March 4, 2022

Bobbleheads May Be the Next Big Thing. Gun Sales Suffer.

[Barron’s, Getty Images]

Here’s more evidence that pandemic fortunes for some companies have waxed and waned depending on the stage of the recovery.

Funko (ticker: FNKO), the maker of bobblehead dolls and other pop culture collectibles, reported more than $1 billion in sales last year, up 58% from 2020 for the full year.

In contrast, Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI), the maker of pistols, revolvers and rifles, said sales through the first three quarters of its current fiscal year dropped 7%, to $682.7 million, with the drop-off most notable during the holiday period.

The stocks had an almost equally opposite reaction in after-hours trading on Thursday. Funko shares rose 16%, while Smith & Wesson shares fell 17%. The S&P 500 ended the day down 0.5%.

Funko shares are up 38% in the past 12 months, while Smith & Wesson shares are up 13.3%.

Smith & Wesson CEO Mark Smith said in a statement Thursday that the market for guns “has cooled significantly from the height of the pandemic surge,” reporting a 31% drop in sales for the fiscal third quarter. The market is elevated and healthy with new entrants, he said, but it’s now following prepandemic patterns for demand.

For Funko, the outlook for sales of trinkets such as figurines depicting popular comic characters remains strong. It forecasts 2022 net sales growth of 20% to 25%, including growth of 40% or more in the first half of this year.

Collectibles have taken the baton from seemingly more practical purchases that were popular during the earlier part of the pandemic, such as jigsaw puzzles, Peloton exercise bikes and, well, guns.

Nonfungible tokens are another example. The digital assets hit $44 billion in value in 2021, Barron’s recently reported, up from almost nothing in 2019, right before the pandemic. A CryptoPunk, or pixelated character, sold for $11.7 million last June.

Funko said fourth-quarter sales of figures rose 50%, to $255 million, and sales of other products including its Loungefly branded bags and accessories and games and plush toys rose 44%, to $81.1 million.

By Liz Moyer

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