Modern Japanese Pokemon Market Trend 2020 and beyond
The trend for Japanese Pokemon special sets / holiday sets for 2020 and onwards.
2018 Japanese Pokemon
This era was when Pokemon was super hot in Japan, due to a combination of factors coming together. Most importantly it was when Pokemon in Japan was being pushed hard, they did a number of things to increase the player base.
- Released cheap JPY 500 starter decks to get new and old players back into the scene
- Marketed heavily on social media and hired IG and youtube influencers to market their product
- Had multiple premium products released, with the inclusion of shining Pokemon (which had not had a reprint since the WOTC era, from the Neo sets)
In doing so, they generated hype and increased demand for both standard playable products, cards and made product aimed at collectors. This wide fishnet approach captured a large market both in Japan and abroad.
With this winning recipe, product demand largely outstripped supply and people were dying to get their hands on the cards. As Japanese Pokemon products are meant to be only sold in Japan (as printed on the products themselves), all the product sold abroad are excess supply that the local Japanese market cannot absorb. During this time period, many foreign large and small retailers had many of their orders reduced, some by 50%. Stores that ordered 1000 boxes might only end up with 500 boxes.
2019 & 2020 Japanese Pokemon
The demand and hype died off in 2019, as players left the scene for various reasons, and admittedly it is hard to top set releases with shining Pokemon. Now it appears The Pokemon Company in Japan is trying to use this winning recipe again!
Indications that they are doing it:
1. Release of the V Starter Deck at JPY 500 price point (released July 10th 2020)
2. Limited supply run with Legendary Heartbeat S3a.
3. Leonhart and UnlistedLeaf (youtube Pokemon influencers) marketing Legendary Heartbeat set -Unknown if this is affiliated with The Pokemon Company International or not.
Video: Legendary heartbeat Box opening with Leonhart
4. The 25th Pokemon anniversary is coming up, so expect big hype leading up to it.
My suppliers and I are not the only one that think this...
"ToineLay mentioned yesterday that the V Starter Decks have sold 500.000 copies in Japan in the first 10 days of it's release. Their marketing techniques seem to work, since it looks like they are really replicating the previous success with the GX Starter Decks from 2018. " - pokeguardian, 27 July 2020
Without influencers in foreign markets show casing and pushing these products, there would be limited demand outside of Japan except from the most devoted Japanese Pokemon Card fans. Indications that these marketing efforts are working is the fact that the booster box prices have soared to retailing around USD $80-100 a box on eBay (included COVID-19 era shipping costs, i.e Fedex/DHL shipping), when in Japan these retail for JPY 5000-5500 (approx USD $50-55). Not only that, supply is nearly gone and there is only really 1 major print run of this set, with a small re-print or re-supply coming at the end of August.
With Legendary Heartbeat (S3a) is the first Japanese special set, or holiday set of 2020. It seems to be a special product being used to prime and test the market's reaction for the major release of the Shiny Star V (S4a) later in the year. So far this testing has been a large success.
What does this all mean? TL;DR
The Pokemon Company is priming the market for the year to come in 2020 and early 2021. The trend will be lots of premium products, at premium prices being sold and supply will be fairly limited. This is great for the Pokemon collecting scene in general! However, those special products will no doubt be harder to get.
8 August 2020
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