6

The website, Cracked, recently posted an article which stated:

In 2016, $262.9 billion worth of Star Wars merchandise was sold.

Cracked Image

According to the 2016 GDP by country, if Star Wars was a country, it would be ranked 44th (or 43rd or 42nd depending on the source) by income - that doesn't seem right.

Was $262.9B worth of Star Wars merchandise sold in 2016?

  • If this claim states that 10m items are sold annually, with revenue of 262.9b, wouldn't that imply the average cost of item is $26,000 🤔 – Phoenix Feb 21 '18 at 14:53
  • @Phoenix The claim is 10 million lightsabers. There are other product lines, which would skew your numbers. Still there was an obvious discrepancy, which is why I asked the question - even without a notable counterclaim. – Coomie Feb 22 '18 at 2:07
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Nope, Cracked.com got it wrong.

They most likely based (some of) this claim on a Variety article:

‘Star Wars’ Movies Push Overall Licensed Merchandise Sales to $262 Billion

With “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” providing major boosts, global retail sales of licensed merchandise rose 4.4% to $262.9 billion last year, according to the Licensing Industry Merchandisers Assn.

... Variety - ‘Star Wars’ Movies Push Overall Licensed Merchandise Sales to $262 Billion - Dave McNary - May 22, 2017 9:00AM PT

Until I read the word "Overall" in Overall Licensed Merchandise, this article gave me the impression that they might be right.

I searched further and found the original LIMA article:

Retail Sales Up 4.4%; Entertainment and Corporate Trademarks Lead the Way

... Global sales of licensed products and services continued their solid growth pace in 2016, rising 4.4% to US$262.9 billion, according to the 2017 International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association's (LIMA) Annual Global Licensing Industry Survey.

Entertainment/Character licensing remains the largest industry category, accounting for US$118.3 billion, or 45% of the total global licensing market. Corporate/Brand Trademarks was the next biggest property type, generating US$54.6 billion in retail receipts for 20.8% of total revenues, followed by Fashion, with US$31.1 billion (11.8% of the total), and Sports at US$25.3 billion (9.6%)...

LIMA Study: Global Retail Sales of Licensed Goods and Services Hit US$262.9 Billion in 2016 - May 22, 2017, 09:00 ET

They don't even mention the Star Wars franchise in their article.

So the total global sales of licensed goods and services was US$262.9 billion (according to one study) and Star Wars played a role in the 4,4% growth according to Variety.


Bonus content:

Spot the difference between these two articles:

‘Star Wars’ Movies Push Overall Licensed Merchandise Sales to $262 Billion

‘Star Wars’ Helps Licensed Merchandise Sales Grow to $251.7 Billion

3

In addition to Jordys excellent answer, you can also easily deduce from the picture alone that the number is not plausible.

Checking the Disney Shop, the standard retail price of a lightsaber is $30.

According to the picture lightsabers are the most popular item with more than 10 million sold. Assuming a final number between 10 and 12 million puts the total sales of lightsabers somewhere between $300 and $360 million.

This would mean, that most popular item in your line-up amounts to barely more than 0.1% of total sales value. Which is very unrealistic.

Furthermore, the most expensive items in the shop are a TIE-Fighter shaped pen as well as an X-Wing one sold at $2620. Even assuming, those sell less than lightsabers but each also 10 million and disregarding the fact those are limited editions of 2000 each. They would only produce $52 billion of revenue.

The most expensive non-limited item I can find are several watches priced at $400. So, $4 billion revenue each for 10 million sales.

This means, the majority of items in the store need to be nearly as popular as lightsabers to even get close to the $262.9 billion figure.

  • 3
    Here's another way to look at it. Lets assume people who buy merchandise also watched the movie. The Force Awakens grossed $2 billion, 130 times less than merchandise sales. If tickets cost $8, this means that every single person who watched the movie also spend $1040 on merchandise. That's in no way realistic. – Kruga Feb 14 '18 at 9:31

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