So far this year (July 2021) there has been one special and two main expansion sets released. There were major supply problems with the first two sets with Pokémon heavily allocating stock to distributors and then releasing second and third waves to make up the shortfall. Many people believe that the decrease in prices, particularly those of Shining Fates and Battle Styles is an indication that the Pokémon market is about to crash. But is this really the case or is it a matter of economics with supply and demand dictating price?
Are Pokémon Prices Falling?
Shining Fates was the first to be released on 19th February 2021. Booster packs and booster boxes were not available for this set, rather, they could be found in Elite Trainer Boxes, collection boxes and tins.
Many stockists had put this set on presale in December 2020. Average prices for the two most popular products at presale and launch were:
Elite Trainer Boxes – £52.50 ($72)
Pikachu V Collection Box – £27 ($37)
Prices for these two products 3rd July 2021:
Elite Trainer Boxes – £36.95 ($51)
Pikachu V Collection Box – £17.95 ($25)
Looking at these figures it is clear to see that prices for the two most popular sealed Shining Fates Products have fallen by around 30%. Other products have seen similar reductions in price.
Charizard VMAX SV107/SV122 is the main chase card for this set. At launch it was selling for around £300 ($415), this fell to around £250 ($345) by March 2021 and can now be purchased on Ebay for £150 ($207). A price reduction of 50%.
Skyla Ultra Rare 072/072 is another much sought after card in this set. At launch it could fetch around £40 ($55), the price had fallen to £30 ($42) by April and is now selling for around £20 ($28). A drop of 50% from launch.
Battle Styles was released on 19th March 2021. This was a regular expansion set with cards available in Booster packs and boxes as well as special collection sets and tins.
Many stockists had put products on presale in January 2021. Average prices for the most popular products were:
Booster Boxes – £100 ($138)
Elite Trainer Boxes – £42 ($58)
Urshifu V Collection Box – £22 ($30)
Prices for these products 3rd July 2021:
Booster Boxes – £89 ($123)
Elite Trainer Boxes – £39.95 ($55)
Urshifu V Collection Box – £18.95 ($26)
Battle Styles prices have clearly seen a drop in price, but not as dramatic as those of Shining Fates. The Collection boxes have seen a fall of 13%, booster boxes 11% and Elite Trainer Boxes 4%.
Rapid Strike Urshifu VMAX 170/163 is one of the main chase cards for this set. At launch it was selling for around £150 ($207). This fell to around £100 ($138) by April 2021 and can now be purchased on Ebay for around £85 ($117). A price reduction of 43%.
Tyranitar V 155/163 is another chase card for Battle Styles. At launch it was selling for around £100 ($138), it fell to £80 ($110) by April 2021 and is now available for around £60 ($83). A price reduction of 40%.
Chilling Reign was released on 18th June 2021. This was also a regular expansion set with cards available in Booster packs and boxes as well as special collection sets and tins.
The majority of stockists were cautious about presales and put limits on numbers customers could buy or waited until allocations were announced before selling. At launch the average prices were:
Booster Boxes – £105 ($134)
Elite Trainer Boxes – £39.95 ($55)
As of 3rd July, two weeks after launch, prices for these two products remain the same.
Blaziken VMAX 201/198 is one of the main chase cards for this set. At launch it was selling for around £120 ($165), two weeks later it is selling for around £90 ($124). A price reduction of 25%.
Shadow Rider Calyrex VMAX 205/198 is another chase card for Chilling Reign. At launch it was selling for around £120 ($165), it is now available for around £100 ($138). A price reduction of 17%.
We can conclude from the analyses above that Pokémon prices are definitely falling with Shining Fates seeing the biggest fall in prices.
Economics or Crash?
The basic laws of economics state that where supply is greater than demand prices will fall and where demand is greater than supply prices will increase.
2020 saw an enormous increase in demand for Pokémon products. This was due in part to the Covid-19 pandemic. People worldwide were forced into lockdown and with more time on their hands began collecting Pokémon cards. The upcoming 25th Anniversary also led to renewed interest among both collectors and investors, while others were attracted to playing the game. Media interest in high profile collectors such as Logan Paul increased and highlighted the vast sums of money that could be made through trading cards.
By the end of 2020 Pokémon was seeing unprecedented demand for its products but lacked the ability to produce product in sufficient quantities to meet that demand. The global pandemic and lockdowns had led to factories being forced to scale back production. Sealed product sold out as soon as it hit the shelves, often purchased by scalpers who then resold at greatly increased prices.
Generally, demand for expansion sets is high when they are first released but decreases as new expansion sets are announced and launched.
Shining Fates had gone on presale in December 2020. The set saw unprecedented demand and sold out very quickly. Suppliers had sold as many products as they had ordered. In January 2021 it was announced that supply would be allocated and that it could be as low as 10% of product ordered. To make up the shortfall reprints would be released in 2nd, 3rd and subsequent waves. People were promised that they would get the products they ordered at some point in 2021.
Battle Styles was also allocated and some products were delayed meaning they were released much later than anticipated.
Typically, when a new expansion set is released the price of individual cards is high then begins to fall as they become more widely available. Over time prices increase as cards become rarer and harder to find. In the case of sealed products, prices tend to increase slightly after launch then increase further as products go out of print.
Generally, by the time a new expansion set is released, the previous sets have nearly sold out or supply is greatly reduced.
In terms of Pokémon, 2021 has been a unique year so far. The release of Shining Fates in waves, and the delayed release of many Battle Styles products, has meant that the supply of these cards has increased through the year rather than decreasing as subsequent sets are released.
At the time of writing, 3rd July 2021, Pokémon has already announced the release of the next two sets – Evolving Skies and Celebrations. Yet, supply of both Shining Fates and Battle Styles is still high. Higher than demand for these products.
This has led to Pokémon prices falling as distributors, stockists and resellers try to sell Shining Fates and Battle Styles products and cards. Failure to sell these products could lead to cash flow issues and inability to buy the upcoming Evolving Skies and Celebrations products. At worst those who make their living from selling Pokémon could face financial ruin.
Pokémon Prices Falling – Economics or Crash?
To answer the question posed at the beginning of this article, it would seem that the reason behind Pokémon prices falling, particularly those of Shining Fates and Battle Styles, is down to economics rather than a crash in the Pokémon market as a whole. The unique situation this year in terms of supply and demand being responsible for Pokémon prices falling, especially those of Shining Fates and Battle Styles products.