Text/Photo by Yangcheng Evening News reporter Lin Xi and intern Pan Guiyi

  Recently, Bubble Mart, the “First Share of Trendy Play”, disclosed the operating data for the first quarter of 2022.

The announcement shows that the overall retail revenue of Bubble Mart in the quarter increased by 65%-70% year-on-year, and the performance of various channels achieved steady growth.

As of press time, Bubble Mart closed at HK$36.2 per share, an increase of 6.47%, with a total market value of HK$50.7 billion.

However, compared with the HK$107.418 touched during the intraday on February 17, 2021, the stock price fell by 66.3%.

As a leading enterprise in the blind box economy that has risen in recent years, Bubble Mart has attracted the attention of the post-95s, post-00s and other Z generations. Issues such as hype, "cutting leeks" and "IQ tax" are also criticized from time to time. How long can the heat of the blind box last?

One question: What is the growth against the trend of "the first stock of Chaowan"?

  Recently, a reporter from the Yangcheng Evening News came to Tianhuan Square in Tianhe District, Guangzhou. The location of Bubble Mart's store is very conspicuous. The reporter found that there was a lot of people in the store, and a group of young people were picking blind boxes. Shake the box and listen to the voice inside to guess whether it is the favorite hidden item.

There are various types of blind boxes on the counter, with a single price ranging from tens to nearly 100 yuan. Among them, Bubble Mart's exclusive IP Molly is very popular.

A middle school student who was selecting products told the reporter that her good friends and classmates around her would collect blind boxes. She likes Molly and some anime characters very much, so she bought different themes to collect.

According to the staff, during the holidays, the business in the store is not bad, and the customers are mainly young people.

  Due to the many fans of Generation Z, Bubble Mart still achieved steady growth in performance under the background of repeated epidemics.

From the specific performance of each channel, in the first quarter of this year, its retail store revenue increased by 75%-80% year-on-year; box-drawing machine revenue increased by 115%-120% year-on-year; e-commerce platforms and other online platforms increased by 65%-70% year-on-year %, of which the Tmall flagship store increased by 60%-65%, and the Jingdong flagship store increased by 105%-110%.

The operating income of robot stores increased by 5%-10% year-on-year; the operating income of wholesale and other channels increased by 25%-30% year-on-year.

In addition, in the 2021 performance announcement disclosed not long ago, its total revenue in 2021 was 4.491 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 78.7%; adjusted net profit was 1.002 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 69.6%.

  iiMedia Research believes that the blind boxes usually contain animation, film and television IP image entities, or dolls designed by designers alone, and most of them are launched in series.

However, because some product boxes are not marked, consumers will only know the selected products after they buy and open them, so they are named "blind boxes".

This uncertain stimulus makes the blind box attractive, becoming a carrier for young people to entertain, communicate, exchange and purchase, and become a hot topic of social communication for users, so the blind box has both surprise and social attributes.

In addition, the blind box also has attributes such as spiritual comfort and collection.

Blind boxes have so many attributes that they go beyond the scope of leisure toys, occupying the surprise economy, loneliness economy, and social economy of young people.

Second question: Why does blind box consumption attract fund bosses?

  The phenomenon of new consumption in blind boxes has also attracted the attention of public funds.

On April 22, the four funds under the management of E Fund manager Zhang Kun, the "first public offering brother", released their first quarterly reports for 2022.

It is worth mentioning that, among Zhang Kun's top ten stocks with heavy holdings, Bubble Mart gained a substantial increase and entered the top ten.

Judging from Zhang Kun's shareholding information, Bubble Mart first appeared in the top ten heavyweight stocks selected by E Fund Asia, and its shareholding ratio increased by 87.5% in a single quarter.

People can't help but ask, what did Zhang Kun see in it?

  Blind box transaction data shows that in the list of "Top Ten Popular IPs" in 2021, IPs from Bubble Mart occupy 7 seats, with a total transaction share of more than 50%.

Yang Aili, chief analyst of CITIC Securities Media, believes that from the perspective of the track, the market demand and the scale of the trendy game industry are still growing rapidly.

According to Frost & Sullivan data, the industry market size in 2021 is 34.5 billion, a year-on-year increase of 39%, of which the most important blind box category is 9.7 billion, a year-on-year increase of 83%.

And the second growth curve is gradually clear. Bubble Mart has increased the opening of self-operated stores overseas to directly reach overseas users.

The reporter learned that on April 22, the first store of Bubble Mart Oceania officially opened in New Zealand.

Earlier in January, its London store opened in the United Kingdom.

It is reported that its stores in Japan, South Korea, Australia, the United States and other places are also in intensive preparations.

Three questions: Is the "leek business" behind the "blind box economy"?

  Although from the data point of view, the transcript is not bad, but behind the popularity of Bubble Mart, the blind box has also been criticized a lot.

For example, a product with a workmanship value of only 30 yuan can fetch seven or eight hundred yuan in the second-hand market of blind boxes.

This year's CCTV 315 Gala criticized that at the beginning of this year, KFC and Bubble Mart jointly launched a blind box package. To collect a complete set of dolls, at least 6 packages need to be purchased, and the probability of occurrence of rare hidden models is 1:72.

Some people did not hesitate to spend 10,494 yuan to buy 106 packages.

  The China Consumers Association also issued an article saying that KFC, as a food operator, used limited-edition blind box sales to induce and condone consumers’ irrational and excessive purchase of food packages, which is contrary to public order, good customs and the spirit of the law.

  After being exposed, Bubble Mart responded that it has adjusted the business at the first time, and in the future authorized cooperation with the food industry, all customized blind box business will be suspended to prevent possible food waste.

  The Tianyancha APP shows that recently, Tianjin Bubble Mart Culture Communication Co., Ltd. was fined 50,000 yuan for illegal sales with prizes.

Not long ago, the company was fined 50,000 yuan by the Tianjin Binhai New Area Market Supervision and Administration Bureau for not publicizing the probability of winning and the number of prizes.

  In addition, the unboxing of the blind box hidden model makes consumers addicted.

Some consumers admit that the probability of drawing hidden funds is very low, but they still do not hesitate to invest a lot of money to buy them.

Some people believe that blind box products have a "gambling" nature, some products with inflated prices are suspected of "cutting leeks", and many young people have paid a high "IQ tax".

  The China Consumers Association also pointed out that some unscrupulous merchants use blind boxes to sell expired goods or fake and shoddy products, inducing impulsive consumption of minors in the name of collections, rarities, and limited editions, and merchants refuse to take responsibility for after-sale products in blind boxes.

  Regulators have also noticed the chaos in the blind box market.

In January this year, Shanghai took the lead in promulgating the "Shanghai Blind Box Business Activities Compliance Guidelines", which stipulated that blind box operators shall not sell blind boxes to minors under the age of 8.

When selling blind box products to minors over the age of 8, the consent of the relevant guardian should be confirmed through online and offline joint methods such as on-site inquiry or online identification.