I’ve been collecting action figures for a long time now and everytime there’s a price increase I wince. Like many of you, I get comfortable with the pricing on the lines I collect and it’s not easy to make an adjustment to new pricing, but I think we’re all going to be in for a lot of price jumps for the remainder of the year.
As the price of crude oil keeps increasing so with the prices on our beloved collectibles. Yes, plastic is made from oil and we will see price increases based on that alone but considering the price jumps gasoline and diesel fuel have been making recently that won’t be the only reason that we’ll see the prices creep up. Heck, they may not even creep they may just leap-frog up, up and up… Not only will those price increases have to cover the cost of the plastic involved in manufacture and packaging we’re also going to be footing the bill for the transportation of said toys from the factories in China to the ports of entry the world over and the costs of moving the product from the ports to distribution facilities and then to retailers. Then there will also be the additional costs at every step of the journey as the factories, manufacturers, transportation, distributors and retailers have to deal with the added expenses that fuel costs will add to running their business. We’ve heard prices thrown around of $100 for Hasbro’s AT-TE and $150 for the big Millennium Falcon, but how much will they really be when they hit the stores if the expenses keep going up.
And it’s not just the price of the toys that’s going to affect out collecting. I caught something on the radio news about Iran wanting the price of oil to be over $300 per barrel, if that happens (and it is quite possible that it could) that could put gasoline in the range of $9-$10 per gallon. If that happens how many of us will still be able to collect "everything" within out chosen lines? How many will be able to afford toys period? Retailers are going to do everything possible to keep prices low on the staple items that nearly everyone uses and needs to live — food, detergent, soap, clothing — and as retailers start to offer more and more loss leaders to get people into their stores. When that happens they’ll have to start raising the prices on the items we don’t need to survive like electronics and toys to make up for the profits they’re losing elsewhere in the store.
Something tells me that there is going to be a huge upheaval in the toy collecting community in the next few months unless the price oil drops and drops soon… As I sit here drooling over all of the DC and Lucasfilm goodness that Mattel and Hasbro have on tap for us by the end of the year, I really have to wonder if I’ll be able to afford any of it…