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Star Wars merchandise expansion is the way thanks to The Mandalorian

Cons. Discr. - Durables 422 Cons. Discr. - Retailing 379 U.S. 4997

May 4th marks the annual “Star Wars Day”. From a supply chain perspective that means it is time to take another look at supplies of movie merchandise tie-ins to the franchise.

With the main sequence of films now completed, attention has turned to Disney+ serialized shows including the recently-completed second series of “The Mandalorian” and the forthcoming “Obi Wan Kenobi” series that starts production shortly.

The end of the main sequence hasn’t meant a dwindling of U.S. imports of Star Wars merchandise, however. Panjiva’s data shows U.S. seaborne imports linked to the franchise in 2020 rising by 13.6% year over year while in 2021 through April 25 imports have increased by 94.6%. 

The Mandalorian comes in warm

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports associated with “Star Wars” by month. Source: Panjiva

The increase may reflect the more “toy-friendly” nature of “The Mandalorian” than the last of the main sequence films as well as increased consumer spending on toys during the pandemic lockdown, as discussed in Panjiva’s research of April 27. There’s also been a shift in the mix of products between the end of the main sequence and the beginning of the TV shows. 

Most of the expansion in imports of toys was accounted for by merchandise associated with the character of “The Child” which represented 48.7% of shipments in the past 12 months with imports of all other toys having increased by a more modest 18.8% in the first four months of 2021 after dropping in 2020. 

Imports of games, outfits and other merchandise also outpaced toys with growth of 123.1% in 2020 versus a year earlier. The latter may also pick up as Halloween approaches, assuming the pandemic allows a return to outdoor activities.

The Child lends a magic hand to Star Wars shipments

Chart segments U.S. seaborne imports associated with “Star Wars” by product. Source: Panjiva

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