"Like obsessive-compulsive disorder, you must buy a set."

  Xiaoya (pseudonym), who is in her third year, is a senior blind box enthusiast.

Since she bought her first doll in the first year of high school, Xiaoya has never been able to collect it. At most, the monthly money for buying a blind box is close to her monthly living expenses.

  Another trendy play enthusiast, Ruo Er (pseudonym), said that for more than four years, he had spent hundreds of thousands of yuan in total. There are more than a thousand together.

  In fact, it is not uncommon for Xiaoya and Ruoer to "expend huge sums of money" to buy blind boxes.

In the past two years when everything can be blinded, variants such as stationery blind boxes have even targeted school-age children and minors, and these blind boxes have a serious premium.

  Recently, in order to regulate the business activities of blind boxes, protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers and safeguard the public interests of the society, the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Supervision has formulated and issued the "Shanghai Blind Box Business Activities Compliance Guidelines".

  The "Guidelines" put forward advocacy suggestions for specific blind box business activities, including standardizing the blind box price system, clarifying the blind box extraction rules, encouraging the establishment of a guarantee mechanism, strengthening the after-sales guarantee of commodities, regulating marketing hype behavior, and establishing a minor protection mechanism Wait, a red line has been drawn for the blind box business activities.

  In fact, with the booming of the blind box economy in recent years, the blind box market has been chaotic.

There are living pet blind boxes that ignore life ethics, and there are even more "high-priced babies" in the secondary market of trendy play blind boxes.

A senior player of Youchao Playing Blind Box revealed to the Beijing News Shell Finance reporter that merchants have a variety of hunger marketing methods when selling blind boxes, and blind box transactions in the secondary market are also mixed.

In this regard, some experts believe that the phenomenon of blind box sales and secondary market hype is essentially gambling in disguise, and should be strictly regulated. The newly issued "Guidelines" are of positive significance for regulating the blind box market.


is the Blind Box Maniac: Nearly

200,000 consumers spend

20,000 sets of blind boxes a year, and some consumers spend hundreds of thousands

  Xiaoya, who is in her third year, is a senior blind box enthusiast.

Since she bought her first doll in the first year of high school, Xiaoya has never been able to collect it. At most, the monthly money for buying a blind box is close to her monthly living expenses.

In order to store the purchased dolls, Xiaoya's house also specially made three large cabinets with display lights. At the peak period, nearly a thousand dolls were displayed in the cabinets.

One of the cabinets is also full of hidden dolls.

  Since each series of Chaowan blind boxes usually has 12 models, Xiaoya often buys the same series of blind boxes repeatedly in order to collect the whole set.

This resulted in repeated dolls frequently appearing on Xiaoya's showcases, with the most repeated 7 times.

Sometimes, in order to collect the same series, Xiaoya will also choose to buy the end box, that is, buy a whole set of blind boxes at one time.

But later, because there were too many dolls, Xiaoya began to sell styles that she didn't like. "Three or four hundred were sold before and after, and there were too many to put down," Xiaoya said.

  Another trendy play lover, Ruo Er, said that for more than four years, he has spent hundreds of thousands of yuan in total. At the most, there are more than 1,000 children in the family, sculpture figures, and blind boxes. Piece.

Ruoer said that since contacting the baby circle, the happiest thing for him is to run various exhibitions.

In order to participate in the exhibition, Ruoer needs to book air tickets, book hotels, grab tickets, wait in long queues for three or four hours, and spend a lot of time, energy and money, all of which are to buy the latest dolls that she likes IP.

  When it comes to the fashion play blind box, Ruoer thinks that the price of 59 yuan each is quite cheap. Compared with that, the Akihabara figures he bought are basically at the price of 1,000 yuan.

So if you come across an IP blind box you like, Ruoer will buy it without hesitation.

"The trendy IP image created by general designers will be sold in limited quantities in the form of big babies after accumulating a certain number of fans, and only a small number of people can buy it. The blind box allows ordinary consumers to buy it at a lower price. Buy your favorite IP."

Ruo'er described her own views on Tide Play Blind Box in this way.

  When talking about why she was so "addicted" to the blind box, Xiaoya said that she enjoyed the moment of unboxing, "You don't know what's in the box before you open it. The sense of unknown and surprise makes each blind box have a huge Appeal".

Ruo'er thinks that buying a blind box adds color to her life, so that she is no longer just working numbly, but has more expectations.

  In fact, it is not uncommon for Xiaoya and Ruoer to "expend huge sums of money" to buy blind boxes.

The 2019 Tmall "post-95" player shopping power list shows that nearly 200,000 consumers spend 20,000 sets of blind boxes a year, and consumers with the strongest purchasing power spend millions of yuan a year on blind boxes.

The "2021 China Trend Toy Market Development Report" previously released by the National Situation Survey and Big Data Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shows that trend toys represented by blind boxes are becoming an important carrier for the new generation of young people to relax and communicate. The market size will reach 47.8 billion yuan.

Frequent chaos: hidden funds are nearly 20

times more expensive, and some merchants or anchors with goods hide hidden funds to drive up the price

  According to Allen, a senior player of the blind box, general merchants will place a hidden model in each box when producing blind boxes, and the ratio of hidden models to regular models is mostly 1:144.

The scarcity of hidden models has also spawned a boom in the second-hand market. The original price of each blind box is 59 yuan. If it is a hidden model, the price will skyrocket. It can be sold for thousands of yuan in the second-hand market, with a premium of nearly 20 times.

  In October 2020, attracted by all kinds of blind box live broadcast rooms on Douyin and his love for dolls, Tiandou (pseudonym) plunged into the blind box industry with a passion and a brain, holding nearly 100,000 starting points. Started the entrepreneurial career of dismantling the blind box live broadcast and bringing goods.

The so-called "blind box removal and live delivery" refers to the way that the anchor attracts netizens to watch the live broadcast.

According to Tiandou, in the blind box live delivery industry, the number of limited-edition blind boxes in the live broadcast room, the number of cooperative blind box companies, and the variety of blind box varieties determine the competitiveness of the live broadcast room.

When cooperating with big companies such as Bubble Mart, the anchors will get different discounts depending on the investment amount. For example, if they invest 500,000 to 600,000 yuan, they can get 25% off the products.

And some anchors are backed by the company and have sufficient funds, so the discounts they can get are even greater.

  Tiandou also revealed to Shell Finance reporters that in the current blind box industry, whether online or offline, it has become the norm to hide hidden funds and raise prices for profit.

In online live broadcast rooms, it is common for the anchor to replace the hidden item by moving the camera, switching the screen, etc. after drawing the hidden item. Even offline, there are cases where the hidden item is judged by using a magnet to test the magnetic attraction position in the blind box. payment and many other ways.

Tiandou, who was unwilling to profit by secretly hiding money, closed the live broadcast room in June last year due to the decline in the data of the live broadcast room, and turned to professional buyers to snap up popular IP blind boxes.

"The industry is so messed up right now."

Sweet Bean told Shell Finance reporter that he believes that the blind box circle has long been not just a gathering place for lovers of children, but a paradise for capital and middlemen to make huge profits.

Blind boxes for stationery are hot: ordinary pens with blind box coats

double , and merchants have extended their blind box marketing routines to minors

  In addition to the frequent occurrence of chaos in the secondary market of Chaowan blind boxes, in May last year, the chaos of pet blind boxes also appeared on the hot search several times, causing heated discussions.

On the evening of May 3 last year, animal protection volunteers stopped a ZTO express truck in Jinniu District, Chengdu. In the compartment, more than 160 cats, cats and dogs transported in plastic baskets were dying, causing public outcry.

Volunteers who participated in the rescue said that all the precious breeds were written on the express delivery form, but there were pastoral cats and dogs inside, so they judged that this was a "pet blind box" that was popular on the Internet.

Under the banner of "blind boxes for precious breed pets" to attract consumers, in fact, low-priced pastoral breed pets are sold. of indifference.

  With the rapid popularity of the blind box sales model, everything can be blind boxed, and merchants have also extended the blind box marketing routine to minors.

In November last year, the Shanghai Consumer Protection Committee released a report on the consumption of blind boxes for minors, showing that blind boxes for stationery have become a new fashion among school-age children and minors.

Most of the stationery blind boxes on the market contain multiple styles, and there are even hidden premium blind boxes. Others also have co-branded blind boxes combined with well-known comics, novels, animations and other IPs.

The marketing routine is in the same line as the Tide Play Blind Box.

Minors with poor discrimination ability are often keen to buy and collect stationery blind boxes because of the social needs of classmates and friends.

  During the investigation, the Shanghai Consumer Protection Committee also found that the premium of the blind box for stationery was obvious, and the secondary market was suspected of speculation.

The blind box pen has only one more layer of packaging than the ordinary gel pen, but the price is more than double.

Taking the selling price of an e-commerce platform as an example, there are 14 kinds of ordinary character models and 2 kinds of hidden character models in a brand series of neutral pen blind boxes. If it is shipped randomly, one set will be 6.8 yuan, and the price will rise to 6.8 yuan if the ordinary character model is specified. 7.8 yuan, if the price of the hidden character model is specified, the price rises to 68.8 yuan.

According to the traditional pen selling model, taking off the blind box shell and selling it as an ordinary gel pen, the average retail price is only 3 to 4 yuan, and with blind box packaging, the premium of hidden models can be as high as 14 times.

What are the red lines drawn in the first blind box business activity compliance guidelines?

Will blind box heat cool down?

  Chaos such as excessive marketing and price gouging in the blind box industry has long been criticized by the outside world.

Tiandou told Shell Finance reporter that the reason why everyone thinks that the ecology of this industry is very chaotic is largely because of the bad marketing methods of merchants.

  Tiandou believes that it is not uncommon for blind box merchants to promote brand value through hunger marketing.

For example, some IPs have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of fans, but the merchants only sell a few hundred sets of limited editions, so that some models are arbitrarily premium in the market. "This is undoubtedly taking advantage of everyone's mentality that what is rare is more expensive.

Tiandou said that although the merchants cannot earn the profit of the product premium, this invisibly enhances the brand value of the IP itself, and the profit brought by this increase in value is much higher than the profit of the premium of one or two blind boxes.

In reality, in order to enhance their brand value, merchants usually default to the existence of a secondary market that drives up the price of blind boxes.

Even some merchants will personally find scalpers to hype their products to increase the popularity of the brand.

  Blind box senior player Allen also told Shell Finance reporters that blind box merchants often use the methods of star delivery, batch distribution, and limited marketing.

After the Molly astronaut series was recommended by a Hong Kong star, the sales volume increased suddenly, and the price increased by four or five times.

Merchants do not stock up on the pretext of insufficient production capacity, and pre-sale for up to half a year is also one of the common methods of hunger marketing.

Some time ago, the KFC Dimoo joint model was also one of the ways of limited marketing.

At that time, the KFC co-branded Dimoo was released in limited quantities for a limited time, which once triggered a rush to buy, and some consumers even spent tens of thousands of yuan to buy hundreds of blind box packages.

"Many blind box vendors such as Bubble Mart, the so-called limited sales are largely false, and there is no so-called limited number of toys without a number," Allen said.

  Regarding the above-mentioned chaos, Xue Jun, deputy dean of Peking University Law School, believes that the sale of blind boxes actually has the meaning of gambling and needs to be strictly controlled.

The excessive marketing and starvation marketing of blind box merchants will lead to excessive pursuit of blind boxes of popular products such as hidden models, which will induce speculation and lead to the proliferation of hype in the secondary market.

Once a particular blind box on the market is fired to a very high price, a "lottery effect" will form, attracting more people to buy blind boxes, "like gambling, it will eventually lead to irrational purchases by consumers. commodity".

Xue Jun said.

  In response to the above-mentioned merchants' marketing behavior and the chaos in the secondary market, on January 14 this year, the Shanghai Municipal Administration for Market Regulation issued the "Shanghai Blind Box Business Activities Compliance Guidelines" to clarify the scope of application of the guidelines and plan for Shanghai Blind Box business activities. Out of the red line, and at the same time put forward suggestions for blind box operation.

  In response to the phenomenon of selling living blind boxes such as pet blind boxes on the market, the "Guidelines" pointed out that the business activities of blind boxes should comply with relevant laws and regulations, and the business scope is generally in the fields of daily consumption, literature and entertainment.

Laws and regulations clearly stipulate that commodities that are prohibited from sale and circulation shall not be sold in the form of blind boxes.

Commodities with strict requirements on sales qualifications, storage and transportation, use conditions, etc., shall not be sold in blind boxes, such as special foods, medicines, medical devices, toxic and harmful items, flammable and explosive items, live animals, etc.

  In response to the serious premium of blind boxes, the "Guidelines" advocate that the actual value of the goods in the blind box should be basically the same as its selling price, and the price of a single blind box is generally not more than 200 yuan.

Blind box operators should also clarify blind box extraction rules to consumers during sales, and publicize information such as commodity types, commodity delivery quantities, and hidden money extraction probability.

  In response to the chaos of hype in the secondary market of blind boxes, the "Guidelines" require operators of blind boxes not to carry out financial-related marketing, not to engage in market making behaviors in the secondary market, and not to carry out sky-high speculation, excessive marketing, and starvation marketing.

At the same time, the "Guidelines" encourage blind box operators to publicize the standards. When the same consumer pays the same amount or draws a certain number of blind box products in the same series, provide a reasonable way to enable them to obtain hidden products or a whole series of products.

  In response to the phenomenon that blind box marketing extends to minors, the "Guidelines" stipulate that blind box operators shall not sell blind boxes to minors under the age of 8.

To sell blind box products to minors over the age of 8, the guardian's consent should be confirmed through different methods such as online and offline.

  "The chaos in the blind box circle is not a matter of one or two days, and special policies are needed to regulate it. Otherwise, those of us who really like blind boxes and are enthusiastic about this industry can only be forced to leave, allowing businesses and The scalpers have made this market more and more chaotic." Tiandou has great expectations for the release of the new policy, and he hopes that through the guidance of relevant policies, blind box merchants can change the hunger marketing model and give every customer a chance Buy your favorite dolls and create a relatively healthy blind box ecology.

However, Xue Jun believes that although the release of the "Guidelines" has a positive effect on the rectification of the chaos in the blind box market, the formulation of specific rules should be stricter, so as to better regulate the market order.

  Beijing News Shell Finance reporter Li Menghan intern Xiong Ke editor Yue Caizhou proofreading Xue Jingning