Man, we’re really just doubling up on these quarantine stuff, are we?
Over the last 2 months, we have been talking about Mecha as a way for everyone to try and spend their time on, together of course with other stuff such as work and study, as to kill the boredom of being at home for more than the usual. Now we have talked about watching shows, or getting into the hobby, or watching more shows, so now, let’s try and share thoughts as to how the whole pandemic is affecting us on the retail end.
Closing up shop and moving online
It’s quite easy to understand how hobby stores are getting hit hard with foot traffic being basically zero with stores getting temporarily closed. One obvious adjustment, of course, is the move towards online selling with more activity being promoted on social media in hopes of still attracting loyal customers. Now while the adjustment seems to be working, small-time retailers are already making the permanent move to the digital selling space and are permanently closing physical branches as online stores require significantly lesser upkeep to maintain and survive. Moving online isn’t really a problem per se however, physical stores and locations, aside from just being places to buy your favorite mecha kit or model, have also become a haven for hobbyists as some of them offer spaces where one can build, compare and even compete in the company of fellow enthusiasts, creating a safe space for communities to develop.
Kit selections and the waiting game
Now depending on which online seller you look at, the selection of kits and models would vary from the basic ones that you are usually found in stores to premium and even rare ones that can only be bought on a full moon. While online sellers and official retailers seem to still have a healthy stock of kits and models to offer, getting your hands on the more premium ones (ones that are not usually available for sale through official retail stores) might take more waiting than the usual with production and goods transport being limited to the essentials. Of course, pre-ordering isn’t really new to the hobby community and various online sellers have their own systems as to how they pull it off waiting is expected to take longer than usual with the current limitations on international and domestic travel. Deliveries that rely on local logistics services would get affected too as service providers try to keep up with the seemingly overwhelming demand.
It’s like taking a break
As production is put on a temporary halt so is the development and with that, we could be expecting a lesser variety in terms of new selections for the rest of the year. Models that have been previously teased or hinted might not be out of the production line, not until much later this year or early next year, and toymakers might resort to re-producing and re-releasing previous models, with added variety in order to try and maintain the supply stream (not that there’s anything new with it, I mean we did get yet ANOTHER Red Frame Astray for some reason).
Where do we go from here?
Despite the current limitations being imposed the mecha hobby community is still relatively doing well in terms of activity and the rotation of goods from new purchasers to second-hand buyers. While adjustments are now being put into motion and a new “normal” is expected, we are still yet to see what major development comes next as the whole world is put into a temporary halt, whether we like it or not. For now, the best thing that us fans can do is to help do our part and contribute by doing the proper measures to further prevent the spread of the disease which is now a pandemic, and adapt to the adjustments affecting the hobby that we love best.