Force may not be with Star Wars toy supply chain

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
6 October 2015

Almost three quarters of Star Wars fans think the supply chain providing toys for the next episode of the film franchise will not be able to cope with demand.

A survey carried out by supply chain technology supplier FusionOps found 69 per cent believe the toys that tie into the release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens in December will be out of stock.

Some 38 per cent don’t think there will be enough lightsabers, 34 per cent fear a lack of action figures, a quarter think video game Star Wars: Battlefront and R2-D2 will be missing from shop shelves, and 24 per cent think the remote-controlled BB-8 droid will not be available.

“While technology advancements have been exponential since the first Star Wars toys were introduced 38 years ago, companies still struggle to keep the supply chain healthy and reassuring to consumers,” said Gary Meyers, CEO of FusionOps.

The poll, which canvassed 2,031 people in the US, also found one in 10 fans aged 18 to 34 would blame the movie’s director, JJ Abrams, if they couldn’t get the toy they wanted at Christmas.

Meyers added: “Consumers have many choices and, with 35 per cent of Star Wars toys purchasers saying they’d react to a possible shortage of their desired toy, the long-term outcome for an inventory shortage can cost a brand dearly in loyalty and reputation. All the more reason for companies to be armed with supply chain analytics and real-time business information that allows them to react in ways that could be to their advantage.”

Stock shortages would also prompt some Star Wars fans to take desperate measures to get hold of the merchandise. Some 11 per cent said they would shove someone out of the way, 7 per cent would be willing to trip an elderly person and 5 per cent would be prepared to fake a panic attack.

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