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General => Report & Review => Topic started by: Janilew on November 23, 2019, 10:46:51

Title: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Janilew on November 23, 2019, 10:46:51
Greetings everyone. I was wondering if anyone else shared the same concerns as me about the continual downsizing of Playmobil. It seems like every year the sets are getting smaller and smaller. The princess castle is a good example of this. One of the "rooms" is just a tube. They keep recycling certain klickies (pirates is especially guilty of this), and, to me, the colors and prints look simple at times. A part of me keeps fearing that this is a sign of Playmobil losing financial stability as that's what usually accompanies choices like these. Of course, I understand the economy can fluctuate and that can affect production. That's why I hope they're just creatively bankrupt as that can easily be fixed with newer people with better ideas.

If anyone knows the financial situation, please feel free to post it for observation.

Thank you.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Oliver on November 24, 2019, 05:35:44
I think that sets have got smaller just because the price of toys, in general, has fallen in real terms. Large sets were £100 when I was a kid 30 years ago, so they were way more in real terms than they are now.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: leefert on November 24, 2019, 05:58:59
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the toys are meant for kids that are now an electronic generation.  But also like Oliver said, the smaller size sets are probably price based as well.  Kids nowadays lack the imagination that we had as kids. I would have killed for some of the sets we have now.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: playmofire on November 24, 2019, 09:09:48
Sets are smaller partly because smaller sets can be produced more cheaply and so can be priced to make a profit by selling to more people.  Also, a lower price make them more competitive with other toys.

Secondly, sets are smaller because home space is getting smaller.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Janilew on November 24, 2019, 13:45:53
Siiiiigh. I dunno if this is all good news or bad. I guess the golden age of big, cool toys has surpassed us. :( I was born too late and got serious even later! Nowadays, almost everything's drenched in gaudy color schemes and gimmicks. There's some decent stuff I see here and there, but most of it just doesn't seem appealing. Then again, I'm not a kid of this generation...

That's why it hurts my heart to see Playmobil go down this route. Oh, well. There's always DIYs and Steck sellers.

Thank you everyone for this epiphany.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Bolingbroke on November 27, 2019, 17:59:20
Isnít it just Playmobil though?

Lego - we always mention Lego because it is itís most obviously direct competitor - sets keep getting bigger and they still sell a ton heh heh.

It IS a question of creativity, but not just on a design level. Itís even more of a problem on a more managerial level.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: tahra on November 27, 2019, 19:55:45
Isnít it just Playmobil though?

Lego - we always mention Lego because it is itís most obviously direct competitor - sets keep getting bigger and they still sell a ton heh heh.

And aimed at collectors, not kids with lame parents.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Janilew on November 28, 2019, 19:26:39
And aimed at collectors, not kids with lame parents.

Which is where they make a huge mistake. Even Walt Disney knew animation shouldn't be "just for kids", which is why people still love his films to this day. Playmobil as a company is shooting themselves by ignoring the adult audience. After all, they're the ones with the MONEY. They still buy expensive, outdated sets to create elaborate dioramas which they make whole events around! I'm not sure how much of the blame goes to Playmobil themselves, Geobra or another entity entirely. Whoever it is needs to STOP and read the signs. >:(

Following gimmicks only works for a while until people find more substance elsewhere. Because if you're doing what everyone else is doing, I guarantee they'll find someone who does it cheaper, and maybe even better. How I wish they'd realize this and go back to their roots, when they stood out! Until then, all we have is specialty stores, eBay, and our imaginations...

 :cloud9: :cloud9: :cloud9:
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Oliver on November 30, 2019, 12:52:13
And aimed at collectors, not kids with lame parents.

I don't follow Lego closely, but I'd say that the sets that are directly aimed at collectors are the modular buildings, which they release about one a year.

The 'pop culture/licensed stuff' is probably largely aimed at adults, but Playmobil has started doing that now (the Ghostbusters and Back to the Future sets), but I class those slightly differently. I'd also say the museum figures, and stuff like that is aimed at adults, and I think that's a market that has potential (since a single klicky is cheap, and light and small).

I suspect that the production model of Lego makes sets for adults easier to make (I could be wrong, but I think the designers of early modular sets were only allowed to use parts and colours in production elsewhere).

We obviously don't know the figures, but even sets that were super rare/expensive on eBay end up being sold off at a reduced price via Direct Service, which would indicate that the adult market isn't huge.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Klickteryx on December 03, 2019, 07:32:29
Historic figures sell, if they did something like the super? specials where you had a klicky and some bulky accessory then they could do Gutenburg and some kind of printing machine, or Michelangelo and one of his inventions, or Einstein and a pull apart atom (or not), but lots of scope in the history of technology and discovery.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: playmofire on December 03, 2019, 09:38:10
I've noticed that increasingly Lego seem to mirror what Playmobil produce and in many ways this is easy for them to do as the basic unit in Lego is an easily reproducible brick.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Bolingbroke on December 05, 2019, 22:05:26
I don't follow Lego closely, but I'd say that the sets that are directly aimed at collectors are the modular buildings, which they release about one a year.

The 'pop culture/licensed stuff' is probably largely aimed at adults, but Playmobil has started doing that now (the Ghostbusters and Back to the Future sets), but I class those slightly differently. I'd also say the museum figures, and stuff like that is aimed at adults, and I think that's a market that has potential (since a single klicky is cheap, and light and small).

I suspect that the production model of Lego makes sets for adults easier to make (I could be wrong, but I think the designers of early modular sets were only allowed to use parts and colours in production elsewhere).

We obviously don't know the figures, but even sets that were super rare/expensive on eBay end up being sold off at a reduced price via Direct Service, which would indicate that the adult market isn't huge.

Modulars yes, but not only. A number of Lego Ideas (designed by Adult Fans of Lego, or AFOLs) have been produced featuring adult tv shows like Friends, Big Bang Theory and also recently Stranger Things. There are also some pretty complex Technic models of racing cars clearly aimed at older people, or at least inclusive of older people.

But it doesnít have to be necessarily licencing - who wouldnít buy (with the proper advertising and marketing, of course, somethin Lego does extremely well), a big box of old fashioned knights, with weapons, food, animals etc, and a lots of Steck, all in one box? Adults could easily pay 300 - 400 euro for a set like that if made well and marketed well, cause they are already paying that much, regularly, for adult-themed lego sets.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Oliver on December 07, 2019, 13:59:57
I suspect - well, actually, I know - that there are people who are buying 'Friends/Big Bang Theory/Simpsons' Lego sets and that will be the only Lego set they ever buy.

Lego are definitely better at pushing their demographic upwards - my 12 year old nephew still requests the architecture sets, for example and he doesn't play with Playmobil anymore. But I wonder if the 'puzzle' element of it comes into it.

I'd struggle more to think of who would drop 300-400 euros on a big Playmobil set. Even for the small number of collectors - why would you buy such a set? I have two Castles 3666. I paid £50 for one on ebay and £10 (!) for another one on Gumtree. For now, I think the second hand market kills off re-issues of the really big sets because they can't really compete.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Bolingbroke on December 11, 2019, 11:45:19
I suspect - well, actually, I know - that there are people who are buying 'Friends/Big Bang Theory/Simpsons' Lego sets and that will be the only Lego set they ever buy.

Lego are definitely better at pushing their demographic upwards - my 12 year old nephew still requests the architecture sets, for example and he doesn't play with Playmobil anymore. But I wonder if the 'puzzle' element of it comes into it.

I'd struggle more to think of who would drop 300-400 euros on a big Playmobil set. Even for the small number of collectors - why would you buy such a set? I have two Castles 3666. I paid £50 for one on ebay and £10 (!) for another one on Gumtree. For now, I think the second hand market kills off re-issues of the really big sets because they can't really compete.

Hah.

You wouldnít believe what people would buy if you make it shiny enough, attractive enough and Ďexclusiveí enough.

Many of us here have lots of Steck, weíve been collecting a long time, we know the market and know where to get what for cheap.

But new, potential adult collectors? If given the choice between trawling ebay for second hand stuff or being offered new, off the machines Steck easily online or in shops, albeit for a higher price?

I think most people underestimate the potential for growth in that area.

(I have lots of Steck and I would still buy more ... because.)

And even if, as you say happens with Lego, they were one-off purchases spurred by nostalgia, or by the nice adverstising, it would still be more sales than what they have now. It could also be in some cases, one hopes, the start of a collecting addiction that would lead to more purchases.

The adult toy collecting business is huge. People drop 800 euro on Lego Millenium Falcons. They drop 250 - 300 euro on 12 inch action figures. Why wouldnít they pay premium sums for Playmobil aimed specifically at them?
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: tahra on December 11, 2019, 19:08:29
(I have lots of Steck and I would still buy more ... because.)

... because... THERE IS NEVER ENOUGH STECK! :)


The adult toy collecting business is huge. People drop 800 euro on Lego Millenium Falcons. They drop 250 - 300 euro on 12 inch action figures. Why wouldnít they pay premium sums for Playmobil aimed specifically at them?

Are you nuts!? People giving them money?! And a bunch of foreign money too, surely. Not to be allowed.


I think even though what you said about buying steck second hand is true, I might be tempted for a shiny new set - though I guess not at such prices, unless it was something TRULY special (or the stupid balls cooperated)..
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Klickteryx on December 11, 2019, 19:26:38
I saw someone selling a tailor shop in original box recently. I wondered why the klickys weren't included until I noticed the bright colour of the green and the newer tabs - it was the recent direct service re-release in an old box. They dropped the price later but why try for such an obvious deception?
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: tahra on December 11, 2019, 20:34:11
I saw someone selling a tailor shop in original box recently. I wondered why the klickys weren't included until I noticed the bright colour of the green and the newer tabs - it was the recent direct service re-release in an old box. They dropped the price later but why try for such an obvious deception?

That is fraud, and the guy should be drawn and quartered, and fed to Xena's horse...
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: GrahamB on December 12, 2019, 10:37:58
It's not uncommon for sellers to offer DS re-released sets advertised under the set number of the original. So long as they make it clear what they are offering, it doesn't bother me. But there should be no deception involved, even if it us only PM fanatics who are likely to notice! I mean 'fanatic' as a compliment btw, Klickteryx!
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: tahra on December 12, 2019, 11:45:44
It's not uncommon for sellers to offer DS re-released sets advertised under the set number of the original. So long as they make it clear what they are offering, it doesn't bother me. But there should be no deception involved, even if it us only PM fanatics who are likely to notice! I mean 'fanatic' as a compliment btw, Klickteryx!

Agree. If BOTH set numbers are mentioned, all is well.  Unlike some people, I don't think sellers are our daddy, they are not responsible for buyers being ignorant and/or lazy... As long as it is clear the reference for sale is the ds one. The rest.. it is the buyer's problem to research.

If only the old one ref is mentioned... then I believe it is fraud.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: PlaymoGuardian on February 27, 2021, 12:07:43
Well, as far as comparing lego and playmobil...playmobil is still at least producing sets in themes that adult collectors would like to purchase. Personally, Iím not a fan of Novelmore. Since beginning the collection process again, finding parts (especially traditional steck) has been very difficult, but at least playmobil appears to consistently put castle lines in and out of production. The lego group has failed the AFOL community for 10+ years. Only this year has there been a resurgence in legitimate sets like the new blacksmith (yes, another blacksmith how creative). The entire lego world has been literally crying out for a castle line for the longest time and lego could honestly care less. For the time being, I would still be much more worried as a fan of lego than a fan of playmobil. When I realized I wanted to return to my childhood, the question in my mind was lego or playmobil? This choice was easy because of secondary markets and a way for me to rebuild the collection that was completely lost (though itís very difficult and expensive). There isnít much of a secondary market for lego. eBay doesnít exist for lego, rarely any old sets and when there are, they are way overpriced if complete at all. eBay is simply covered in lego knockoff brands which are truly poor quality most of the time. Brick link was once an option, but good luck piecing together a collection with the scant offerings of over priced vendors with limited stock these days. Playmobil is hit or miss on eBay, but you never know. The custom pieces work well and blend well with the playmobil world. Despite the flexiblility and seemingly endless creativity associated with lego, I figure, if I can get good enough learning to create art with playmobil (figures being less flexible, mobile<ó-irony?) then that was a goal I wanted to put into play. Iím excited to learn from the master creators on this site, and honestly Iím overjoyed that I decided to go the playmobil route instead of lego. I understand the fear of what we love dying out as a brand, but in my mind playmobil is winning this battle when it comes to accommodating the interests of its adult collectors... despite consistently asking me how old the child is for all of my purchases ; ) ....
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: GrahamB on February 27, 2021, 18:36:19
I'm glad you have come down on the side of Playmobil! There have been many discussions about the two toys on here over the years. Yours was a very interesting post from someone who clearly knows a fair bit about L*** (pretending Lego is a swearword is an old Playmofriends joke, but we can discuss Lego on this forum!). There is a lot to be learned from Lego, its marketing strategies (virtually every shop in the UK seems to sell Lego, but very few sell PM- even toy shops!), its enduring popularity, its huge adult fan base, etc. etc. As an occasional user of Bricklink, I am amazed at the degree of completeness of the Lego parts and sets database there and the sheer numbers of sellers linking their inventory to the site. Although its a lot of fun hunting for PM parts on eBay, its not cheap. Bricklink isn't cheap either, as you said, but completing a set (in my case it was 2 or 3 Harry Potter sets) on there was relatively quick, so I could get back to my Playmobil!
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: PlaymoGuardian on February 28, 2021, 00:08:09
     Iím glad you had good experiences on bricklink, Iíve had my share (long ago)- but Iíve also had issues and there isnít much to be done about that depending on the seller because the community isnít quite as legally lock solid as eBay ; ) ...completing sets through certain purchases on bricklink can definitely be accomplished, but if you wanted to advance yourself as a serious builder with ďacceptableĒ parts that will add to your art form when it come to building Lego Mocs, this can be a legitimate challenge. Also, if Iím being honest, I can very much appreciate the running joke about L*** being an inappropriate word. The AFOL community at its core can at times be a bit judgy and if not always that than certainly VERY clicky (pun intended, probably the best Iíve ever made). About ten years ago, the first time I flirted with the idea of returning to my childhood, I got somewhat close to their community before making any purchases (mind you, I had no idea this forum existed!!) I decided to stop any idea of buying lego because I knew my skills were inadequate and so much of what I knew about lego was more or less no longer acceptable by the community (certain pieces, building techniques, etc...). This community of playmofriends is just plain more welcoming, encouraging, and open to the concept of play being associated with playmobil as well as the toy being an expressive form of art. We all love steck, but no one will judge the incorporation of system-x.
     Iím immediately proud of this community and itís foundation in fun. As I mentioned in my last post, Iím excited at the proposition of learning from you and advancing my abilities. Plus, I think we have a more difficult challenge given the less flexible nature of playmobil figure alone, and that is exciting to me. The creations Iíve found on our website are simply magic. Cheers to the kind and inspirational playmobil folks : )
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: tahra on February 28, 2021, 07:45:57
I decided to stop any idea of buying lego because I knew my skills were inadequate and so much of what I knew about lego was more or less no longer acceptable by the community (certain pieces, building techniques, etc...).

Acceptable?! Really? Your lego, your play, your decision... You can see all sorts of "uncommon" techniques, things nobody thought of before (I guess)  within the playmocommunity.... and that is... amazing.

I had no idea the lego community would be so close minded. Especially considering those are building blocks...

Plus, I think we have a more difficult challenge given the less flexible nature of playmobil figure alone, and that is exciting to me.

Uhm... dunno about that. But I AM biased.  :P

Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: GrahamB on February 28, 2021, 10:07:29
I had to Google AFOL (Adult Fans of Lego). It's a shame when vociferous minorities dominate a group and lead others to feel like lesser mortals. I think Playmofriends is one of the friendlier forums. I hope you enjoy a long association, PlaymoGuardian, even if the availability of Steck parts, pine trees, etc. can be frustrating!
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: doug on February 28, 2021, 10:15:05
Brian,  I am rude too, I often avoid responding in the AAmeeting section of our forum. 

So: welcome.

Right now, "PLAYMOBIL 3006" will get you a few pine trees (plus animals).  Maybe for more than you want to pay...

I used "forest" for a search word.  "Landscape" works sometimes. 
Seems  like sometimes sellers are TRYING to get fewer hits...
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: PlaymoGuardian on February 28, 2021, 11:53:17
Hello to you too! And thank you for the search ideas, trying anything I can at this point.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Oliver on February 28, 2021, 14:35:43
eBay is simply covered in lego knockoff brands which are truly poor quality most of the time.

Maybe I shouldn't say this, but I'm currently in China and have bought a LOT of Lego knock off, and honestly in terms of quality I don't think I could distinguish a Lepin/Mould King/etc piece from a real Lego brick, but maybe I'm just not expert enough.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: PlaymoGuardian on February 28, 2021, 23:22:19
Perhaps youíve found a good vendor, or maybe theyíve changed their products to compete better with the abs plastic of lego, but that would seem like a bad guess on my part, because Iíd imagine thatís part of how they can afford to sell their items for such lower prices. I cannot really say for sure. A consistent enough feature for most Chinese or knock off figures is spongy legs that really have a lot of extra ďbounceĒ (no idea how to describe that better)...legs that donít fully connect to the waist of figure... hands that simply do not turn well... and the occasional crack here and there..if you havenít experienced any of those things then well, hats off to your buying experience my friend, Iím happy for you : )
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Oliver on March 01, 2021, 04:05:59
Perhaps youíve found a good vendor, or maybe theyíve changed their products to compete better with the abs plastic of lego, but that would seem like a bad guess on my part, because Iíd imagine thatís part of how they can afford to sell their items for such lower prices.

I don't think the material would be the deciding factor - I don't know anything about plastics, but Playmobil and Lego are presumably made of the same or very similar plastic, and Lego retails for way more than Playmobil, kilo for kilo.

Perhaps Lego are more successful at blocking the better quality imports from reaching the western markets, especially since the easiest money is in doing direct copies of real Lego sets (the actual bricks are out of copyright so they can't prevent copy-cat producers from making their own bricks).
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: PlaymoGuardian on March 01, 2021, 10:46:39
Just to be sure, I was referencing the knock off brand of lego being made with a cheaper plastic (unless that has been changed in recent years, I do not know)... Iím surprised lego hasnít put an embargo or copy right in place to effect anything related to its competitors. My uncle was once an executive for lego and I found a lot of interesting things lego has done to its competition. The one copy right i found particularly interesting was that, at least at one point in time or perhaps even still, they picked up a copy right making sure they were the only building toy that was allowed to number their plastic bags for the convenience of the steps to build their products. How is something like that even allowed?! If anyone finds out any dirt on playmobil, please make sure to tell me to put ear muffs to muffle my auditory senses, because I like thinking of playmobil as pure and good people out to inspire the world : ) ...and as always, hats off to the wonderful community here, so far Iíve found everyone to be truly phenomenal humans and an inspiring bunch...
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: tahra on March 01, 2021, 12:13:28
If anyone finds out any dirt on playmobil, please make sure to tell me to put ear muffs to muffle my auditory senses, because I like thinking of playmobil as pure and good people out to inspire the world : )

At least it's not just me. A misplaced desire and all, but.. I WISH.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: GrahamB on March 01, 2021, 16:08:14
How geobra treated collectors when they summarily ended the Playmobil Collectors Club. That led some of us to wonder how pure and good they are. Several collectors- and a few staff- worked very hard to set it up. We were never told the real reason why it was scrapped. Perhaps some members behaved badly? May their abs plastic go yellow prematurely and their stickers crumble and crack.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: tahra on March 01, 2021, 17:27:59
How geobra treated collectors when they summarily ended the Playmobil Collectors Club. That led some of us to wonder how pure and good they are. Several collectors- and a few staff- worked very hard to set it up. We were never told the real reason why it was scrapped. Perhaps some members behaved badly? May their abs plastic go yellow prematurely and their stickers crumble and crack.

I KNOW they don't give a darn about us, and avoid us like the plague. No idea why, but I believe THAT is why the PCC ended. It is about how much they value us. I thought that was loud and clear. The rest are excuses, and lame ones at that. I don't wonder. IMO.  :'(  >:(

That said, I would still WANT them to be above. Better than. Silly and corny, I am aware of that. I am stupid that way.

Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Macruran on March 02, 2021, 04:38:17
May their abs plastic go yellow prematurely and their stickers crumble and crack.

For me an even more frightening curse would be "may they apply their stickers misaligned and not notice till they are too stuck on to pull them off without tearing them, making it impossible to readjust them"  :skull:

As for their abs being plastic, I didn't know there was such surgery available  :o
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: GrahamB on March 02, 2021, 09:18:11
Budum tish! (Its a shame there is no smiley for a drum and cymbal flourish!)  :wave:
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Hadoque on March 02, 2021, 14:58:10
May their abs plastic go yellow

Or GREEN in some cases.  ;D
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: NICO on March 03, 2021, 09:04:22
For me an even more frightening curse would be "may they apply their stickers misaligned and not notice till they are too stuck on to pull them off without tearing them, making it impossible to readjust them"  :skull:

LOL!!! That's the fight I have with my children every time we open a package: "keep your hands off the stickers!!!!.
Title: Re: The Financial Situation of Playmobil
Post by: Oliver on March 03, 2021, 13:57:39
The only acceptable stickers are the ones with a little notch to allow perfect allignment.