Mint Musings: Black Friday a Hit in the Hobby World – With the holiday season upon us, a healthy heaping of turkey wasn’t the only thing many people in the hobby world were looking forward to last week. Starting as early as last Wednesday, many stores had Black Friday sales stretching all the way through Tuesday. With some of the lowest prices on wax and memorabilia seen throughout the year, this period has quickly become one of the most anticipated on the hobby calendar.
I had the chance to speak to the heads of some of the major trading card sellers in the country, including Thomas Fish of Blowout Cards and Adam Martin at Dave and Adam’s Card World. Both acknowledged that the period of sales had been successful for moving product, keeping their staff continually busy. Fish in particular said, “It was very, very successful, well above our expectations.” He noted that his online store, Blowoutcards.com, actually went down for about 10 minutes at one point due to the heavy amount of traffic on the site. Martin also reported a very large number of online sales, with his staff sending out roughly 36 palates worth of packaged orders.
Both said their retail locations also did very well on Black Friday. Martin noted that when his main location opened, there were 600 people in line waiting to get into the store. Many of them were there for the deals on local team merchandise such as the Sabres and the Bills. He also disclosed that the store did 1,500 transactions within 24 hours. For Blowout Cards, Fish said his retail store was up significantly from a year-over-year perspective.
Both Fish and Martin mentioned the impact of Panini’s Black Friday pack promotion on their store success. They said they moved a lot of 2015 Panini product, most notably in football, thanks to the added bonus of the packs. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Panini’s Black Friday promotion allows customers to get bonus packs of trading cards with your purchase on Black Friday. Showcasing a variety of athletes, the packs also have randomly inserted numbered parallels, memorabilia cards and autographs. Perusing Twitter on Friday, I saw several notable hits from the packs, including autographs of Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry. Fish noted the popularity of the promotion saying it was, “Without a doubt, the most anticipated hobby store promotion.” He also stated his belief that it’s the promotion with the most participation by people who come into hobby stores.
Black Friday has become a period that collectors seem to save their hobby money for. Given the numerous deals, it’s hard to blame them. With several boxes at affordable levels of pricing, including Blowout’s sales on 2015 Bowman Chrome Baseball at $29.95, there were many deals that I noticed were sold out within a few minutes as people raced to gobble them up.
As far as surprises of this year’s Black Friday went, neither store had anything particularly of note. Martin did say he was surprised by how much entertainment trading card product they moved while Fish said he was a little surprised by the number of new customers they had this year for Black Friday.
In a way, Black Friday has become akin to the National in the event it creates for collectors. Blowout Cards’ online forum had been hyping it for days and Fish noted that his customer base is pretty excited for the sales, likening it to an online version of the madness we often seen at retail locations like Target. I don’t know about you, but not sure I’d want to see two people fighting over a box of trading cards. After all, it would potentially ruin the grade on the cards if they got damaged.
Black Friday is typically the most important sales day of the year for many companies, and it appears as if the sports memorabilia world is no different. With the heightened amount of product releases each year, it certainly creates an abundance of boxes to choose from. This ends up being a benefit to collectors in the long run when they can get them at discounted prices.
Given the success of Panini’s Black Friday pack promotion, I’d love to see some of the other manufacturers follow suit and set up promotions of their own for the day to give collectors something else unique to chase. Either way, if any of you out there reading this happened to buy any wax during the frenzy, best of luck to you. I hope you pull something sweet for your collection.
Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan as the producer of ESPN’s Mint Condition has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on the hobby in Mint Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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