Statistics Suggest Stranger Things, Guardians of the Galaxy Merchandise May Make Inroads in 2017
That’s the trend emerging from recent sales data from Entertainment Earth, a pioneer of the online retail and wholesale toy and collectibles industry since 1996. From mid-October 2016 to mid-January 2017, the company saw sustained demand for products based on Star Wars, but also noted significant consumer interest in more recent media phenomena like Stranger Things and Guardians of the Galaxy.
New or Old, Star Wars Keeps Selling
“The buzz and box office success that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story enjoyed during the holiday season helped drive the sale of Star Wars products,” according to Jason Labowitz, President and Co-Founder of Entertainment Earth.
But the overall best-selling collectible for Entertainment Earth in the prior three month period was the Wave 9 case from “The Black Series,” Hasbro’s line of deluxe 6-inch Star Wars action figures, which mostly features characters from older Star Wars material.
The case includes a figure of Sabine Wren from the current animated TV series Star Wars Rebels, but also figures of Princess Leia and Obi-Wan Kenobi as seen in the original 1977 film; a Snowtrooper and AT-AT Driver from its 1980 sequel, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back; and Darth Revan from the 2003 video game Knights of the Old Republic. This case outsold the next best-selling product for Entertainment Earth, Wave 2 of Hasbro’s X-Men Marvel Legends action figures, by nearly 25%.
“Fans have been anticipating the Darth Revan 6-inch figure for a long time,” notes Labowitz. “This Darth Revan figure was the Fan’s Choice winner way back in 2015. There was previously a 3 3/4-inch figure that was less articulated, but this is the first time he’s appeared as a 6-inch figure.”
Labowitz adds, “It doesn’t matter whether it’s from the newest film or what used to be called the ‘Expanded Universe,’ now ‘Star Wars Legends.’ There’s always a lot of interest in Star Wars collectibles in general.”
Princess Leia Pop! Vinyl figures also saw stronger than usual sales as fans sought items to mark the sudden death in late December of the actress who portrayed her, Carrie Fisher.
Stranger Things Leads Strong Showing by Funko Pop! Vinyl Figures
Orders for Funko Pop! vinyl figures from Stranger Things, the acclaimed Netflix original science-fiction/horror series, led a sales surge that helped the line reclaim its spot as the top-selling type of collectible at Entertainment Earth. Volume for Pop! vinyl figures increased 72% from the previous three month time frame.
The swell of consumer response to Stranger Things suggests fans and collectors are eagerly embracing newer franchises as well. Labowitz points to the series being green lit for a second season, which will return to Netflix on Halloween 2017, as a continued trend of growing pop culture markets.
Guardians of the Galaxy Collectibles Crack the Top Three
On the summer’s forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 release, Labowitz states, “Long-time Marvel Comics fans knew these characters, but the mass movie-going audience did not until the first movie hit big in 2014.” He says Guardians was one of the top three best-selling themes for Entertainment Earth over the previously measured time period. “Everyone loves the Guardians,” says Labowitz, “and audiences will want action figures, vinyl figures, and other collectibles to celebrate the new movie’s release.”
Continued Growth of Bif Bang Pow!
While Hasbro remained the number one company by sales, the continually growing scope and popularity of its Pop! Vinyl figures made Funko the top company based on volume for the previous three months, according to Entertainment Earth. Based on volume, Hasbro was number two and Bif Bang Pow!, the in-house Entertainment Earth brand, was number three.
Among its many products, Bif Bang Pow! is especially known for bobble heads, miniature Pin Mate™ wooden figures, and retro-style action figures. For New York Toy Fair 2017, Bif Bang Pow! announced new wooden collectibles, along with their TWIN PEAKS® line – with more on the way.
To that end, Labowitz encourages collectors to watch for several new exclusive items at upcoming conventions, such as San Diego Comic-Con in July.