Let’s Talk About Figure Pricing

Hello, Plastikitties! Today I’d like to have a little chat with you about a topic that has been on my mind a lot recently: figure pricing. I’m sure for the majority of us, this is the deciding factor in what figures we order and how many we order. Yes, even more so than characters, style, and how good a figure looks. I mean, it doesn’t matter how lovely a figure is if you can’t afford it, right? But recently figure prices have been on the rise, so hit the jump and let’s get this convo started!

Anyone who has been collecting figures for a few years has noticed the steep pricing hikes that seem to happen pretty much constantly. Of course inflation is a thing, but that does not seem to be all of it. I am involved in a lot of other hobbies, and not a single one has consistent pricing increases the way figure collecting does. You expect a small pricing increase from year to year, but when I go back and look at old figure pricing the results are shocking.

Let’s take these figures for example. It’s a good comparison, because both Gwendolyns are made by the same company: Alter. The one on the left was released in 2008 and had a pricetag of ¥7,800. The one on the right is coming out next year and has a pricetag of ¥16,800. That is over double the cost in a mere 10 years.  And the first one is almost four inches taller, so you can’t chalk it up to a size difference. And yes, the sculpting details are better in the 2018 version, but that is to be expected in the industry. It doesn’t warrant jacking up the pricing that much.

However, not every company is raising their pricing so steadily and drastically (though they are, across the board, increasing at least a bit). Not a single manufacturer has gone untouched by the pricing increases, but some seem to be reigning it in a bit. Consider GSC’s Racing Miku: the first release in 2009 was ¥7,800, just like Gwendolyn. The 2017 edition is ¥12,800. A 5k increase in cost is nothing to scoff at, but consider how simple Racing Miku was at her release: WAY less detailed than Alter’s original Gwendolyn. GSC used to be one of the most expensive companies, but they have toned it way down recently so that a 12k pricetag on Tony Taka Racing Miku seems like a blessing.

There are other companies who stick with comparatively lower prices: Kotobukiya, Megahouse, etc. But lots of them seem to be increasing at a rate that far outpaces inflation. Flare, FREEing, Griffon, and many more have moved onto my “only order if it’s a figure you absolutely can’t live without” list. And even then, I skip many things I want: Alter’s new Ranko is literally my dream figure but I can’t stomach the idea of $200 for a piece of plastic that should be $120 max so she and I will never be together. And if it seems like I am focusing on Alter a lot, it’s because they are the one that hurts the most: they used to be my favorite manufacturer, and at the moment I have a whopping 1 figure on order for them in the next 9 month period.

I have cut back on figure ordering a lot in general, and while there are other issues at hand (I am far more picky, space constraints are a serious problem, etc) money is the main one. One large figure is now the price of two from only a few years ago, and ordering anything over 12k is a sting I don’t want to get used to.

So how about you, Plastikitties? Have your ordering habits changed in the past few years? How do you feel about the drastic price increases that have happened recently? Let us know in the comments! This is a discussion post after all, so we want to hear from you~

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About Leah Bayer