Investors, collectors, sellers and anyone who plays the Pokémon Trading Card game will know that Pokémon Spring 2021 saw product shortages and price hikes. It was nearly impossible to find any sealed product as it was snapped up as soon as it hit the shelves. Demand was such that distributors were unable to fill supplier orders and had to allocate supply.
Pokémon Spring 2021 Prices
Because supply was unable to meet demand, prices climbed way above the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Often the only places where products could be found were on third party sites such as Amazon and Ebay.
In November 2020, a Darkness Ablaze booster box could be purchased for around £100, by February 2021, the cheapest available on Ebay was £195.
Although the prices of sealed products rose to record prices, the resale price for single cards did not rise to the same extent. In some cases card prices actually fell. In December 2020 A Charizard VMax 020/189 sold for around £110 yet by Spring 2021 the average price on Ebay was just £80.
Why was there a shortage?
There were a number of reasons for the shortage:
- The Covid 19 pandemic had seen people unable to work due to lockdowns. With more free time some people have decided that building a Pokémon collection was a good way to pass the time and hopefully build a complete collection that could be worth a lot of money.
- Interest rates were currently at an all-time low and there was very little return on savings. Investors saw Pokémon cards as a good investment opportunity and bought cards with the hopes of getting a good return on their investment.
- There was been a lot of media coverage about the vast sums of money that can be earned from just a single Pokémon card. In October 2020, Logan Paul attracted a lot of attention after he spent $200,000 on a first edition Booster Box which he opened on his YouTube channel and pulled a very rare card.
- 2021 marked the 25th anniversary of the Trading Card Game and Pokémon produced a number of special collectible products which should increase in value over time.
Why did this affected sealed product prices?
Due to the pandemic there were more people collecting Pokémon cards than usual which led to an increased demand for cards. At the same time, factory closures due to lockdowns meant the Pokémon Company could not meet demand. Where there is an increased demand the price will rise. Where there is a limited supply the price will rise further.
In the Autumn of 2020 there was a lot of media coverage regarding the vast sums of money that could be made from selling Pokémon cards. With booster boxes costing around £100 and a chance of pulling a rare card that would sell for £100, it seemed too good to be true.
By Christmas 2020 the number of people selling cards on Ebay had increased significantly and it was the demand of these smaller sellers and opportunists that led to product selling out before it reaches suppliers.
The term ‘Scalpers’ was given to those sellers who cleared the shelves of product to sell on third party selling sites.
How Much is Too Much?
There has to be a point where the price of a sealed product makes it impossible to make a profit selling single cards.
A sealed booster box holds 36 booster packs. Out of those 36 packs, a maximum of 15 will have either an art card or a holographic card. Of those, a maximum of 8 packs will have art cards and out of that 8, only 3 or 4 will be Full Art or Secret Rare cards. In the Darkness Ablaze expansion set there are a total of 13 full art cards, 7 Secret Rare Rainbow cards and 5 Gold Secret Rare Cards.
In Spring 2021 the Charizard VMax could be sold for £80, while the other full art cards ranged between £5 and £15. The Secret Rare Rainbow cards sold for between £12 and £30, and the Gold Secret Rare cards sold for between £10 and £40. Half art, rare and reverse holo cards fetched much lower prices – 60p – £4.
Looking at these Pokémon Spring 2021 selling prices it is clear to see that getting a return on a booster box costing £195 is virtually impossible yet the shortages continued.
A Return to Normal
In February 2021, Pokémon released a statement stating, rather vaguely, that more product would be produced. However, no dates or quantities were given. Shining Fates and the following set, Battle Styles, were heavily allocated and products released in waves which resulted in sets overlapping.
By Summer 2021, lockdowns were beginning to be lifted and people returned to work. Demand for Pokémon products began to fall as did prices. Local and online stores no longer had empty shelves and the price of a Booster Box returned to around the £100 mark.