Animation Collectible Cards trending on TikTok US, Top-tier Shop Earning Millions USD Monthly! How Does Designer Toy Culture Explore International Market Through TikTok? | EchoTik Trend Insights

    ·June 24, 2024
    ·7 min read

    TikTok Shop US e-commerce weekly (12/11–12/17):

    1) Total GMV in Last week is $71.7 million, down about 15.55% from the previous week, a normal fluctuation post-holiday; daily average sales were $10.2 million;

    2) The GMV Top 5 categories of the past week were: Beauty & Personal Care ($16.48M, 19.55%), Collectibles ($8.79M, 10.42%), Womenswear ($8.38M, 9.94%), Sports & Outdoors ($5.64M, 6.69%), Mobile & Electronics ($5.39M, 6.40%);

    3) Collectibles category saw the fastest growth in GMV and sales last week. Two shops made into the Top 10 GMV shops, namely: Calipokehouse (Top 4) and AllPokeTCG (Top 9), mainly selling Pokémon game collectible cards and related model toys.

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    Pokémon Collection Trending on TikTok US

    Recently, TikTok officially released the 2024 trend report 《What’s Next》, providing marketers with predictions about the constantly changing trends in the TikTok community. According to the report, a trend signal mentioned is “Curiosity Peaked”. Data shows that compared to known topics, TikTok users are 1.8 times more likely to accept new topics recommended by the platform.

    This result is highly related to TikTok’s young user base. According to the TikTok official U.S. market report 《TikTok US Bible 2023》, Millennials (born 1981–1995) and Generation Z (born 1996–2012) account for more than half of TikTok’s user base. They are more willing to accept new things compared to other groups. In terms of shopping preferences, their interests are more diversified, especially for Gen Z, who prefer finding their unique subcultures.

    Regarding Japanese games and anime, many Chinese fans are rather familiar. Since the last century, many Japanese comics have been popular worldwide, with Pokémon being one of the most globally influential Japanese game and anime works. Characters like Pikachu and Ash Ketchum are childhood memories for many born in the 1980s and 1990s. With its excellent storyline and artwork, as well as derivative creations around the game IP, Pokémon has remained popular for nearly 30 years since its inception.

    On TikTok, the popular hashtag #Pokemon has received over 710 million exposures. Fans from all over the world share their collections and related ‘memes’ in the community.

    EchoTik data found: Recently, ‘ACG’ (anime and games) subculture collectible goods have been trending on TikTok, mainly including 3D printed models, collectible cards, and figurines. Especially, Pokémon collectible cards and figure toys have been in the Top 10 GMV for several weeks.

    Last week, two collectible shops made it to the Top 10 GMV with Pokémon-themed hit products: Calipokehouse (Top 4) and AllPokeTCG (Top 9), both US-based shops targeting precise demographics, operate solely through shop videos, live stream selling, and organic search without influencer marketing, demonstrating the strong purchasing power of TikTok’s subculture audience!

    AllPokeTCG has reached close to 100,000 total sales since launching TikTok Shop, an estimated GMV exceeding $4.85 million, averaging over 1 million dollars in revenue per month.

    Even more astonishing is the growth of Calipokehouse. The shop operated for less than a month with just 13 short videos and 2 live streams is over 30,000 total sales, an estimated GMV of $2.78 million.

    The video making techniques are rather simple, primarily first-person unboxing and card display, with video lengths around 30 seconds to a minute. Combined with the Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, a 29-second video from @Calipokehouse became the store’s hottest promotional video.

    Thanks to Pokémon’s high international reputation and consumers’ ample knowledge of the product, the shop owners do not need to over-explain the products. They just need to ensure authenticity and offer better prices than other platforms to easily make a profit.

    These niche consumers are not only willing to spend money on entertainment but also value the collectible worth of the cards. Rare cards are not just entertainment products but even niche investment commodities. On collectible card trading platforms, some out-of-print anime or sports cards can fetch astronomical prices.

    According to Yahoo, the sports card with the highest transaction record in the world is Mickey Mantle’s 1952 card. On August 28, 2022, it sold for $12.6 million.

    How Could TikTok Help Chinese Cultural Industries Go Global?

    International expansion for cultural industries has always been a challenging but sensible path. However, in recent years, the success of leading designer toy IP Pop Mart going global and the internationally popularity of short series have displayed that this difficult path is gradually becoming ‘feasible’.

    Take China’s leading IP Pop Mart as an example. At the semi-annual report briefing, Pop Mart’s founder and CEO Wang Ning set the goal of exceeding 2019’s international business revenue (1.8 billion yuan) next year and “recreating” the business outcome of Pop Mart. In the first half of 2023, Pop Mart opened 12 new offline stores in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and other countries, 55 stores in total, with 143 robot shops (including joint ventures) and 28 cross-border e-commerce platform sites. The Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and international markets contributed a total revenue of 376 million yuan, a 139.8% increase year-over-year, contributing 78.89 million yuan in operating profit.

    Pop Mart’s global expansion is not just about selling toys international but also a test of cultural and IP globalization, requiring the brand to adapt to international markets and local operations. For different countries and regions, Pop Mart’s product selection and IP operation strategies are also adjusted accordingly.

    For instance, through practice and research, the team found that European and American users do not like overly anthropomorphic dolls but prefer figurines depicting career paths. Initially, MOLLY, which sold best domestically, was not popular in North America, but the astronaut version of MOLLY was well-received later. The Tycoco series with skull elements is considered scary or unlucky in some countries and regions, but it is popular in Mexico due to the country’s centuries-old Day of the Dead culture, which has a fondness for skulls.

    In addition to establishing its own IP influence, Pop Mart also actively collaborates with internationally renowned IPs to enhance global influence and recognition. For example, joint blind boxes with Harry Potter, Disney, Sanrio, and other famous IPs are popular worldwide. On TikTok, many international influencers share their Pop Mart blind box experiences, with the brand tag #popmart receiving over ten million exposures.

    To closely connect with fans worldwide, Pop Mart has set up a global account and multiple country and region-specific batch accounts. According to TikTok follower numbers, Southeast Asia, led by Thailand, and the United States are the largest international fan bases.

    In the renewal and revitalization of cultural IPs, social media platforms like TikTok also play an indispensable role. For example, during the release of the film “Barbie” this year, a “Barbiecore” trend emerged on TikTok. Elements and signature colors related to Barbie, particularly “Barbie pink,” led to a surge in popularity. Pink-related products, especially cosmetics, dresses, and jewelry, sold out on multiple platforms.

    In the past, due to the progress of the times and changes in thinking, many girls believed that overly perfect Barbie dolls were demeaning and objectifying to women, and pink was considered a ‘vulgar’ color and rejected by women. However, the movie reinterpreted Barbie and its representative color, adding a symbol of ‘female power’ to Barbie pink.

    The film’s distributors also excelled in TikTok marketing. During the movie’s release, they organized multiple KOLs to initiate a “Pink Outfit Movie-Watching Challenge”. Viewers dressed in pink to watch “Barbie” together, becoming a global trend and indirectly boosting Barbie doll sales in the market.

    Despite still facing competition pressure from well-known international companies, exploring global market has become a major trend. The designer toy and cultural industries can well demonstrate the IP’s brand story on digital media platforms, convincing consumers with content and embracing new opportunities and challenges.

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