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Thread: Supply, Demand, and estimated projections for 2013

  1. #1
    Evil Warrior jibernish's Avatar
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    Supply, Demand, and estimated projections for 2013

    This post will be a little verbose and math heavy. I apologize in advance

    After reading Toy Guru's statements about how there will be fewer figures to buy day of, how there will be no more reissues, and after listening to Roast Gooble #77's talk of subscription woes, I decided to try and quantify the uneasy feeling I have about 2013. I'm not worried the line will die, but I am worried that figures will start selling out in 2 minutes again in 2013. And with no reissues being made, I have to decide whether I cave in and buy a sub, fight for day of sales next year, or give up the line.

    I thought this spreadsheet would be fun to build. I thought it would help me see the big picture and how decisions (both Mattel's and ours) affects the availability of figures, which helps determine the health of the line.

    Here is the data I came up with (I will explain the assumptions I made below, and what evidence I used to make them):

    Year Total Supply Over Supply, Day Total Demand, Demand, Day Surplus Day of Buyers, Sell-Out
    Supply Subs, % of Sales Demand Subscribers of Sales (Shortage) No Figure, % Time
    2010 97.5 30 22.5 100 75 25 (2.5) 10 3.4 hours
    2011 105 40 30 100 75 25 5 0 2.9 days
    2012 94.5 35 25 100 70 30 (5.5) 18 32 Minutes
    2013 84.5 30 19.5 100 65 35 (15.5) 44 ???

    Warning: Nerdy, technical stuff below. Skip to conclusion if you want to read what this data suggests.

    Assumptions/Notes:
    I am only working with monthly sub figures here. No variants, beasts, etc.
    Total supply = Supply of figures Over Subs % x Demand Subscribers
    Supply Over Subs, % is an estimated guess. It is how many extra figures Mattel produces to sell on the 15th of each month.
    Supply, Day of sales = Total supply - Demand Subscribers. This is how many figures are available for sale on the 15th.
    Total Demand is based on 100, so we can view all the numbers as percents and probabilities, since we can't know the total demand right now.
    Demand, Subscribers is an estimated guess. It is how many subscriptions Mattel sold.
    Demand, Day of Sales = Total Demand - Demand Subscribers. This is how many figures we WANT to buy, not including subs.
    Surplus (Shortage) = Total Supply - Total Demand. Surplus is how many extra figures go unsold. Shortage is how many figures we want to buy that were not produced.
    Day of Buyers No Figure is the percentage of people who want to buy a figure day of who will not get the figure.
    Sell-Out Time is taken from www.motuclassics.com. It isn't truly a sell-out time in all cases, but rather how long it took Mattel to take the figure off of its site.

    The only actual numbers we have are the sell-out times I gathered from www.motuclassics.com, but we can still build a logical framework that will help us get an idea of what is going on with the line. It can show us how hard (or easy) it will be to buy figures day of. We can do this by working in percentages, noting whether Mattel is increasing or decreasing production, and noting whether subscription numbers are likely to increase or decrease from year to year.

    There are 3 independent variables in the equations: Supply Over Subs, %, Total Demand, and Demand, Subscribers. We don't know these figures, but we can estimate how these amounts will change based on things Toy Guru has said and the consensus of He-man.org's forum members. And by basing the whole data set on an initial total demand of 100 figures, we don't need to know the real numbers of figures sold. We can look at everything by percentages, which will tell us the probability that we will miss out on a figure if production goes too low.

    But this does require reasonable estimations, and I would like the help of this very expert, very attentative, very passionate fan base to make sure the estimations I made are as reasonable as possible (if anyone is still reading ). I would like any input members have as to the reasonableness of the assumptions I made. The assumptions fall in 3 categories:

    1. Supply over subs - I used 30% in 2010 because when put into the formulas, it produced a result of 10% of people wanting figures day of who didn't get them. That seemed reasonable to me considering the average sell-out time was 3.4 hours. I increased it to 40% in 2011 because Mattel increased production to meet demand, and because figures took on average 2.9 days to sell out. I decreased it to 35%, then 30% because Toy Guru announced that this amount would decrease, and that the line would produce fewer figures for day of sales. I suspect they may have decreased it further.

    2. Total Demand - Again, we don't need to know the exact number if we set it to 100 (if the purpose is to see what the likelihood of having fast sell-outs is). I didn't increase or decrease total demand because I didn't have enough evidence to say for sure. I'd like your opinions, and any factual evidence TG may have said. I suspect it went up after 2010 and might go down in 2013, but it's hard to say.

    3. Demand, Subscribers - This was a guess, but in the end, produced a figure showing that 10% of day of purchasers missed out in 2010, which seemed reasonable. I left subscribers as 75% of total demand (meaning that of every 100 figures sold, 75 are sold through subs) in 2011, but decreased it in 2012 because TG said it was the lowest sub to date. I suspect it may have decreased further, but used a conservative estimate. I decreased the number further in 2013 due to the troubles with the subscription and quality control over the last 6 months.

    Conclusions:
    If Mattel sticks to its guns and produces figures based on subs with little regard to what day of purchasers want, and the same number of people who drop the sub still cherry pick, it will likely be twice as hard to get popular figures next year as it was in February. They will sell out faster and twice as many people will miss out. This model is an estimated a projection, not a solid prediction. The benefitin this type of model is that we can find out HOW MUCH harder it could be to get figures, and HOW MUCH the sub numbers can fall before large numbers of fans miss out on figures. We could get even better figures through a He-man.org poll, if enough fans were interested. I would love to have solid, statistically valid numbers here. I think we've all wondered how many of buy subs versus cherry pick etc.

    If anyone is interested in playing around with different scenarios, send me your email address and I can forward you the excel spreadsheet I used. It's kinda fun.

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior
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    Wow! Reading this was almost as fun as playing with my figures.

    Nah, but really... I'm too stupid to understand what you said. I can tell you that day of sales will be short, buying the sub is a serious gamble in terms of dealig with DR's stupidity. Best bet is to buy from secondary market.

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    Evil Warrior jibernish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mekaneckpain View Post
    Wow! Reading this was almost as fun as playing with my figures.

    Nah, but really... I'm too stupid to understand what you said. I can tell you that day of sales will be short, buying the sub is a serious gamble in terms of dealig with DR's stupidity. Best bet is to buy from secondary market.
    I know, it was tough to read through, but you can't put up numbers without backing it up to some degree...... I actually had fun putting the spreadsheet together. The most important thing is that 44% figure - the rest is really just info to back that number up. I hope that it isn't that bad, that most of us can get the figures we want.

    It's a gamble - I am hopeful (call me stupid if you want ) that things with DR will improve. But if demand goes up and supply goes down, the prices in the secondary market will go back up. It'll be like it was in 2010 when new figures were going for crazy amounts on the secondary market. I won't pay much more than $35 a figure with shipping, and that's about where we are now.

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    Hover Robots in MOTUC! RockinHard's Avatar
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    My seller/trader/buyer feedback:
    http://he-man.org/forums/boards/showthread.php?t=195461

    MOTUC Most Wanted: 1) Skeletor's Hover Robots 2) Sssqueeze 3) Tung Lashor 4) Stridor 5) Night Stalker 6) Lizard Man 7) Battle Ram (back half) 8) Roton 9) Multi-Bot 10) Ninjor 11) Dragstor 13) Blast-Attak 14) Saurod 15) Gwildor 16) Snake Mountain 17) TC Skeletor 18) FF He-Man 19) Karg

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    SUBSCRIBE OR DIE!!! mick4metal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockinHard View Post
    Damn, that is one ugly dude!
    SUBSCRIBE OR DIE!!!: The death of a cherry picker. The continuing saga from the makers of MOTUC. The adventure begins in 2012.

    UPDATE: THE CUTTING BLOCK!!!: The cherry pickers are now dead. These changes brought to you from the makers of MOTUC. The adventure begins in 2013.

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    Heroic Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockinHard View Post
    And the next all new character for MOTUC....... She-Man!!!! Just scary big

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    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    The exact numbers may be hard to justify on some counts without a solid sampling to base them on, but the conclusions are basically inescapable given what we know. The line is going to be based ever more on the sub sales, a fact we've been told. I honestly can't see ANY way, with the debacles the subs have run into and the way Matty changed the rules on folks concerning the subs shipping together the first month, that the sub numbers will not fall again this year, possibly even worse than last year. I think we can also assume that, given the intransigence we've seen thus far, that TG and DR will react to the shrinking subs with the usual heavy handed tactics we've come to know, namely making it even harder to get the figures on sales day to once again muscle people into the subs, creating a nice downward spiral for the line.

    You really don't need to have precise numbers to see where we are headed. The only variable that could change the equation significantly is a major change in the way DR runs the site, with noticeable improvements in managing the subs and especially customer service. Sadly, for anyone who truly believes that will happen after three years of increasing ineptitude, I have this great bridge in Brooklyn for sale I think you would love...
    "I will use this power for all the good that can be done, to work for peace, to encourage virtue, and above all, to preserve life in all its forms..." Superman

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    HD figures on youtube
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    Me feel tupid.

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    Evil & armed for combat TJRules's Avatar
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    Good information in your original post. I applaud your logic and stats. In all, it will get harder and harder to buy MOTUC in the future for sure. Subscribe or die.



    Quote Originally Posted by RockinHard View Post
    Dude, that's messed UP.
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    Evil Warrior jibernish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    The exact numbers may be hard to justify on some counts without a solid sampling to base them on, but the conclusions are basically inescapable given what we know. The line is going to be based ever more on the sub sales, a fact we've been told. I honestly can't see ANY way, with the debacles the subs have run into and the way Matty changed the rules on folks concerning the subs shipping together the first month, that the sub numbers will not fall again this year, possibly even worse than last year. I think we can also assume that, given the intransigence we've seen thus far, that TG and DR will react to the shrinking subs with the usual heavy handed tactics we've come to know, namely making it even harder to get the figures on sales day to once again muscle people into the subs, creating a nice downward spiral for the line.

    You really don't need to have precise numbers to see where we are headed. The only variable that could change the equation significantly is a major change in the way DR runs the site, with noticeable improvements in managing the subs and especially customer service. Sadly, for anyone who truly believes that will happen after three years of increasing ineptitude, I have this great bridge in Brooklyn for sale I think you would love...
    You're right, this wasn't about exact numbers, but to get an idea of "if Mattel drops production by x%, and subs go down y%, then this many fans could miss out on the figures. I don't want to get too nerdy again, but Mattel is using a mathematical formula to determine how many figures to produce (figures made = subscription sold plus a percentage). By using that equation, we can estimate what happens when you change the variables. There are relationships between the variables that holds no matter what the actual numbers are.

    I wonder if the 'scare tactics' will work, and people will sub-up again. I also wonder if sub sales fall more than I estimated, and half of day of purchasers can't get the figures, will Mattel stick to their guns, or will they increase production? Will they let the line die, because if it does, it will be their decision ( I almost said fault, but really, fault implies accident while Mattel is chosing to do this). They are choosing to go towards a sub-only line when a significant portion of their customers don't want that. They refuse to go with a pre-order system, and for some reason, day of money is less valuable to them than sub money. I know the day of money is less risky, but everything they've made has technically 'sold out.' And the items that they pulled from the site, why did they have to pull them? If Mattel left them on the site, they would have eventually sold out. People would have picked them up, especially to combine on shipping. Mattel is acting just like Wal-mart and Target does with their limited shelf-space. Only this is Mattel's shelf, and it doesn't cost them any more money to just leave the product on the website. It makes no sense, unless they have contracted with DR to sell items only 7 days out of the month, and that is why they pull the items.

    At the end of the day, a business selling 'luxury' items can only force product on their customers for so long. Eventually you have to give the customers what they want because these products are not necessities, although we often act like they are.

  11. #11
    grumpy old dragon scott metzger's Avatar
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    I see your point, that the general results are going to be proportional, no matter where the original numbers started.

    But there is apparently a problem with leaving items up on the site, even though that was the original plan (items would stay up 3-4 weeks selling before the next item came in). But then we started to see things pulled as the 5 minute sale became the norm. But now we have certain items like He-Man and Skeletor up all the time (as they should have been from day one). But Hurricane Hordikins got pulled when he didn't sell through in about 2 weeks, so there is something really weird about the way Matty is set up. There seems no logic to it; I know there have been allusions to Mattel having to pay DR more if they keep the figures up longer, but storage isn't a logical reason, as the figures don't disappear into a black hole and then suddenly come back for clearance/re-releases). It's really hard to fathom the reasoning, where the Wind Raider sells through in three days and only did "okay." Is there some formula Mattel is using here, or is it really just the random madness it seems to be?
    "I will use this power for all the good that can be done, to work for peace, to encourage virtue, and above all, to preserve life in all its forms..." Superman

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    Evil Warrior jibernish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott metzger View Post
    But there is apparently a problem with leaving items up on the site, even though that was the original plan (items would stay up 3-4 weeks selling before the next item came in). But then we started to see things pulled as the 5 minute sale became the norm. But now we have certain items like He-Man and Skeletor up all the time (as they should have been from day one). But Hurricane Hordikins got pulled when he didn't sell through in about 2 weeks, so there is something really weird about the way Matty is set up. There seems no logic to it; I know there have been allusions to Mattel having to pay DR more if they keep the figures up longer, but storage isn't a logical reason, as the figures don't disappear into a black hole and then suddenly come back for clearance/re-releases). It's really hard to fathom the reasoning, where the Wind Raider sells through in three days and only did "okay." Is there some formula Mattel is using here, or is it really just the random madness it seems to be?
    I hadn't really thought about until I was typing my last reply, but I can think of 2 reasons off the top of my head. I have no idea if this is the reason.

    #1 - They might be paying DR an amount for each day they have items for sale. So they are paying DR for each day DR's staff has to man the phones and ship products. It's possible that they have a set amount of sale days, and anything over that results in an overage charge of sorts. But now that figures are for sale all year long, I'm not so sure.

    #2 - Mattel is whack and they don't know what they are doing. They make decisions based on however they feel when they wake up in the morning, or based off their Windows 95 DOS production management software. I would guess this is the reason - that they don't know what they are doing. In my opinion, they have severely mismanaged this property since the original line ended. I think they know that they are inept, so they make decisions based on the belief that they are going to screw everything up.

    Seriously though, their actions don't make sense. It doesn't help that they lie to us about their reasons for doing things.

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    Evil & armed for combat TJRules's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jibernish View Post
    #2 - Mattel is whack and they don't know what they are doing. They make decisions based on however they feel when they wake up in the morning, or based off their Windows 95 DOS production management software. I would guess this is the reason - that they don't know what they are doing. In my opinion, they have severely mismanaged this property since the original line ended. I think they know that they are inept, so they make decisions based on the belief that they are going to screw everything up.

    Seriously though, their actions don't make sense. It doesn't help that they lie to us about their reasons for doing things.
    I agree with every word here. Totally. I wanted to add that Mattel has mismanaged this property ever since about 1984-5, imo after the sales really started taking off. Making billions of dollars on this franchise and not making the line better (more articulation, better paint apps, ie) and the use of shared parts all the time is tired and old. Mattel is inept; they're ran by a bunch of children. Hell, Emiliano (the biggest MOTU fan of ALL) doesn't (and won't) work for them. That should tell you something right there.

    Good info, and great discussion guys!
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    SUBSCRIBE OR DIE!!! mick4metal's Avatar
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    Mattel is not run by children they just work for them. The truth is Mattel is a seriously greedy corporation run by a bunch seniors that have stayed well past their time. They are a company that is known to break laws and exploit labor to maximize profits. There are many other shady companies such as (Wal-mart, Mcdonalds, General Electric to name a few) but Mattel is near the top of the list in corporate corruption. Do some research and you will see it is true fact.
    SUBSCRIBE OR DIE!!!: The death of a cherry picker. The continuing saga from the makers of MOTUC. The adventure begins in 2012.

    UPDATE: THE CUTTING BLOCK!!!: The cherry pickers are now dead. These changes brought to you from the makers of MOTUC. The adventure begins in 2013.

  15. #15
    Evil Warrior jibernish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mick4metal View Post
    Mattel is not run by children they just work for them. The truth is Mattel is a seriously greedy corporation run by a bunch seniors that have stayed well past their time. They are a company that is known to break laws and exploit labor to maximize profits. There are many other shady companies such as (Wal-mart, Mcdonalds, General Electric to name a few) but Mattel is near the top of the list in corporate corruption. Do some research and you will see it is true fact.
    I wasn't aware that Mattel involved in a lot of scandals, but I will take a look into that myself. I know their better business bureau rating is a lovely F.

    Mattel is a greedy corporation and that is what baffles me the most AND is evidence that they are inept. We have a significant amount of money in our pockets that we would be gladly willing to give to them in return for MOTU product. We don't even have to talk about risking capital on creating new products - just keep existing stock on Mattycollector for more than a week and Mattel would make more money.

    This property has potential - it has hung around for 30 years with very little support from Mattel or an entertainment vehicle. If they knew what they were doing, they could have grown the brand over the last 3 decades likes Hasbro has done with GI Joe and Transformers, and like Lucas has done with Star Wars. Mattel botched 2 attempts to relaunch the brand, and is now afraid to take another risk. Why are they afraid to take a risk? Not enough profit. Why isn't there enough profit potential? One of 2 reasons:

    1. they think we won't support the line. (They fail to realize that we will support something quality, that the New Adventures failure wasn't our fault, that 200x being cancelled was due to poor case pack-outs of figures and the fact that the show never stayed in one time slot, and that they had let the brand awareness lie unused for too long) or

    2. they know it's their fault and that they are inept.

    Bottom line: If a corporation exists to make money, and there is money people want to give to them but they can't take it, then they are inept.

    I would almost argue that the real success of the brand was more to do with Lou Scheimer than anything Mattel did. I know the toy line came first, and was successful enough to spawn a cartoon, but the line really took off after the cartoon started airing.

    Quote Originally Posted by TJRules View Post
    I agree with every word here. Totally. I wanted to add that Mattel has mismanaged this property ever since about 1984-5, imo after the sales really started taking off. Making billions of dollars on this franchise and not making the line better (more articulation, better paint apps, ie) and the use of shared parts all the time is tired and old. Mattel is inept; they're ran by a bunch of children.
    Maybe the only good decisions Mattel made with this brand was hiring the talented people who created it and then turning it over to Filmation. If there had never been a cartoon, would the brand have survived these 30 years? I think Mattel lucked into the success this brand has had.
    Last edited by jibernish; March 1, 2012 at 12:58pm. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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