Saturday, May 29, 2010

Speaking of fads.

Speaking of bubbles.

Or....when I'm talking about micro trends, I call them fads.

I got used to one fad taking the place of another fad, and on and on for years.

The first fad was the biggest;

Sports cards, 1984-1991. Replaced by,

Comics, 1991-1995, Replaced by,

Magic and non-sports, 1994 -1995. Replaced by,

Pogs, 1996, Replaced by

Beanie Babies, 1998-1999 Replaced by,

Pokemon, which maxed out Christmas, 2000. (These are approximate timelines and there was overlap, but you get the picture.)

Since then?

Nothing. Nada. Not a fad to be seen.

I spent the first five years of the 00's waiting for the next fad. Never happened.

I can't explain the difference between good selling -- say, like boardgames, or the revival of D & D, or the miniature games, or many other things that have popped up -- and a 'fad.' It's a difference in degree and tone. I just know it when I see it.

I was able to take advantage of the pogs and beanie babies and Pokemon, the last three fads, but I'm not entirely sorry that I haven't had to deal with any fads since. Makes the business more stable and predictable.

Still....knowing what I know, I'm pretty sure I could maximize the next fad if it ever comes along.

I know that there have been fads since, but outside my bailiwick, (manga, for instance, probably sold best in the mass market) and probably much of it in the electronic realm.

But what I wanted to point out is that you can have a trend -- a pattern -- that lasts for 16 straight years, and then suddenly ends for the next 10 years....So no one can get it all right, and no amount of experience can prepare you for everything...


stusigpi said...


Just so you know, non sport cards are becoming very popular these days such as Iron Man II, Razor Vault, Poker Cards, etc. You are correct in that these are not as big as they were back in the day.


Offy said...

I think you'd have to include Webkinz in there. While it was close to a second go-round of Beanie Babies, these actually had something to reward you for buying a bunch of them in the rewards that you got on the website. Also, you'd have to buy at least one a year if you wanted to keep playing in the website. I think they've died down now, but they were a sustained fad for a good 2 - 3 years.

jcroot said...

You forgot Hot Wheels! I ran the High Desert Diecast Car Club from 1997 up to 2005. At that time a lot collectors were switching from cards and Beanie babies to HW.

Duncan McGeary said...

Like I said, I know there were fads I missed.

Most often, it's an accessibility issue. Product that is designed to be sold and marketed in the mass market can be hard for an independent to get a hold of.

Any model that requires I buy my stock from Target is one I stay away from.

Often, little stores either have to buy so much, or buy so much extra crap, or are given such small margins and must wait so much longer -- that it simply becomes not useful,

One of the main aspects of a fad is that: the product isn't hard to SELL, it's hard to GET.