The Collectibles Market

Physical collectibles are white hot.

After 30 years, the $10B physical sports and entertainment collectibles market is surging.

The boom is evenly distributed across the industry, generating all-time highs in revenue of newly-issued physical trading cards, in clearing prices for auctions of highly sought-after vintage “grails”, and in the usage of ancillary services, like authentication and grading.

Interestingly, the boom started ahead of Covid-19, suggesting that its underlying drivers are structural, and therefore unlikely to recede or reset in the near future. These include:

  • Nostalgia: with the pace of life accelerating and technology upending normal routines, fans are seeking comfort in activities that provide reminders of better days.

  • Rookie Athlete Speculation: in the sports trading card category, new rookie classes turn each season into an opportunity to speculate on which athlete will become the next legend. Exciting rookies mean more sales.

  • Perception as Alternative Asset Class: with auction prices surging on vintage items, trading cards are now viewed as alternative assets, as dependable and iron-clad in their ability to generate returns as securities, like stocks.

  • The Rise of the Trading Card Influencer: social media, like Twitter and YouTube, provide platforms for an emerging group of trading card influencers. These influencers entertain with “box breaks”, shape markets and pricing, and keep eager collecting enthusiasts engaged in the hobby 24/7.

As a result, the outlook is bright for physical collectibles. The market is large and growing, and shows no signs of slowing down or returning to previous levels.

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