Disclaimer: I live in Brazil, so buying from international stores in the US or Europa is not a good option because I end up paying double shipping, so for soe time now I’ve only buying directly in China. If you live in the US or Europe, it’s probably better to get your products from stores in your country as you do not have to deal with shipping, customs, etc, and you also support your local store. You can get some discounts in buying in Taobao (in particular if you buy a lot and use Taobao preorders) but it’s not the easiest thing to do – see this thread in the TFW – BUYING TRANSFORMERS ON TAOBAO
One of the things that interests me in collection is to understand the product lifecycle, including manufacturing and related processes and costs, and also to understand the market. For this, I always monitor several types of data, including price data on Taobao (I also monitor prices on Ebay and some international online stores to have an overall view).
Recently I’ve had a discussion on the prices of the Sovereign FT-16M reissue that begun to appear on Taobao this weekend. The discussion can be seen in this thread – https://www.tfw2005.com/boards/threads/fanstoys-ft-16-sovereign-masterpiece-galvatron.1055492/page-436, but below is a summary.
First, it’s important to note some things:
- Preorder prices in Taobao are generally some 200 Yuan (more or less 28 USD) cheaper than the street/retail prices for this price category;;
- There’s a speculation that FT sells a cheaper price for the first batch of preorders and a second price for the other batches. This would explain the fluctuation in preorder prices (besides depending on the store giving the preorder, if any – most do);
- There were a “formal”price increase in all FT products this year.
With that in mind, the preorder price for the FT-16M reissue seems to be 820 Yuan (118 USD) more or less. Street price of this reissue should be something like 1000 Yuan (144 USD).
A commenter confirmed that the price for thee original Sovereign FT-16 was around 600 Yuan street some years ago (so the street/retail prices would be something like 450-500) and that the street/retail price of 16M was around 900 Yuan (which makes the preorder 700).
It makes sense that the reissue is the same as the regular street price of the first issue of FT-16M as prices have increased this year.
One store mentioned hat the total preorder price for the reissue they will charge is 900 (which is a little more than ones I saw reported as 820), so street price for this should be something like 1100. Let’s hope at least some sellers can have spot prices for 1000-1100 (but I don’t think there will be many). However, as of today Sunday 23rd, I’ve seem some prices between 1000 and 1280, including some for 1500. Let’s hope at least some stores keep the price on the lower end, as I did not manage to do a preorder (they closed last year in China). Unfortunately, I’m seeing a lot of prices in the 1300 range 🙁
There was a comment about the the control FT may have for stores in China, particularly in Taobao.
I suspect that FT does have a good grasp of Taobao prices (and they probably ask/require that sellers do not sell too low), but Dalianjj, FT’s representative at the TFW forums and one of the owners of FT, said that the selling price for FT-44 Thomas in China will be 125-130 USD , which is something like 850-900. I
Interestingly, this 900 preorder price for the Sovereign FT-16M reissue is a little bit puzzling for me, because my current thinking is that there’s a category price for triple changers and big bots such as Sovereign and Quietus that should be the same price. If FT-44Thomas is really 850-900 street (as Dalianjj seemed to imply), the FT-16M reissue should be the same (meaning that the preorder price should have been 700, not 850-900 – as a sidenote, at least one store right now seems to be having a preorder of less than 800, and maybe the “first” preorders with the probable lowest price have not been received yet). Maybe there’s a second increase in price this year (which I doubt, as it would probably have spilled right now, and I did not see anything in my monitoring) or maybe my expectation of the same category price is wrong (which is weird, because the older data is pretty constant) or maybe there was this same category price, but this year it has changed. Well, need more data to conclude anything.
Related to the price fluctuation of FT products in Taobao, Taobao is less akin to Ebay, and much more akin to Amazon Marketplaces (Taobao is usually mentioned as the Chinese Amazon). Both Amazon and Taobao have several software options for vendors to automatically track things, including prices. One of them is probably something like:- Keep my prices near the market price (or something like that), in which the software automatically scans, usually daily, prices and and an algorithm calculates current market pricing and corrects all pricing on stores that let this feature on automatically.
I don’t know how such an algorithm works (it probably has a complex calculation involving multiple offers or all offers, a medium or something, and also some additional factors), but the end results that you see very similar prices in most stores (either because they ticked automatic update price option box (which is really better than you checking everyday), or because it’s the default of the system and you forgot to untick (remember that a lot of sellers do not have a good grasp on technology at this level, which is common for most of the population).
Obviously a store could still manually set its prices, but this explains how uniformly prices move and align across all Taobao sellers