Not long ago, Oreo started selling special Pokémon-themed versions of their cookie. They taste just like any other Oreo, but these ones are special because they have images of Pokémon on them. Not only that but, in the spirit of Pokémon, the individual cookies have different rarities. So some images are more likely to be in a package than others. This is cool because fans of Pokémon know that rarity is a big part of the universe and is essential to making the goal of “catching them all” fun.
Unfortunately, what Oreo didn’t take into account is that anytime Pokémon is involved there are going to be people clamoring for it. We might not ever reach the peak of Poké-mania of the 90s’, but people’s love for the franchise, now across several generations, has never been stronger. This love is also quite lucrative for resellers and scalpers. Pokémon-themed apparel sells out instantly these days as fans, and scalpers, clamor for them. While some want them for personal collection and enjoyment, the ones who want them to resell usually have less respectable intentions.
That resale market demand has led to sellouts of merch like trading cards at such a level that shoppers started getting violent with each other at department stores. The stores responded by no longer selling the cards in-store. And now it seems we’re seeing some of those same Pokémon resellers go after the cookies. A quick search on eBay can find the rarest of the cookies, such as Mew, selling for literal thousands of dollars. Of course, others are trying to attack the market inefficiency and sell it for a much cheaper $100 or $200. Unless you want the complete set, which currently can run from $42 to $400.
This might seem silly to some, but anyone that’s been keeping an eye on merchandising over the last couple of years could have predicted it. The desire to own limited-time memorabilia is extremely trendy right now. The direct cause of it is unknown, but there are a few theories as to why it’s happening.
In recent years, one of the most popular trends of YouTube videos at the moment is unboxing videos. These videos are simply someone opening up a package of some kind and talking about what’s inside it. They’re extremely popular and some YouTube channels have as many as 2.6 million followers doing that as their main thing.
These videos were originally very popular with children, but as young adults with money to spend started watching them, it made them interested in some of their old hobbies. So they started collecting, just as they did as kids, and it eventually became popular enough to be something that scalpers could find a lucrative resell market on.
Nostalgia is a powerful tool. The kids who grew up playing and watching Pokémon are now old enough to spend their own money. So they decide to spend it on something that is nostalgic for them. Things like Pokémon cards were extremely popular back in the day. Now, with a renewed interest, they’re arguably more popular than ever. So popular that the Pokémon Company had to create a brand new Twitter account specifically for the card game.
Hello TCG Trainers!
This is your official destination for all news, information, updates and more for the #PokemonTCG.
We look forward to sharing the latest and greatest from the Pokémon Trading Card Game universe with you here.
Make sure to turn on notifications and share! pic.twitter.com/tzZ11v1S24
— Pokémon TCG (@PokemonTCG) September 18, 2021
People Are Bored
Across the board we saw new interest in hobbies take place throughout 2020, as people became locked inside their homes. Without the ability to go do what we usually would we needed a way to spend our time, and money. While some people chose to make the best sourdough ever, others got really into old hobbies. We saw a rise in retro gaming and we definitely saw an increase in people spending their money on Pokémon cards.
When a bunch of people have nothing to do, money to spend, and an enjoyment of Pokémon they’re going to consider getting some cards. While cards had definitely been regaining in popularity up to that point, a strong case can be made that it reached a peak when everyone suddenly lost all their usual hobbies. Evidence supporting this is eBay saying that sales for Pokémon Cards in particular increased “574 percent” from 2019 to 2020, and it’s not like this is the only place this was happening.
Digital trading cards, like the NFT-based NBA Topshot, became extremely popular in 2020 as well. When Target had to ban the sale of trading cards from their stores it wasn’t just Pokémon cards. Sports cards were banned as well because they too had seen a shocking increase in sales. Funko Pop! saw record sales in the fourth quarter of 2020. People want merchandise and they splurged on it in 2020.
So it sadly wasn’t that shocking that people started trying to sell Oreos for literal hundreds if not thousands of dollars because it was just following the trend. A trend that has shown no real signs of slowing down anytime soon.