Calling October 2022 a bad month for Hasbro would be putting it mildly. From missing their third quarter earnings to leaked (and shockingly poor) sales numbers, this was one spooky season the Rhode Island toy company will definitely want to forget.
Thankfully, the fourth quarter of 2022 brings us into the holiday season, which is traditionally a great time for toymakers. If there was ever a time for CEO Chris Cocks to reevaluate the company’s three-year plan to increase revenue 50% by squeezing current customers, this is it.
Predictably, Cocks and Hasbro have decided instead to stay the course. Let’s see how that’s going thus far.
At the stroke of midnight on November 1, the Engine of Vengeance HasLab campaign officially failed, garnering barely over 5,000 backers. While we all knew this was coming, many of us thought there would be some type of push at the end to make things look respectable. Instead, consumers delivered a message loud and clear that the set wasn’t worth its absurd $350 price point.
Meanwhile, the Masters of the Universe Eternia Playset from Mattel Creations has finally slowed down a bit after passing 8,000 backers. With eight days remaining in the campaign, however, there’s a very good chance it reaches the 10,000 backer stretch goal in the final 48 hours.
Whatever the case, though, there is a market of consumers willing to pay over $550 for a premium collectible from one of the two biggest toy companies. It just has to provide enough value to justify the cost.
You’d figure Hasbro would’ve learned this lesson after the failed Rancor and Reva Lightsaber campaigns, but the company’s executives (i.e. NOT the fantastic design folks) had more important things to worry about…like how to make more money without adding value to existing product lines.
Inflation on Steroids
On October 30 during London Comic-Con, the Hasbro Star Wars team revealed a surprising amount of great new products. Of particular note were the 3.75″ scale Vintage Collection offerings. Four of the “new” figures were repacks, but they were ones people actually wanted.
Hasbro also revealed the line’s long-awaited debut of Paz Vizsla, which looked fantastic. We all knew it would carry an absurd price tag due to the figure’s unique tooling, but most of us were still willing to overpay for such a cool and sought-after item. And even if Paz was out of your budget, there were still four really great repacks to help populate your toy shelf and/or Sail Barge.
With the new reveals set to go up for preorder on November 1, Hasbro released the prices on October 31. The first shock came when we saw that a 3.75″ Paz Vizsla would retail for $27.99. To get an idea of how absurd that price point is, the 6″ scale Deluxe Black Series version of this figure (dubbed the Heavy Infantry Mandalorian) retailed for $29.99 in 2019.
You’d also figure a toy like this would sell out immediately. At the time of this writing, however, Paz Vizsla is still in stock from Amazon nearly 11 hours after going up for preorder.
Next were the repacks, which all sported a retail price of $16.99. When a new Cassian Andor figure was also revealed on November 1, it confirmed that $16.99 is the new mainline price point.
Less than two years ago, the Vintage Collection mainline price was $12.99. The price crept up to $13.99 in June 2021, but that resulted in only a few grumbles. After Chris Cocks took over in 2022, however, the Vintage Collection’s mainline price immediately shot to $14.99. After instituting the $5 Boba Fett Tax at the start of 2022, Cocks decided to skip $15.99 and squeeze yet another dollar out of its customer base.
And before you begin trying to defend these prices as being due to inflation, the 20%+ increase during Cocks’ tenure massively outpaces even this year’s historic rates. The truth is that Chris Cocks is attempting to do exactly what he said he would to meet his 50% revenue growth goal — something even Wall Street analysts agree is far too ambitious. He’s also well aware of consumers being frustrated with his strategy, citing “increasing price sensitivity for the average consumer” as a primary factor in Hasbro’s dismal third quarter numbers.
Meanwhile, Mattel and McFarlane continue to make high-quality collectibles that are priced much more affordably, all while Hasbro hopes its superior licensing catalog will allow the company to gouge its customers into higher profits.
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