2013 in my eyes will be remembered as the year that Vinylmation evolved, in the past 12 months, Vinylmation has gone through so many changes, some good and some bad.
There have been some big changes including a change of guard at the top of the Vinylmation division which has seen many of the changes slowly trickle through the hobby throughout the year.
Some of these changes must have been in development for long before this year, many of the biggest problems that Vinylmation had such as over production of figures, too many designs, too many reduced items, etc. Slowly throughout the year, that has changed.
Looking at the release calendar for the past few months shows how things have changed, we have seen the reduction of 9″‘s being reduced to the point where we have only had 1 released in the last 6 months (Ursula). We have see very few open edition figures, other than a few selected holiday figures and the Mystery Bakery series (which isn’t truly a open window as there is still an element of blind boxing).
Not only are Disney producing less overall product lines, they also seem to be reducing the amount of items they are producing. Many series in 2013 sold out without needing to be reduced, Park Starz 1, Beauty and the Beast and Monsters University all sold out this year, with many other sets like Marvel #1, Park Starz 2 and more, coming close to selling out. This fixes the problems of the outlets/discounts damaging the Vinylmation brand. There will always be the odd release that maybe wasn’t as successful as Disney imagined, that’s normal.
With Disney cutting back the case size on most blind box series, this is also having a big impact on how people buy and trade, as with less figures per series with a greater chance at getting variants and the chaser, it’ll be interesting in the long term how this change will effect collectors. The main aim from Disney’s point of view is to get more different series released but reducing the amount of figures available.
Not only are Disney releasing less items, they have also cut the Limited Edition sizes on many single figures and twin packs. For a while in 2012, we saw plenty of LE2000 items but in 2013, we saw many LE numbers reduce to 1500 and 1000. Which has slowly reduced the amount of these kind of items being reduced.
Then we have the new “Eachez” brand, this new way of packaging Vinyls with the chance of a Variant has been extremely successful for all the figures that got released this way in 2013. Every one sold out and I seriously doubt with some of them being LE2500, they would have sold out as quickly without the variant factor. Then we have the Park 13 Tower of Terror Eachez set which changes things all together, here we have a large item with a chance of variants. This is certainly something we will probably see much more in the future as I can’t see it not being a success.
An advantage of the faster sell outs and lower LE numbers is generally items will probably hold their value much easier, I think the idea that figures will go up in value isn’t that easy to predict, that’s all down to each individual figure and its popularity. But most collectors will be happier knowing that their collection hasn’t all ended up at the outlets or BOGOF at some point.
Even Disneystore.com has changed, the site is closing up the year with around 40 items available, with a quarter of them consisting of Popcorn single figures, if you take out the last few discounted items, holiday items and trays, there isn’t much left. The selection is much stronger and also is a good representation of what’s at physical stores and at the theme parks. There is no doubt that the days of 150+ lines on .com with loads of big discounts are long gone.
I have my fingers crossed that heading into 2014, the Disney Store have put the “non-Disney” blind box series firmly behind them, now they effectively gave almost every one of them away. I’m hoping with these out of the way, sets like Urban Redux might have a stronger chance of getting people’s attention as these got lost in the crowd with so many non-Disney figures in 2013.
There are some downsides to all these changes, first off, Vinylmation collecting is becoming increasingly more expensive, if you got into the habit of waiting for reductions or BOGOF deals at your local Disney store or heading to the outlets, to get all your Vinylmations are a reduced price. That is becoming harder to do as more items sell out, meaning unless you are willing to pay full price when it comes out, you might have missed the boat.
Also if your not local to D-Street, getting hold of new Limited Edition items is becoming increasingly harder as not only are their generally less of most items than in previous years but the added hunt for variants is meaning getting blind boxes of these items is now almost impossible. Going via DisneyStore.com isn’t much easier as international shipping is so expensive and high demand items can go in minutes.
While smaller case sizes mean more and more people are turning to buying full cases to get the whole set in one swoop, which can cause the general price of those commons to sit at just below retail. Generally just after release, lots of collectors are trying to sell off their spare figures, resulting in the prices staying a bit lower due to increased competition. However with sets selling out quicker, in the long run, those prices will probably slowly creep back up as newer collectors come into the hobby.
Vinylmation collectors are generally not in the same place to where they were years ago, the old “Gotta have them all” mentality is long gone and most of us have all become much more selective in what we buy. Most collectors also got used to waiting for the majority of new releases, because buying things on day one became almost unnecessary, but heading into 2014, that is already becoming less and less reliable.
There are swings and roundabouts with collecting, for years collectors complained about Disney swamping the stores with too many releases and how their over production was driving down prices, but here going into 2014, Disney have addressed many of these issues and steered Vinylmation back into a more “collector” friendly place.
How do you feel about all the changes in 2013?