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POP MART: The Blind box economy

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According to Euromonitor that the retail sales total of games and toys in China have risen between RMB 135.6 billion during 2013 and RMB 324.1 billion as of 2018with an average annual rate of 19.1 percent. But not all toys are sold to children. POP MART offers the blind box, is a top player in the market for designer toys in China.

The market for designer toys in China has grown in recent several years. Based on Wang Ning, the founder of POP MART the trend for designer toys started with Hong Kong in the 1990s and was inspired from Japan, South Korea, and the West in the early 2000s. This trend is expected because of the country’s solid economy, he claims.

POP MART’s rapid rise in the rapidly growing Chinese toy market

On the 11th of December in 2020 POP MART launched its initial public offering (IPO) at 38.5 HK$ a share hoping to raise $674 million. At the time the day was over POP MART’s share price was up by more than 77.1 HK$, breaking the record for the most successful debutant in deals that exceed 500dollars for deals over 500$ in Hong Kong. Within ten years of opening its first location located in Beijing, POP MART has earned its spot as the market leader in China’s Chinese fashion toy industry. It boasts an annual compound rise of 22.8 percent, the market has seen other companies follow in the POP MART model.

Click here for Popmart Molly.

Although POP MART is dominating the market with more than 75% of the market however, rivals have also profited from the trend of designer toys. 52 Toys is one of the companies, which is specialized in IP derivative toys. The company was founded in the year 2015 and was only able to begin attracting investors in the year 2017 according to the director Chen Wei, thanks to the growth of the media industry. smaller brands that focus on IP, such as Ali the Fox are also seen a rise in popularity. Brands from abroad have observed China increasing demand for toy products: LEGO and the Japan-inspired Italian brand Tokidoki have revealed that they are planning big to target to enter the Chinese market.

Younger and younger adults are turning into designers toy buyers in China

Designer toys, also known as art toys are items of collectibles and toys designed by designers and artists that are typically made of vinyl and inspired by pop culture stereotypes (hip-hop graffiti, hip-hop, Japanese Manga culture). In the past the collectors of designer toys in China were a small group. But, the landscape is rapidly changing. Younger and younger adults are turning into fashion-conscious consumers of toys in China.

Chen Shaofeng, vice-dean of the Institute for Cultural Industries at Peking University, stated that the rising amount of consumers of designer toys in China is due to the higher standard of living. The rise of the designer toy market in China has demonstrated China’s young adults’ interest in the arts and culture. However they’re eager to discover their identity. The act of buying and collecting certain kinds of art-related toys is a way to express themselves; a method to let people know about who they really are as well as what they enjoy. Although most designer toys are only available in a small amount and their prices are expensive, they aren’t readily available or affordable to the majority of the collectors of designer toys in China. Blind box toys from China as a work of art that is affordable has gained a lot of attention on the market for designer toys.

What is a Blind Box what is its purpose, and how is it popular in China?

Blind boxes are identical from the outside, however they feature a one distinct minifigure inside. They are created by various artists or designers. The plastic figurines in palm size are packed into opaque polybags and sold as separate blind containers (Chinese:Mang He ). In general, each series is made up of 12 characters. Twelve blind boxes form one package, while 12 packages make up one box. So, one box contains 144 minifigures and 12 different designs are distributed randomly.

In each of the 12 styles One minifigure will be chosen to be a mystery model and there will always one figure of each of the blind boxes. This keeps many blind box collectors from purchasing additional pieces to build their collections. Since you never know which item you’ll purchase, those who want to build their collection can buy all 144 blinds in one go. The majority of blind boxes are offered at the same price, $59 RMB (8 dollars) which is expensive for a hand-sized plastic doll, but it isn’t costly enough to make collectors not buying more and more. In the last year, around 4,500,000 pieces of Molly among the top sought-after characters in blind boxes in China has been sold.

The market for blind boxes in China

There will also be a limited series (limited quantity for a limited time) of characters to commemorate a special events like holidays like Christmas and Chinese New Year for the same price, and there is no additional cost for the limited edition holiday specials. Some collectors will even gather in front of shops all night.

Designer toy buyers in China frequently showcase their collection through social networks. They also talk about and trade dolls among themselves through online communities for toys like PAQU (Pa Qu ) or used platforms such as Xianyu (Xian Yu ) from Alibaba. Dealers can also make a lot of money selling the popular blind boxes they have acquired. The cost on the secondhand market is determined by a variety of aspects, e.g. the volume of production of the same series of blind boxes, the ratio of mystery style to regular styles (normally one-fourth of 144) and so on.

What is POP MART? (Pao Pao Ma Te )?

Based on POP MART itself, it is a company that sells lifestyle products with a brand philosophy of “MAKE FUN!”. POP MART was founded in 2010 and was able to sell a wide range of lifestyle products, such as toy, home beauty, and more. In recent past, POP MART has discovered the lack of enthusiasm and desire for designer toys in Chinese teens. Since the time, POP MART has changed its business model and has shifted its focus towards the market for designer toys in China.

Prior to when POP MART began to solely work with designers blind boxes were sold through various channels like toy stores or stationary shops. Presently, POP MART gives designers the opportunity to avail an “all-inclusive services” from production through distribution to marketing. Additionally, POP MART is running more than 30 stores in exquisite shopping malls across 14 cities across China. It also operates more than 200 Roboshops (automated vending machines) across the nation. The company launched it’s Tmall flagship store in 2015 and also introduced its APP in the year 2016.

POP MART told the toy chronicle in an interview earlier this year. POP MART is the UK most popular designer vinyl toy website in the moment the main POP MART audience is 18 and 35. urban white-collar workers and students. 75% of them are female. Wang Ning, the founder of Pop Mart says: “The market for designer toys in China is enormous and exciting.”

China Designer Toy Exhibition

POP MART is also behind the Beijing and Shanghai Toy Show. Over 300 artists from China, Japan, South Korea and Europe, the United States, and Europe were present at the most recent Beijing Toy Show 2019 in August. POP MART introduced designer toy exhibitions to China mainland by launching the Beijing Toy Show 2017 (BTS). The art toy shows have been influential throughout Asia. They not only provide the opportunity for fans to meet their favorite artists and buy exclusive designer toys, however artists from different countries are able to come together and create many wonderful collaborations. For POP MART it’s the most efficient method of identifying promising artists and discover collaboration opportunities.