Lego, Barbie and Hot Wheels may have originated as children’s toys but their popularity has extended beyond this target audience to become collectables among adults.

Both toy and marketplace retailers have benefited from consumers collecting, trading and swapping these items to build upon their collections.

The newest collectable craze in the UK is Funko collectables that come in a range of designs with Funko’s Pop!, Dorbz and Mystery Minis figures among the most popular, with the products already having a sizeable fan base. For retailers selling entertainment merchandise in the UK, the brand offers an opportunity to boost sales and drive consumers to stores and online.

With the opening of the largest Primark store in Birmingham, the value player has ventured into this market, and more retailers are beginning to see how lucrative investing in this product area can be.

Among those retailers that already sell these collectables, Smyths Toys, Menkind and Hawkins Bazaar are performing ahead of the non-food retail market.

While this is not solely due to the growing popularity of collectables, this category does offer these UK retailers an opportunity that many of their counterparts in the US have already seized.

Avid collectors will regularly visit stores to browse the latest deliveries, offering retailers the potential to cross-sell with other items, boosting basket sizes.  Additionally, these loyal customers often buy in bulk – Hawkins Bazaar currently offers a multi-buy promotion to tap into this trend among customers when purchasing two, three or four figures at a time.

US retailer Funko, which posted a net sales increase of 22% to $166.6m for the Q1 2019/20 (ending 31 March 2019), presents an opportunity for more than just toys and gifting retailers – entertainment specialists, HMV and GAME both sell these items, though their ranges are still somewhat limited.

This move away from core categories is essential for these players given the terminal decline in the music and video markets.

HMV has ensured that its range of figures also targets its audience with music icons such as Elton John and Ed Sheeran among the Funko Pop! figures it sells.

Comparatively, GAME sells a wide range of Fortnite figures ensuring that its customers can purchase these alongside digital credit and other merchandise and accessories, improving average transaction values. Waterstones also sells a few Funko Pop! items in store but with numerous book to film franchises it to could exploit this trend more, particularly as it expands upon its non-book ranges.

UK retailers must keep ranges relevant and reactive to film launches if they are to capitalise on Funko’s popularity.

The likes of Target and Walmart often sell exclusive items that increase the desirability of these products and therefore boost resale value for collectors that trade their collections regularly.

ASDA is well positioned to capitalise on this given that its parent company already has a good relationship with the brand.

Extending Walmart’s exclusive figures to ASDA in the UK would be a quick win for the retailer, driving footfall in its non-food department.

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