So you've noticed the influx of pre-orders, prices, and availability... It's been no secret if you're a part of the collectibles scene, that pre-orders are absolutely essential when trying to get your hands on any collectible worth having. Typically as consumers, we're made aware of the release of any given statue or model kit months ahead of time. That gives even the everyday buyer a shot at scooping our collection right from under us. However, you may have noticed an excess of pre-orders and sold out product even right here on our own site, and there's a few reasons for that.
Due to the adverse effects that the global health epidemic brought our way, a shortage of production, productivity, new product development and employees ensued. With many people having been home from work looking for new hobbies and interest- anime exploded! You may have noticed many industry giants such as Funimation, Amazon, Netflix, Walmart, and Target making huge investments in expanding their anime-based content and products. Partnerships being formed, platforms combining, acquisitions like we've never seen previously in the anime industry.
However that's where most of the positivity comes to a halt! Unfortunately this lack of resources has trickled its way into even the simplest of things... Materials. Many mines & manufacturers essential for the materials necessary for upkeep of equipment and machinery used in manufacturing have become unavailable or scarce due to our run in with COVID-19. It's not just not being able to MAKE the statue; its making the tool, that fixes the machine, that makes the statue, being the issue. A shortage of minerals and materials caused a shortage in tools, manufacturing equipment, and of course the necessities for developing new devices. Even when they have that... do they have a way to get it?!
With the pending issue of shortages comes too the issue of employment. Unfortunately many people were laid off from many companies to this domino effect in order to simply keep the companies running as optimally as possible. This meant even something as simple as having product shipped became an issue very quickly. With fewer products being made, fewer products needed to be shipped. With fewer products being shipped, less truck drivers and other various material transporters were needed.
When suddenly during this huge dip comes an EXPLOSION of interest in anime. Once you fall into the rabbit hole that is anime, its admittedly difficult to find your way out. Interest turns into manga, posters, clothing, even music! Next thing you know you're driving to work humming the Blue Bird Naruto theme while thinking of an excuse to give your boss as to why you're 40 minutes late after waking up an hour earlier than usual so you don't get fired. With demand of anime products sky-rocketing and companies trying to cut their budgets, it was bound to happen that the two intersect in quite the unfortunate way.
Now many manufacturers have difficulty getting their products made, then difficulty having them sent to their distributors, then their distributors have HUGE demand to fulfill with little product. So in some cases of course you'll find a raise in price, demand determines the price of everything. Manufacturers and distributors raised their prices and had no choice but to slow shipping times and/or delay shipments due to the lack of shipments coming in and employees available. With higher prices its less likely larger quantities are ordered by retailers because they don't want to tie up too much of their capital up in product they're unsure will sell in such quantities in such a critical time. Hence why so many retailers quickly sell out of everything! Where they would normally order 15 copies of a single manga, they might now only carry 5.
This phenomena also created a huge swing in Pre-Order sales. Depending on the retailer you shop from , Pre-Orders are conducted in one of two fashions. The more common use is an evaluation of how many of the product should be ordered- and only that many will be. The other is a retailer purchases a set amount and offers them as a pre-order before receiving the product, any excess will be offered for sale after pre-orders are fulfilled. We at Eternity Collectibles do the latter. Because we order everything in such finite quantities, any desirable item is typically a pre-order necessity.
In the foreseeable future for the anime collectibles niche, gone are the days of saving up after you find out your favorite product just hit the store and buying it a few weeks down the road. With how manufacturing and distributing work, it's extremely difficult to get the desirable collectibles even a day after their release date. I hope this helped better explain why the industry is operating in this manner currently, but I'm sure whatever business you're involved in is affected in a relatively similar way. We'll all make it through this and life is never guaranteed so lets do so with an abundance of positivity! Thanks again for reading!
Owner, Eternity Collectibles