Poyguimogul wrote:So Rand Paul (R) Kentucky - was on the Daily Show, and one thing he said stuck with me. "Competition drives down prices."
Ok Mr. Paul... why are my Transformers still going up in price when there are a metric shit ton of third party companies charging ass loads more for figures that will never be in an official comic/movie/show appearance (sans City Commander armor which was in a MOSIAC in which it was used by Nemesis Prime, although it's validity in the cannon is debatable).
I wish people would stop with the political arguments, but this can explained via microecomics (I will admit, am I NOT a collector yet). Warning, I might be wrong with the details.
1. Demand for Transformers increasing: Previous, the main (if not the only consumers) of TFs were kids. You have demand from new groups now, collectors, old dude yearnings for nostaliga, "just want to buy an Optimus" types, etc. Plus because of the Bay films (better or worse), TFs are popular than ever.
2. Lack of Competition: No other high-cache convertible robot toy (as I know) is available at the current time [maybe Power Rangers?]. During the 80s, TFs had to compete with the likes of Robotech, Voltron, GoBots, maybe Robotix, and others. Also, they were Diaclone toys (the toys TFs were based on) available some US stores. Not to mention, cheaper convertible toys were available to be bought by less picky kids and parents. Now TFs are a bit of monopoly, not to mention the consumer base is pickier (or more educated, your call) and only want Transformers, not just transforming toys.
3. Differentiated Products: Once Transformers were only Transformers aka Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, etc. Now, you got Star Wars TFs and others. New groups are buying TFs that was not interested in TFs before. Example: Star Wars fans who care nothing about Transformers are buying the Star Wars TFs, because, "Cool a Tie Fighters that turns into Darth Vader." In addition, you got "collectors editions" that are consider a premium brand to the collectors; for basically the same reasons why people pay more for designer jeans and Air Jordans (to be fair my feet like the pair of AJ One I tried on a couple years ago). People are willing to pay for premium product.
4. Cost of production risings: Don't cry for Hasbro, the toy division is still probably making major cash (but I had not checked Hasbro financial statements), but production costs gone from dirt cheap to merely pretty cheap. TFs are getting more expensive to make and ship to the US. One reason (somewhat minor?) is the rise in oil prices for the last decade. Not only shipping the toys getting more expensive, but the plastic they are made of is made of petroleum products. Also, making anything in China (sources include The Economist and Consumer Reports) is getting more expensive. The Chinese workers are (slowly) demanding higher wages and better working conditions for making anything
, but it will make stuff more expensive. Eventually, Hasbro might ditch China (like they did for Japan) for new manufacturing market (most likely Vietnam, but maybe the US (very unlikely though) if shipping costs increase).
All I can say wait for demand to decrease via market oversaturation, new competitors, or overstocking (clearance sale).