The designer toy craze in China: how long will it last?


Bearbrick has become more accessible. In the past, limited editions and special models were only accessible to a few, especially because of their high prices, usually over $ 1,000. Now the Bearbrick series has shifted to focus on more affordable products, with some around a hundred dollars or less. Meanwhile, Pop Mart has built on its success with blind boxes to become the main national player in the designer toy phenomenon in China.

There have been many limited edition Bearbricks, in collaboration with visual artists, cultural institutions and fashion brands such as Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Ivana Helsinki, Nike, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Maison Margiela and Bape, among others. The Bearbricks also began to appear on special edition clothing; Japanese artist Haroshi (who designed a Bearbrick) partnered with sustainable lifestyle brand Pangaia on a Bearbrick capsule collection earlier this year.

Secondary market concerns

Designer toys now face challenges similar to those of luxury fashion brands that are gaining popularity in China – and a secondary market has quickly emerged.

In September, Chinese Customs in Jiangmen seized a batch of Bearbrick products that were allegedly illegally imported. Secondary market price manipulation has also been suspected, with the price of Bearbrick toys fluctuating sharply on trading platforms such as Xianyu and Dewu. Within a week, the average transaction price rose about 40 percent and then fell back at the same rate. A proliferation of counterfeit products is also widely seen in China.

Experts question the longevity of the Chinese designer toy market.


The fundamental question is how long the market for designer toys will remain buoyant. Analysts and investors have expressed concern about the risks associated with the designer toys market, as they see the interests of young Chinese customers as changing rapidly.

In an interview with Chinese media outlet Huxiu, 52Toys founder Chen Wei expressed concerns about the younger generation’s short attention span when it comes to trends and fashions. “The generation after the 1980s will give a new art toy one minute, but the generation after the 2000s will only give it 30 seconds, and the generation after the 2010s maybe looking at it. for a second, “he said. “This reality is pushing art toy companies to once again focus on products and innovation.”

As in the broader fashion market in China, relentless novelty is a top priority for designer toys – and not all success is guaranteed to last long.

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