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Star Wars Action Figures Struggling At Retail?

A recent article on Seeking Alpha shows a somewhat disturbing trend. Several national buyers of key retailers across several international markets were asked how Star Wars action figures rank in their sales statistics. And the results should be cause for concern for Hasbro and Disney. Click through for more details!

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In August 2018 national buyers for 23 major retailers in 14 major toy markets across the globe were asked about their top 5 performing toy lines, each time Star Wars action figures was among the top 5 it received 1 rank point. And the results were compared to the same time last year. And there have been some drastic changes.

And this is how things look for Star Wars action figures:

North America:
Ranks 08/2017 – 2
Ranks 08/2018 – 0

Europe:
Ranks 08/2017 – 5
Ranks 08/2018 – 0

Asia/Pacific:
Ranks 08/2017 – 4
Ranks 08/2018 – 2

What does it all mean? As mentioned, “Ranks” is the number of times Star Wars action figures ranked among the top 5 performing toy lines. And as you can see there has been a serious decline all across the globe.

In fact, in both the USA and Europe Star Wars action figures no longer rank among the top 5 selling action figures at all.

Now, the article does not go into exact detail what retailers (their national buyers, to be more precise) were asked, other than that they are major retailers, this probably means the likes of Walmart and Target in the USA.

Also, it doesn’t necessarily mean that Star Wars action figures sell worse than one year ago, it simply means that Star Wars is no longer among the top 5 best selling toy lines, so it could also be that other action figure toy lines simply perform much better this year.
And even though the article doesn’t say so, I assume that only brick and mortar retailers were questioned, not etailers such as Amazon or specialty etailers.

But still, this is a disturbing trend for Hasbro and Disney, especially now. And even though it’s only an anecdotal observation on my end, here in Germany Star Wars at retail is more or less dead. You can get 5 POA toys and little else. The Star Wars toy secion at most retailers is tiny and a sad sight. We still have TRU, yes, but there are relatively few of them and all the main shopping centers and malls have very little on offer when it comes to Hasbro Star Wars toys.

Maybe this is just a slump, maybe things will pick up again with Episode IX and the marketing blitz that we’ll surely get. Or maybe something is broken in Star Wars land after all. Bob Iger’s announcement to take things more slowly now is certainly another indicator that Disney’s and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars strategy needs an overhaul. The performance of the toys is heavily dependent on the success of the movies.

The article also mentions Disney Princesses, and this line is down too, Transformers is also down, it’s very similar to Star Wars for Transformers (it no longer ranks among the top 5 best selling toy lines). Hasbro might be in some trouble here.

What are your observations? Do Star Wars toys move? Do other toy lines just move that much better? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

Read the entire article by Lutz Muller on Seeking Alpha.

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