Exclusive: Bandai UK on the soaring popularity of Collector products

Published on: 9th January 2023

Toy World editor Rachael Simpson-Jones sat down with the passionate Collector team at Bandai to discuss why this is one category toy retailers really shouldn’t overlook.

Pushing towards half of Bandai’s UK business, Bandai’s Collector segment, encompassing all things manga, anime and pop-culture, is surging – thanks to changing perceptions among customers and end consumers alike.

Traditionally the preserve of ‘geeks’ and ‘nerds’, increased sales of such products are being driven by improved content accessibility across streaming services such as Crunchyroll and Netflix, cinemas and gaming platforms, and a marketplace that has become significantly hungrier for the company’s own-IP, licensed and third-party Collector brands.

Dan Wilkes, Collector sales manager at Bandai UK, believes Marvel deserves much of the credit for turning being a collector into something aspirational and cool. He also agrees that the pandemic accelerated content consumption across all channels and streaming services, particularly anime on Netflix. Despite all this, Bandai says Collector isn’t a content led category, and that true collectors are 100% invested, 100% of the time.

Jack Sturman, Collector & Hobby channel brand manager, says Collector is a category any retailer can get into if they take sensible steps. What Bandai fondly refers to as ‘The Big 6’ – Demon Slayer, Dragon Ball, Jujutsu Kaisen, My Hero Academia, Naruto and One Piece (all anime properties) – generally tend to be safe bets for the average retailer or national, it says, and within those properties lie product lines perfect for collectors watching the pennies.

However, the beauty of Collector is that there really is something for everyone, with toys ranging from pocket money right up to hundreds of pounds. Selling into retail isn’t something to be taken lightly when you’re dealing with such a breadth of range, so the team has to be certain that recommended products suit each individual retailer. It also has to explain exactly why certain ranges sit at certain price points. Happily, Jack and Ben Austin, sales manager, Hobby & Collector channel at Bandai UK, are both avid collectors themselves.

To find out what else Jack, Ben, Dan and Leanne Royce, commercial manager – Hobby & Collector, have to say on the Collector channel and its many opportunities for retailers, read the full article published in the January issue of Toy World.


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