Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Mathematics of Conventions, Part 2: Nendoroids

As of late, I've been collecting Nendoroids, starting with the Hatsune Miku Support Ver. I got back at Anime Expo 2011. I was able to pick up one at SacAnime Winter 2012, nabbing me another Hatsune Miku Nendoroid, this time Snow Miku Ver. 2010 (there's a 2011 and 2012 versions of Snow Miku as well).

The word around anime conventions is that convention dealers will markup their items versus buying online. But if you look closely and find the right dealers, you can actually save money versus buying online. However, there is always a downside.

Let's look at a Nendoroid that I wanted to buy but didn't because I bought Snow Miku instead: Kyon Disappearance Version.

The Dealer that I was focusing on was selling this for $35 straight up. With Sacramento county tax at 7.75%, the total would of been $37.71 if tax was applied. I compared this against two other sites: Figure Heaven and Plamoya. Figure Heaven had theirs selling for $42.99 + $5.00 shipping for a grand total of $47.99. Plamoya had theirs selling for $59.80 + $11.44 shipping for a grand total of $71.24. Let's calculate the savings:
  • Without tax: saved 27% off from Figure Heaven, 51% off from Plamoya
  • With tax: saved 21% off from Figure Heaven, 47% off from Plamoya
Now let's look at the Snow Miku Ver. 2010 that I bought.

I bought this for $30, on sale from $40 from another dealer without tax. Again, I looked at Plamoya as well as the website Big in Japan. Plamoya had theirs selling for $114.41 + $12.74 shipping for a grand total of $127.15. Big in Japan had theirs selling for $65.07 but shipping is unknown since that item was sold out. Again, let's look at the savings:
  • With discount: 76% off from Plamoya, 54% off from Big In Japan
  • Original price: 69% off from Plamoya, 39% off from Big In Japan
The key here is that a) Plamoya, Big in Japan, and Figure Heaven will typically have more in stock while a convention dealer might only have one or two that they brought to sell and b) you run the risk of buying bootlegged items. I'm not saying that I bought a bootleg Nendoroid that day, but I've seen bootleg DVDs and keychains being sold and you always have to be cautious. When in doubt, if you see a dealer selling bootlegged items, tell security, the one in charge of Dealers Hall/Room, or the convention chair.

Another myth that comes out of this experiment is the whole "waiting until the last day for discounts." It might be true that most convention dealers will discount their merchandise, but that's to entice sales on the slowest day of the convention and not selling off inventory. Most inventory that is sold at conventions are often part of the store's overall inventory and have the means to bring back all their unsold merchandise to sell at their stores or online once the convention is over.


  1. a good line to ask sellers at conventtions on sundays is "what kind of deal can you set me up with?" and "the more you sell here the less you have to take back to the store."

  2. Those are good ways to try to get a discount, but like I said there is an incentive to not try to sell out their entire inventory on a discount when they can just simply put the extra effort to haul everything back to their stores and sell it at full price.

  3. agreed there is only ever one thing that ive found any vendor to want to sell out of and that is things like pocky, bread, c.c. lemon, cakes, and of course ramune


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