not choice. Dealers must learn to deal with ebay if they want to survive. With the level of the great inserts I think many collectors are getting re-energized to stay for the long haul and with hobby/retail releases kids are being brought back in with cheaper packs at the department stores. The lower box numbers, even for "six feet under" pretty much guarantee that the hobby will eventually absorb the product. As Sarah once said if you want to collect the next big thing you buy what is not popular now. Wouldnt be funny if in 10 years the hottest thing in the hobby is an unopened box of "Six Feet Under"??? Smile
 
Posts: 3341 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of Brimaster
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I think this is a interesting post.
To a degree I think that trading cards are starting to dimisnish slowly. I think that the customer base is changing and that is why trading cards are affected.
It seems to me that all that a lot of customers\sellers out there are looking for the high dollar inserts and not so much for the collecting of a set. To me what is driving the hobby presently in either sport or non-sport is the inserts and not so much the love of the set and the manufactures know that. From the case or multi case incentive cards to the limited inserts cards that seems to push the sellers or dealers with deeper pockets to leave the smaller more down to earth sellers or dealers in the dust.
Most of the " wanted" cards seem to be in hobby boxes compared to the retail boxes. Or the odds are much greater in a retail box. In the 90's some of Fleer's product had different inserts in retail and Walmart boxes then they did in the hobby boxes so more of the product sold as the completionist bought from all three areas.

The internet has hurt the smaller dealer and card show to a degree. The overhead for a table at a show or overhead to keep a store running is much more than selling on-line. ( Even though eBay has raised it's fees). Plus it take a lot less effort with the on-line thing compared to the show or store.

I also think the distributors that sell product to a lot of dealers no longer give as much of the price break of card products or require payment in full so a lot of dealer don't buy boxes to sell in their stores a much so the shopper does not see or have the chance to buy the product.

____________________
"We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach, but do not practice, and another that we practice, but seldom preach."
 
Posts: 852 | Location: Somewhere | Registered: April 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Arvin Sloane
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quote:
Originally posted by xSaBx:

Tastes have changed, something a lot of people seem to have overlooked. Ask an average 16 year old what he collects now as opposed to what the same age group would have coveted 10 years ago...

It is going to be safer for the 'big names' to concentrate on the licenses they *know* that sell, as opposed to the ones they're not sure of. I know some people have questioned Inkworks' choice for a Sopranos license, but I think that could be another one of these franchises that has a wider pull than just cards.

There are plenty of smaller companies out there making cards. There is a lot of variety, you just have to look for it. The problem is that if you want to make money from cards... well, it's going to get harder and harder. One can only hope that the people who aren't registered for tax and are skimming a quick buck from online emporiums will end up being caught up with or going bust, just like it was the last time there was a boom. Then, those people with a proven track record and real business sense can ride things out as they have before and get back to the business of promoting a hobby, not just looking for the next get rich quick scheme.

Anyone who's been in this hobby long enough knows real dealers are, and can make some sensible guesses at who we'll see drop by the wayside when the next purge comes...


I am sorry but I really can't agree with the last two paragraphs of this post. It's the saavy dealer who bends with the wind and is willing to try new product lines that will last in this business. If you insist on ignoring the "get rich quick" fad items you are only hurting yourself. Of course it's all about knowing when to get in and out that makes the difference.
 
Posts: 2206 | Location: SD6 Headquarters | Registered: April 01, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Arvin Sloane
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by mykdude:
Available titles is a trick, card companies cant just run what a couple of people want. They have to plug into what they feel is popular among card collectors....not just what is popular. In many cases it equals out to two entirely different things....a good case in point would be the "Six Feet Under" set. I just crindged when I heard it was being relased, knowing that the average watcher of that show is not a card collector.

As far as ebay is concerned I think it just leveled the playing field. I think it is strange that we can get upset over collectors selling their extra sets for $5 dollars on ebay and yet if that same collector were to sell his extras to a dealer he would get much less. Prior to ebay many dealers had a pennies on the the dollar buy scheme (still do) even if it was something the dealer could turn around in a relatively short amount of time. It wasnt prudent for dealers to run a bulletin board system so that collectors could sell to each other and undercut him so it was entirly up to the collector to find his own community. Not an easy task.

As far as what happend to the kids is concerned they got turned off because many of the new collectors in the 90's were looking for instant gratification and rising book prices. Long term collecting was traded for a get rich quick scheme and in the end everyone lost. Many people that got into collecting then still have a bad taste for it.

I think the current course for card collecting is by force and not choice. Dealers must learn to deal with ebay if they want to survive. With the level of the great inserts I think many collectors are getting re-energized to stay for the long haul and with hobby/retail releases kids are being brought back in with cheaper packs at the department stores. The lower box numbers, even for "six feet under" pretty much guarantee that the hobby will eventually absorb the product. As Sarah once said if you want to collect the next big thing you buy what is not popular now. Wouldnt be funny if in 10 years the hottest thing in the hobby is an unopened box of "Six Feet Under"??? Smile

We've had threads about eBay before and as always there are pros and cons. Yes there is definitely a problem of sets being sold for way below show prices, but to blame this on "pseudo-dealers" is stretching it. I believe one way to rectify this problem is to make the base set harder to build.
 
Posts: 2206 | Location: SD6 Headquarters | Registered: April 01, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of xSaBx
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quote:
Originally posted by Arvin Sloane:
It's the saavy dealer who bends with the wind and is willing to try new product lines that will last in this business. If you insist on ignoring the "get rich quick" fad items you are only hurting yourself.



There is a *big* difference between stocking reasonable amount of every product, and buying heavily on any or every 'big' release that appears in the hope you'll make back what you paid for. With the sheer amount of stuff being churned out by the Majors, I find it hard to believe that there many dealers who can buy *everything* at release...

The savvy dealers, the ones who have survived through the last ten or so years, at least in my experience, are those who still charge realistic prices for their cards when most around them are discounting, who bought a little of everything and were sensible enough to keep some of it back as opposed to selling the lot, often below price as so they can shift it. Bending in the wind only gets you so far...

____________________
xSaBx :: Mistress of Stuff ::

Crunchy on the Outside,
Smooth on the Inside:
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Posts: 5362 | Location: The South East, United Kingdom | Registered: June 07, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of xSaBx
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quote:
Originally posted by Cyberbats:
You say '...what he collects...'



Yes, and I wasn't specifically concentrating on male collectors. I just typed 'he'. I should have typed 'they'... Big Grin

My point remains. None of the 16 year olds I know care that much about bits of cards. Most adults I know think I'm insane, can see *no* point in collecting something with no intrinsic value whatsoever. Collecting for profit is becoming more and more speculative, in most cases pretty pointless unless you have a *large* amount of money to burn, money you could just as easily invest in property or stocks and bonds.

It doesn't matter what sex you're referring to, collecting cards is a minority pursuit, and is unlikely ever to become mass-interest overnight. bearing *that* in mind, you have to wonder what the next step will be for the hobby in general...

____________________
xSaBx :: Mistress of Stuff ::

Crunchy on the Outside,
Smooth on the Inside:
Armadillos!

REMEMBER: Take out the 'removemefirst' from my e-mail address to reply...
 
Posts: 5362 | Location: The South East, United Kingdom | Registered: June 07, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of Joe McKinney
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Instead of trying to afix the blame for the decline of our hobby (traditional dealers vs. part-timers and e-bayers), our concern should be making it stronger. Instead of fighting over a shrinking customer base, manufacturers and dealers need to grow the customer base.

Like any hobby, card collecting is something people choose to do with their discretionary money. Since no one needs trading cards, the manufacturers and dealers must offer something of interest, and convince people to buy it. The questions are; Why don't more people collect cards? And how can manufacturers and dealers attract more people to the hobby?

To answer these questions we have to learn to think like people who don't collect. What do they want? And, how can we get their attention? How can we make card collecting something more people will want to do? When we answer these questions, we will know how to reverse the decline of our hobby.
 
Posts: 976 | Location: Clayton, Alabama, U.S.A | Registered: January 22, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of Brimaster
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quote:
Originally posted by The Promo Hunter:

To answer these questions we have to learn to think like people who don't collect. What do they want? And, how can we get their attention? How can we make card collecting something more people will want to do? When we answer these questions, we will know how to reverse the decline of our hobby.


This is a good point. I am not sure how you can spark interest to reverse the decline. The manufacturers tried to spark the interest by creating the costume cards, auto cards, 1 of 1's and other inserts but the places to buy the product are getting less and less. Then if you do find a place sometimes the cost of a pack can stop a new collector from even trying the product out.

I also think in some degree by creating all the special inserts manufacturers may have also shot themselves in the foot. Now most collectors expect these special cards and if a product can't provided these in some cases the product is overlooked or fails in the market. I think the special cards are a good thing for the hobby but maybe just moderate the amount placed in product.

____________________
"We have in fact, two kinds of morality, side by side: one that we preach, but do not practice, and another that we practice, but seldom preach."
 
Posts: 852 | Location: Somewhere | Registered: April 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diamond Card Talk Member
Picture of hammer
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I only objected to the "small time jokers" reference. Of course the dealer is important, but it's still nice to open a box or 2. That is my usual preference, buy a box or 2 (in the hope of a high end card) and then I finish off my collection through a dealer. Trading card collecting is a "niche" market, especially in the UK. The key is to entice people into the hobby (STNG did it for me) and as others have said that is a difficult thing.
 
Posts: 11866 | Location: England | Registered: September 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Arvin Sloane
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by xSaBx:
quote:
Originally posted by Arvin Sloane:
It's the saavy dealer who bends with the wind and is willing to try new product lines that will last in this business. If you insist on ignoring the "get rich quick" fad items you are only hurting yourself.



There is a *big* difference between stocking reasonable amount of every product, and buying heavily on any or every 'big' release that appears in the hope you'll make back what you paid for. With the sheer amount of stuff being churned out by the Majors, I find it hard to believe that there many dealers who can buy *everything* at release...

The savvy dealers, the ones who have survived through the last ten or so years, at least in my experience, are those who still charge realistic prices for their cards when most around them are discounting, who bought a little of everything and were sensible enough to keep some of it back as opposed to selling the lot, often below price as so they can shift it. Bending in the wind only gets you so far...

All very true! To clarify my original point I was talking more about diversifying one's inventory and trying new things. Those who experimented with Pokemon, Beanies, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Anime did quite well, especially if they got in on the ground floor.
Your point about some dealers buying everything that is being, "churned out" by just the majors alone, doesn't jive with Cyberbats view that there are less and less titles being produced. I happen to agree with you, we have more choices than ever before and in general the quality of these products is at an all time high. Unfortunately alot of dealers who do try to get some of everything are then forced to move inventory quickly to pay for the next release and that is where we see the heavh discounting that we do.
 
Posts: 2206 | Location: SD6 Headquarters | Registered: April 01, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Arvin Sloane
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quote:
Originally posted by Kennywood:
Most people simply aren't aware that non-sport trading cards exist. Even when I tried to explain it to my own family, they kept saying that I collect baseball cards.

The non-sport hobby needs more exposure. Promo cards distributed via non-traditional outlets would be a good start. For example, Disney & Pixar usually run a promotion through McDonalds; specifically the Happy Meals. Put a pack of non-sport cards in each of the Happy Meals.

But there's a larger problem in our hobby than mere exposure. It's the lack of available stores at which cards can be purchased. I'm a non-sport card collector and even I can't tell you of a local place to which I could go to buy cards. Places like Suncoast have spotty inventory and usually at highly inflated prices.

Exposure and availability have to go hand-in-hand for the non-sport industry and hobby to grow.

I definitely agree with these points.
When I explain to my co-workers what it is I am selling, I always need to say, "nonsport cards are like baseball cards, but they cover tv shows, movies, etc." That's the only way they have any clue as to what it is that I am selling.
 
Posts: 2206 | Location: SD6 Headquarters | Registered: April 01, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Titanium Card Talk Member
Picture of wolfie
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Does anyone know if any card manufacturer has ever run a commercial on tv or in a newspaper for it,s card set.

It would seem to me that during the show in question would be a good idea.

However does the cost of such a thing make it a non starter.

____________________
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Posts: 28273 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
Picture of Arvin Sloane
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quote:
Originally posted by wolfman-golf:
Does anyone know if any card manufacturer has ever run a commercial on tv or in a newspaper for it,s card set.

It would seem to me that during the show in question would be a good idea.

However does the cost of such a thing make it a non starter.

An excellent point. I do know that Inkworks has put ads for it's card sets inside DVD sets of Buffy and Angel. Topps has run TV ads for it's various sports products.
I've always wondered about all the ads that run in NSU. It seems to me that the companies are "preaching to the choir", as the vast majority of NSU readers already know about the products that are advertised. Seems to me the money would be better spent in another venue (sorry Harris).
 
Posts: 2206 | Location: SD6 Headquarters | Registered: April 01, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Titanium Card Talk Member
Picture of wolfie
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quote:
Originally posted by Arvin Sloane:

I've always wondered about all the ads that run in NSU. It seems to me that the companies are "preaching to the choir", as the vast majority of NSU readers already know about the products that are advertised. Seems to me the money would be better spent in another venue (sorry Harris).



I see what you are saying and i think that a regular cardtalker would find little in the NSU that they did not allready know.

However i,m sure for the majority of the readers of the magazine it is all new to them and so the adverts are money well spent in getting the product noticed.

____________________
Come, it is time for you to keep your appointment with The Wicker Man.
 
Posts: 28273 | Location: wolverhampton staffs uk | Registered: July 19, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by The Promo Hunter:
our concern should be making it stronger. Instead of fighting over a shrinking customer base, manufacturers and dealers need to grow the customer base.

.


Top post !!!
 
Posts: 113 | Location: Earth... mostly !!!! | Registered: January 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Arvin Sloane:

Your point about some dealers buying everything that is being, "churned out" by just the majors alone, doesn't jive with Cyberbats view that there are less and less titles being produced. I happen to agree with you, we have more choices than ever before .


When I said that there are fewer titles being produced, I based it on loking through back issues of NSU, Cards Illustrated, Combo, Collect, Previews and Diamond Solicitation documentation.

The collective evidence shows that there are fewer sets being released. Don't forget, Inkworks and Rittenhouse are relatively new companies, and also focus many of their releases on a narrow band of licenses.....
 
Posts: 113 | Location: Earth... mostly !!!! | Registered: January 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by xSaBx:
It doesn't matter what sex you're referring to, collecting cards is a minority pursuit, and is unlikely ever to become mass-interest overnight. bearing *that* in mind, you have to wonder what the next step will be for the hobby in general...


Agreed, which makes it all the more surprising that the hobby is neglecting natural cross-over markets like comic collectors and art enthusiasts.

I would hazard a guess that neither genres would interest you personally, but both these genres relate specifically to printed visual media.

So where are all the comic related releases ?
 
Posts: 113 | Location: Earth... mostly !!!! | Registered: January 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ghostrider666:
I think a bigger problem is the lack of product. There are _NO_Marvel/DC card sets out there. Upper Deck's just sitting on the licence(another story). The overall choice of cards being released just isnt there.


You're absolutely right, where are all the comic/art titles ?

By he way, whats the deal with UD having the license with no output?

You have me intrigued now ... !!
 
Posts: 113 | Location: Earth... mostly !!!! | Registered: January 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by mykdude:
Available titles is a trick, card companies cant just run what a couple of people want. They have to plug into what they feel is popular among card collectors....not just what is popular. In many cases it equals out to two entirely different things....a good case in point would be the "Six Feet Under" set. I just crindged when I heard it was being relased, knowing that the average watcher of that show is not a card collector.




A good point well made.

There is a market out there for something other than 'the latest hot tv show/film'....
 
Posts: 113 | Location: Earth... mostly !!!! | Registered: January 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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