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View Full Version : Does the online collecting community overestimate its influence?



bigbarada
06-25-2012, 11:43 PM
This is something I've just been thinking about recently. It's mostly been sparked by reading discussions between members on this and other forums, where you get 2 or 3 people agreeing that they want to see a certain figure made. This will then occasionally lead to the assumption that, since no one has spoken out in direct opposition to these 2 or 3 people, then their opinion must be representative of the entire collecting community. In psychology we learned of this as the "false consensus effect (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False-consensus_effect)."

Basic definition:

In psychology, the false-consensus effect is a cognitive bias whereby a person tends to overestimate how much other people agree with him or her. There is a tendency for people to assume that their own opinions, beliefs, preferences, values and habits are 'normal' and that others also think the same way that they do. This cognitive bias tends to lead to the perception of a consensus that does not exist, a 'false consensus'.

So my first question would be, what percentage of the entire worldwide Star Wars collecting community do people believe the online community represents? For every 100 collectors, how many of those are members of an online forum and actually post their thoughts and opinions on a regular basis (at least once a week)?

My guess would be about 2-3% at the most. In fact, I would be totally shocked if the online community represented more than 10% of all Star Wars collectors in the world.

How many people post on Rebelscum on a daily basis right now? Maybe a few hundred at the most? As I type this, there are currently 183 people on RS, 63 members and 120 guests.

I tend to think of sites like Rebelscum, SirStevesGuide, etc. as a minority. A very vocal minority, but a minority nonetheless. However, the tendency on these kinds of sites is to assume that we speak for the entire Star Wars collecting community. So, is it accurate to think that or are we simply putting too much stock in our own opinions and preferences?

This is really just meant to be a thoughtful discussion, not a slam on anybody.

RegJr
06-26-2012, 09:33 AM
Although I have not thought about this particular aspect before, I have often wondered how much of the overall toy buying market is comprised of adult collectors. My guess is that it is relatively small, say, less than 20%. As a friend of mine once said: the average toy collector buys more toys than the average kid, but there are far more kids out there buying toys than there are adult toy collectors.

But to your point. I know of adult collectors who don't, or who rarely talk about toys online. I would call these guys the "casual" collectors. I think it is the truly passionate collectors who get on the forums on a daily basis and chat it up about toys. You know, those of us who are obsessed about it.

pohatu771
06-26-2012, 06:10 PM
As someone who sees the toy aisles every day, for extended periods of time, I can say that I see the same one or two adults leave the aisle empty-handed almost every day (though when we receive something new, they leave with six figures), but see two or three different kids leave with one or two figures.

Then, of course, we have the parents who will occasionally buy a few figures as gifts. Christmas is a different scenario altogether.

RegJr
06-26-2012, 07:14 PM
As someone who sees the toy aisles every day, for extended periods of time, I can say that I see the same one or two adults leave the aisle empty-handed almost every day (though when we receive something new, they leave with six figures), but see two or three different kids leave with one or two figures.

That falls into line with what I expected. Adult collectors make up a small fraction of the overall toy-buying market, naturally. And that's why I have often thought that the adult collecting community tends to exaggerate their importance to Hasbro. At the end of the day, Hasbro needs to please kids and their parents first. After they have expended a sufficient amount of energy doing that, then they can throw the adult collector a bone or two.

pohatu771
06-26-2012, 10:08 PM
The idea that adults come first is understandable, at least. There are no children on this forum, and they likely don't see any waiting for stores to open at 8:00.

Of course, US law requires users be 13 to register an account at any site, and for most of the year, kids are in school at 8:00, so they aren't exactly likely to be running into them.

I have noticed, however, that parents seem to try to steer their kids towards Movie Heroes rather than The Vintage Collection, despite being the same price. I don't really understand why, and I can't ask, of course.

Michael_Knight
06-29-2012, 11:42 PM
I have thought the same thing bigbarada. I have no idea what the numbers really are. I was a collector for may years before joining a forum but even then I would look at the forums for news and sightings. Before that I would look in magazines to see what was coming. I actually can remember a day when I would rely on the back of card to see what was coming.

I also wonder how much of the collecting community is so casual that they have no idea what is coming out and just buy what they stumble into that they think is cool. I really can't imagine collecting like that but there are probably still people that buy figures this way. Or even better, what is the percentage of people who are avid collectors but have never heard of RS before. On occasion, when I feel like being gregarious, I will talk to someone who is looking at Star Wars like me and was surprised to find a person every now and then that seemed to know a whole lot about what was coming out but had never heard of RS. It seems like if you are online a lot and are up to date on rumors that RS is a place that would have come across your radar. I have to suspect that many people just don't like to post in forums and that's the reason. If I were to guess I think your estimates could be accurate but I would not be surprised to see them a little higher.

Also outside the country would it be different? For example, how many Australians are on Mouse Droid?

bigbarada
06-30-2012, 01:59 PM
I really wish Hasbro would just publish their data on sales demographics. Although, people who didn't like the results would simply accuse Hasbro of lying or a cover-up. :rolleyes:

I think many casual collectors might just browse the front pages of a few sights to see what is available and what figures are rare. Tragically, I think most casual collectors use eBay to determine which figures are rare and they assume the Buy-It-Now prices are the actual value of the figures.

I know I've caught myself doing that when I'm researching a toy line that I haven't kept up with in years. For instance, I was browsing eBay one night and just thought to myself, "I wonder how much some of those old Harmony Gold Robotech figures are going for these days?" I actually wouldn't know where to go if I wanted to connect with other Robotech fans and talk about the toys. I'm sure I could find a site without much searching; but my experience with Star Wars websites has taught me that not all fan sites are created equal. Just because a site understands the concept of SEO marketing doesn't mean they have the best information about that hobby.

So then the doubts set in as to whether I'm even on a reputable site when it comes to Robotech figures and then I just find it easier to stay away from fan sites and go with what I see on eBay. I'm pretty sure a lot of Star Wars collectors might have had similar experiences with Star Wars sites. Especially if they go out on a limb and post a dumb question on a forum and get instantly ridiculed for not doing their research or using the forum's search feature. Or worse, get totally ignored like they are not even there.

Michael_Knight
07-09-2012, 01:29 PM
Yeah, I wonder why they aren't published? Aren't they supposed to make that data public for investors and share holders so they can use that information to research trends in the market? Or is it just strictly profits and such? I know other companies on the S&P have to.

pohatu771
07-09-2012, 09:25 PM
Companies can send all of the information to shareholders, it doesn't have to be published.

Michael_Knight
07-11-2012, 12:34 AM
Oh, well in that case I will buy a share from Hasbro, I assume they trade publicly, and report back here. I will see if I can find out when Hasbro says Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are in demand if they are blowing smoke up our *****.

ThallJoben
08-30-2012, 11:24 PM
I do agree that for collectors like us who spend time reading & posting on forums like this, it appears that we may have at least some influence when it comes to what's made re: these toys. And, in some cases I'm sure that's true re: the past Fans choice figures like Ephont Mon, etc. (at least some of these were decided re: votes online, IIRC). Plus, I have a strong feeling that Hasbro does visit sites like this, though admittedly this is sheer speculation on my part.

Another example: This is not the same thing, but there is another thread in the EU section on this board discussing the Droids/Ewoks cartoons from the '80's & how much fans (including myself) have wanted them made available for years (the shows are still not on DVD yet, at least not in their entirety). There was even a poll conducted on this site last year re: these shows.

And now, it was just recently announced by Lflm. (@C6) that at some point in the (hopefully near) future, the shows would be made available online on their website for viewing. My point is, I have a feeling that if it weren't for the desire shown by those of us on this (and other) sites re: these shows, I doubt if Lflm. would have have any way of knowing that people were still interested in them. Just my .02....

FDOIRex
09-02-2012, 02:53 PM
Of course we do. Look at the population of Rebelscum. Now think about the sales of the brand. It becomes apparent we are but a small minority.

bigbarada
09-02-2012, 07:46 PM
Of course we do. Look at the population of Rebelscum. Now think about the sales of the brand. It becomes apparent we are but a small minority.

As of right now:


There are currently 195 users online (http://forum.rebelscum.com/online.php). 76 members and 119 guests
Most users ever online was 377, 06-27-2012 at 09:57 PM.

Overall numbers:


Rebelscum.com Forums StatisticsThreads 282,005 Posts 5,016,135 Members 23,624 Active Members 7,480



Even if all 7,480 active members were buying one of every figure, that's still only a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers that Hasbro needs to sell in order to just keep the line afloat.

FDOIRex
09-04-2012, 05:38 AM
As of right now:

Overall numbers:

Even if all 7,480 active members were buying one of every figure, that's still only a drop in the bucket compared to the numbers that Hasbro needs to sell in order to just keep the line afloat.

Yep. I appreciate my random cantina patrons even more now.

bigbarada
09-04-2012, 05:54 AM
Yep. I appreciate my random cantina patrons even more now.

That's also the reason I'm totally blown away that we got 2 Skiff Guards in 2012 with one more on the way.

trandoshanhunter
09-04-2012, 04:55 PM
That's also the reason I'm totally blown away that we got 2 Skiff Guards in 2012 with one more on the way.
I'm also very sad we only got 3 cantina characters on vintage cards (4 if you count VSC Greedo). :\

Trooper31
09-05-2012, 03:55 AM
I think we do overestimate our numbers. I think we're kind of the squeaky wheel. There have been some figure choices made by Hasbro because the collector community was pretty loud. However, when it came to retail, that figure bombed because the loud voices only bought their fair shre and that wasn't enough.