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What do you think the hobby industry will look like in 2020?

In September, we asked hobby retailers what they think the hobby industry will look like in 2020. To read more, check out the November 2012 issue of Model Retailer.
Published: October 22, 2012
Robert Mazza, HobbyTown USA, Oshkosh, Wis., said:
Hopefully bright with a lot of new innovative toys. Hopefully every state will enforce new tax laws requiring Internet sellers to charge and pay state taxes.

Chris Merseal, CRM Hobbies, St. Louis, Mo., responded:
[The hobby industry will be] a lot smaller and much more specialized.

Kimberly Miller-Gorden, Turn 4 Hobbies, West Boylston, Mass, had this to say:
In 2020 hobby stores as we know them will be a thing of the past. The stores that offer service and repair, teach classes and have race tracks or airfields will be around for their entertainment value. Storefronts will be showrooms and products will be ordered by customers at a kiosk (or from their mobile device) and delivered next day to their homes. The big hobby distributors and manufacturers will have more warehouses in more locations to make one-day shipping possible. In general, most businesses will be following Amazon's lead.
Bill Longcor, Feels Like Home LLC, Newton, N.J., said:
The way things are going, it will be all sales by big mail-order places. The small mom-and-pop store will be gone. Too bad for the hobbyist there will be no place to gain information, only online discount retailers.

Roy Ballard, Loose Caboose Hobbies, Napa, Calif., replied:
Products will basically be the same. I think there will be fewer distributors and hobby shops. Most hobby shops will cater to specific hobbies such as R/C cars or trains. It will be harder for general hobby shops (hobby shops that stock a bit of everything) because they have to chase down proprietary product. This means that they will have to do smaller orders with more suppliers, so they will not have as much profit.
    Some manufacturers will go direct to customers, cutting out distributors and hobby shops even though those same distributors and hobby shops got them started by promoting their products.
    Manufacturers will still struggle with getting product out on time and as advertised. Customers will still blame the retailers for it.
    Prices will rise despite some manufacturers' practice of keeping their retail prices the same while raising the cost to retailers. No one will remember what MSRP means. Currently some manufacturers that also have retail/online stores do not list their own MSRP!
    Most manufacturers will dismiss ideas from retailers about new products even though the retailers have a fantastic understanding of what will sell. Computer and online requests will rule all.
    The remaining retail stores will be a customer's first stop for returning items, complaints and checking out items in person before they buy it online. And even though they bought an item elsewhere, they will demand a replacement from the brick-and-mortar store because, after all, they are one of their dealers.

Gerry Satterwhite, Greenville Hobby Depot, Greenville, Texas, said:
It's hard to say. If we get our manufacturing back from China, there may be a chance of reprieve. But I see knockoffs of American products under other names. I run a local hobby shop and online retail stores are killing my business. I see customer service making a comeback, and that's where I will win.
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