Pokemon Go Frenzy Boosts Real Merchandise Sales

The excitement of Pokemon Go may be easing a bit, but that hasn’t stopped merchandise sales from going through the ledgers.

Retailers and industry analysts report that sales of Pokemon-related merchandise, be it plush characters, clothing, movies, or console video games, have all grown significantly since the initial launch. of the game on July 8.

“Looking at our database of toys, in games, Pokemon is actually the number one brand,” said Michelle Liem, toy industry analyst and director of customer development for the NPD Group. “They basically have 25% shares of all games right now. That’s a big number.”

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The popularity of Pokemon Go has increased sales of Pokemon products and other games at stores such as EB Games, Best Buy, Walmart, and HMV.

Ms. Liem said six of the games’ top 10 items are Pokemon Trading Cards, a category that includes popular brands Uno, Monopoly, and even Rubik’s Cubes. “In a lot of cases, Pokemon sells them more or at least sells that much,” she said.

According to Ms. Liem, the best-selling Pokemon collectible card is a Breakpoint Booster Box, which costs around $ 100 (US) on Amazon.

HMV spokesperson Elyssa Macri said sales of Pokemon clothing increased 64%, sales of gifts and collectibles (such as toys, stuffed animals and blankets) increased by 150% and that sales of Pokemon series and movies (DVDs and Blu-ray discs) increased by 100%. hundred since the launch of the game.

Other popular items include Pokeball-themed glassware and Pikachu money boxes.

“As long as there is demand for these products, we will continue to stock them in stores and online,” Ms. Macri wrote in an email.

GameStop, the parent company of Canadian game retailer EB Games, saw sales double the week after Pokemon Go released in the United States. In an interview with CNBC, General Manager J. Paul Raines said that more than 460 stores are designated as PokeGyms where players can pick up supplies.

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Mr Raines also said sales of Pokemon products on Gamestop increased “significantly across the board” during what is “traditionally a slower time of year for video games.”

At Best Buy Canada, gamers have stocked up on power supplies and batteries. “We’ve heard it said loud and clear that charging on the go is really the key to the game,” said spokesperson Christine.

She said the increase in demand for chargers was quickly evident to Best Buy staff: gamers had started asking questions about batteries and charging their phones in stores, comments on social media pointed out. needed and, of course, it was obvious even from them. own gaming experiences.

The company has set up a special web page, called the “Hunting Kit Hub”, which contains the “catcher’s essentials”: ​​items such as backpacks, chargers, cell phone accessories, USB cables, cards. – iTunes gifts (for purchasing Pokecoins), water bottles, fitness trackers, trading cards and even Pokemon branded hats. However, Best Buy’s inventory of the Pokemon Go Plus handheld device and all of its Pokemon character stuffed animals are currently sold out.

“The hype has been insane to them,” said Christine Tam, spokesperson for Best Buy.

The company has ordered an additional 80,000 chargers and power banks to the 30,000 currently available in stores and online, but Tam could not confirm how much more than normal volumes.

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“We’re definitely attached to the Pokemon Go craze,” she said.

As for the future, Ms. Liem said Pokemon will be a successful long-term trend in toys, games, clothing and other merchandise like Frozen, Star wars Where angry Birds, he will have to do a lot of things right. This includes the continuation of the level of engagement with players and the sale of items such as collectible cards, as well as the strategy adopted by the Pokemon Company to roll out collectibles and higher priced items aimed at adults. .

“With Star wars there was huge interest in the price of $ 50 and up, ”she said, noting the popularity of Hasbro’s Kylo Ren lightsaber and the Millennium Falcon Lego set, both retailing in the lineup. of $ 200.

If Pokemon succeeds as much as Frozen or even Star warss, there is money to be made even outside of the app. Ms. Liem pointed out Frozen as a prime example of a new brand enjoying huge success in the country’s $ 2 billion toy industry, even two years after the film’s release. “No one knew it was going to be that big,” she said.

According to Ms. Liem, Star wars sold nearly $ 100 million worth of toys and other merchandise in Canada last year after the film’s release Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And the film increased sales by 115 percent.

By comparing, Frozen sold about half of what in 2015 and sales were up 13 percent year over year.

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“They still had good growth,” she said.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include the full name and position of Best Buy spokesperson Christine Tam.