Every year there are one or two items that become must-haves. I typed in toys but I changed my mind. This goes far beyond the Cabbage patch doll craze of the eighties. This makes “Tickle me Elmo” look like ..child’s play. This is serious as a heart attack, mercenary marketing in the two thousands.
Let me give you one example
Microsoft released the Xbox 360 to the world’s store shelves the day after Thanksgiving. They almost immediately sold out. Microsoft is the biggest company in the solar system. Bill Gates is the richest man in the Universe. Do you think for even a second that Microsoft couldn’t make as many of those x boxes as it wanted? Well call me stupid (everyone does) but I don’t believe it.
So they created demand with an artificial shortage and not only got people in a frenzy to buy the things but they guaranteed continued demand for a long time to come.
I did a quick search of sold Xboxes on eBay just now…on December 21st the core Xbox system was selling, not just offered but selling for an average of $5,000 bucks.
Today you can buy it now for $600. Free shipping. So a lot of smart somebody’s made 4 or 5 grand a crack this ho, ho, holiday season. My question is, how can you know for sure what items will be the hot ones next year? It’s all timing I think and my timing has never been so good.
My own attempts at cashing in on merchandise frenzy have not, shall we say, worked out so well.
How was I to know that the case of Penn State Barbie’s I bought ten years ago when they were red hot would still be collecting dust? I just know if I cashed in my 401 k and invested in as many Xboxes as I could before Christmas that I would now have the world’s biggest collection of large door stops.
By the way, Penn state Barbie’s make wonderful Valentine’s Day gifts. And I hear they are in very short supply.