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Consumers indulged in Funko Pop figurines during the coronavirus pandemic

·3 min read
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Not even a global pandemic can keep people from collecting their Funko Pops.

The tiny 3.75-inch tall vinyl Pop figurines retail for between $10 to $15 each and have proven to be an affordable indulgence during this challenging time. But, it didn’t start out that way. Funko has bounced back from a 49% sales plunge in Q2 to become a great comeback story of the toy industry.

“We're really happy about what we've accomplished,” Funko’s CEO Brian Mariotti tells Yahoo Finance Live.

Funko’s Q3 earnings and revenue beat analysts’ estimates after the company quickly pivoted to a direct-to-consumer model, following the closure of most of its third-party retailers due to the pandemic. And while Funko’s stock (FNKO) is down nearly 40% year-to-date, it is up 64% in the past three months.

“We were very fluid with our ability to move products from specialty where there was no mall traffic, to our direct-to-consumer,” Mariotti says. “We went from only 200 of our own products [on our website] as late as June of this year, to now well over 2,000 products available on our website.”

Funko’s own e-commerce site delivered triple digit sales growth last quarter and proved it doesn’t need new tentpole movies to drum up demand for its licensed pop culture products.

“Music, anime and sports are huge initiatives for us as a company to grow,” says Mariotti. “We feel that that segment of the population is a little bit different than the diehard ‘Mandalorian’ fans, Marvel fans, Star Wars fans, Disney fans. So we're really excited about music.”

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY JOCELYN ZABLIT, "The Merch Awakens: 'Star Wars' blitz before film opens" Funko Pop Star Wars action figures line the shelves at Meltdown Comics and Collectibles in Los Angeles on October 30, 2015. From action figures, to boxer shorts, pasta, duct tape and pet outfits, Disney is pulling out all the stops before the release of the new Star Wars movie with a massive merchandising blitz expected to reap billions. The push to drive up excitement for the film began in earnest in September -- nearly four months before "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" hits screens -- and has been mounting since, with ecstatic fans around the globe snapping up advance tickets along with products related to the film's beloved characters.    AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Funko Pop Star Wars action figures line the shelves at Meltdown Comics and Collectibles in Los Angeles. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Funko’s first-ever Selena Pop, based on the late Tejano superstar who is the subject of a current Netflix series, sold out in just 40 minutes. Other musicians with Funko Pop dolls modeled after them include Billy Idol, Post Malone, Ed Sheeran, and Brittany Spears.

New content for 2021 includes pop figurines based on Disney’s “WandaVision” and the Netflix hit “Queen’s Gambit.”

“We are rushing—call it speed chess—to create figures for a "Queen's Gambit,” and we've already had a wonderfully humorous internal dialogue on what the three outfits are going to be,” says Mariotti. “The fashion was amazing in that show.”

The company’s prospects have turned Piper Sandler “cautiously optimistic” on Funko. The firm recently upgraded the toy company’s stock from Neutral to Overweight and lifted its price target from $6 to $12.

Analyst Erinn Murphy sees evidence of “subsequent revenue pillars” with the recent launch of Funko’s own Snapsies line of toys at 800 Target stores, along with an expansion of board games and its digital efforts, which include a newly launched website in six European countries.

If customization is more your style, Funko just rolled out mini-Pop factories at its headquarters in Everett, Washington, and the Funko Hollywood shop. “Think Build-a-Bear meets Funko Pop,” explains Mariotti.

For $25, you can choose from thousands of combinations of hair, apparel and other attributes to create a customized figurine for you or a loved one. You’ll be able to Pop yourself online beginning late next year.

Alexis Christoforous is an anchor and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @AlexisTVNews.

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