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Blind box economy prevails: addictive phenomenon and widespread hype should be vigilant



Budweiser’s limited edition blind boxes, including Wangzi milk professional cans for astronauts, charterers and other industry roles, Jinjinshang fresh blind boxes containing crayfish, pepper chicken or gluttonous bullfrogs… Recently, You Chao In the blind box craze set off by the game, new cross-border products frequently appeared, becoming the new favorites of many consumers.

Blind box economy prevails: addictive phenomenon and widespread hype should be vigilant 1

Book blind boxes, beauty blind boxes, college admission notice blind boxes, fresh blind boxes… The business model based on the blind box economy has also been copied and referenced in all walks of life, and even more grounded and flexible.

Since 2019, blind boxes have become popular in China. Tmall Global’s “List of Possibilities for Post-95 Players” released in 2019 shows that nearly 200,000 consumers spend 20,000 yuan a year to collect blind boxes, and consumers with the strongest purchasing power spend one million yuan a year to buy blind boxes. , The sales of blind boxes on Tmall alone increased by 189.7% year-on-year, becoming the most money-burning hobby of contemporary young people. As of October 23, 2020, Bubble Mart Electronic Mall has sold more than 65,000 copies of the “Double 11 Heart Selection Gift Pack”, and the number of purchases is still increasing. Has the blind box economy become a new trend in the Internet celebrity economy?

Blind box craze is in the ascendant

Merchants take advantage of marketing

The origin of the blind box can be traced back to the lucky bag in Japan. Before blind boxes became popular, gashapon, stationery lucky bags and other products were also popular among certain groups of people. Blind box marketing is similar to the merchandise marketing method of a lottery game, which can greatly stimulate the repurchase rate of users. Due to the high IP loyalty of the two-dimensional users and often collection habit, blind box marketing was initially used in a large number of hand-made sales in the two-dimensional field. Nowadays, blind box marketing has become one of the common methods for IP toy gifts and online and offline interactive marketing.

In 2019, the blind box became popular, and Bubble Mart may become the biggest beneficiary. In the past few days, reporters from the “Rule of Law” have visited Pao Mart’s offline store many times and found that on non-working days, there are usually many customers in the store, and most of them are young women. Although some customers did not buy the goods in the store, some are popular. The blind box of the style has been out of stock, and many customers have purchased multiple blind boxes at a time, and the consumption amount has reached hundreds of yuan.

Blind boxes are usually sold in series, and each series generally has 8-12 styles. When the player gets the first blind box, it will be unmanageable. Players always want to have all the styles and pursue the series “reunion”. Industry insiders told reporters of the “Rule of Law Daily” that its most attractive part is its hard-to-obtain “hidden money”. Those hidden money with a probability of 1/72 and 1/144 can stimulate players’ psychology of gamblers and stimulate blind boxes. consumption.

Regarding the blind box complex, Ms. Tong from Tianjin said: “I used to buy stationery lucky bags when I was in school. I usually buy one to take home when I see it at a stationery store. There will be notebooks, pens, stickers, folders, etc. , The price is much cheaper than the single purchase, and there will be a sense of surprise.”

Recently, blind box marketing continues to be popular, and many merchants, including the Forbidden City, McDonald’s, and Shanghai Disney, have introduced the blind box concept into their products. In April 2020, “Forbidden City Taobao” launched themed blind boxes such as “Palace Baby” and “Cat Lucky”. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, it also launched the Forbidden City Cat Mid-Autumn Limited Blind Box, which triggered a buying boom among consumers.

Unlike direct sales of blind box products, McDonald’s uses the method of blind box for product marketing. In July 2020, McDonald’s launched the Minion Man series of blind boxes, with a total of 70 models in the series. You can get one blind box when you purchase a Happy Paradise meal. A reporter from the Rule of Law Daily interviewed several parents at random at the entrance of a kindergarten. Parents have expressed that during the event, their children repeatedly asked to buy McDonald’s Happy Meals. “The children are arguing about going to McDonald’s every day, but they are not satisfied with the toys they got, and they have to buy another set meal. This kind of marketing is really clever and very attractive to children.” Ms. Wang said.

Just before the National Day, Want Want launched 25 professional Want Zai milk cans on the Tmall flagship store. After placing an order, consumers can randomly get normal or hidden Want Zai milk. The official page shows that these cans contain not only 18 normal occupations such as programmers, chefs, nurses, and reporters, but also 7 hidden cans such as e-sports players, shopping experts, and charterers.

From the consumer reviews displayed on Taobao.com, Want Want’s marketing is quite popular among consumers. Some consumers exposed the hidden money they had drawn, and some consumers expressed resentment that “I didn’t get the crosstalk actors they wanted. , Who wants to use a cross talk actor and me to switch to a chartered company or a Chinese opera actor?” Some people even expressed their desire to gather a family portrait of Wangzi professional pots.

Blind box addiction is widespread

Hype behavior deserves vigilance

With the popularity of blind boxes, more and more young people have begun to buy blind boxes in large quantities. After searching for keywords such as “blind box”, “blind box addictive” and “end box” on social networks, a reporter from the Rule of Law Daily found that many netizens have spent thousands or even tens of thousands of yuan on blind boxes.

However, the curiosity brought about by this uncertainty and the addictive characteristics of repeated purchases also disgusted some parents of students. “Some young students, out of the pursuit of their favorite dolls, and under the psychological stimulation of the uncertainty of the blind box and the hope of the next draw, will continue to buy repeatedly. How many of these primary and middle school students will not become addicted?” A parent from a middle school in Beijing said, “Children don’t know what rational consumption is, and they will not buy it unless they spend all their money.”

Cai Mou, a college student from Jiangsu, told the reporter of Rule of Law Daily that she usually buys one if she likes it, and buys another one if she doesn’t like it. “If you still can’t get it, then give up. The series will be directly “end box” (full box purchase)”. When asked why he likes to buy blind boxes, Cai said that because blind boxes have surprises that ordinary toys do not have, the pleasure of opening blind boxes is similar to the feeling of receiving a gift, and the toy after disassembly is Decorations on the table can also play a decorative role, it can be described as killing two birds with one stone.

A reporter from the Rule of Law Daily contacted a Ms. Lu from Shandong through social media. Ms. Lu is a veteran fan of blind boxes. According to Ms. Lu’s description, there are many complete sets of blind boxes in her home.

“Sometimes it is more difficult to buy the one you like in a single purchase. Usually you have to smoke many times. It is not cheap anymore. It is better to directly’end the box’ so that you can have your favorite style and avoid duplication.” Ms. Lu Say.

Ms. Lu’s idea is not a special case among blind box players. In a college in Beijing, a reporter from the Rule of Law Daily interviewed several college students carrying Bubble Mart shopping bags. More than one student said that if economic conditions permit, if they like it, they will choose End Box .

As for the cost of blind boxes, Ms. Cai said: “In the case of misleading boxes, it costs two to three hundred yuan to buy about four or five in a month. Sometimes they also buy some display cabinets for blind box storage. Other decorations cost more in this regard.”

And Ms. Lu said that she spends a lot on blind boxes. “I will not be limited to only one brand of Bubble Mart, such as the blind box of the Palace Museum or other blind boxes sold in other stores. If you like it, I will buy it. It may cost five to six hundred yuan a month. I spend thousands of dollars on blind boxes almost every month.” When asked whether she would end boxes for hidden models multiple times, Ms. Lu said that she would not pursue hidden models too much. The main reason was limited financial ability. .

After interviewing a number of blind box enthusiasts, a reporter from the “Rule of Law” found that blind box enthusiasts enjoy the uncertainty and surprises behind it when buying blind boxes. This unknown nature enhances consumers’ impulse to buy. At the same time, after opening the box, no matter whether the result is satisfactory or not, the box will be drawn twice out of “want to try again” or “satisfaction brought by self-confidence”. In an interview, a college student said that in the process of drawing boxes, if they didn’t get their favorite styles at once, they would usually draw boxes multiple times with a fluke. “Although they will regret their impulsive consumption afterwards, they will continue It will still be difficult to control oneself once, and will continue to draw boxes.”

“Blind boxes are hyped up to dozens of times the price, mainly for certain special styles. Although this kind of hype is not illegal, but whether it really has such a high value is a question mark. This kind of artificial hype There is a bubble in high prices. If you use this as an investment tool, the risk may be relatively high.” said Zhao Zhanzhu, a special researcher of the Intellectual Property Research Center of China University of Political Science and Law. Blind boxes have two obvious characteristics: lottery sales and limited supply of hidden models. The characteristic of the contract, the object that the player points to at the time of purchase not only includes the doll itself, but actually also includes the “lucky” and “hope” of obtaining a hidden or specific standard doll. However, because most businesses do not publish information such as the number of blind box standard models and hidden models on sale, and the probability of winning, the gameplay is very opaque.

“My’post-00′ daughter who just entered high school bought a lot of Molly series blind boxes to open the boxes at home, just to take a so-called hidden money to show up in front of classmates. Almost all of the annual deposit and pocket money are used to buy blind boxes. It costs more than 5,000 yuan a year. After playing for more than two years, there is no collection of a series.” A parent of a middle school student in Beijing said, “Now, under the guidance of teachers and parents, she and her classmates finally wake up and know Collecting all blind boxes is a trick.”

Urgent to enter the regulatory vision

Standardize the operating order of blind boxes

The blind box gameplay is essentially a lucky game. For the blind box full of mystery, when consumers buy, they don’t know whether the next item will be hidden or re-owned Thunder model. The answer can only be revealed after buying and opening the box-the magic of the blind box economy, yes How far has driven this “blind box” craze?

Although the popularity of blind boxes is still high, some blind box fans have gradually become calmer. Searching on social platforms found that related issues such as whether blind boxes are an “IQ tax” and how to get rid of the addictive habit of buying blind boxes have been widely discussed.

Industry analysts pointed out that the current blind box series in different industries are using games to increase interactive fun, community activity and stickiness. At the same time, some merchants have expanded their sales with new inventory by adding hidden and limited models. “Whether the blind box can’out of the circle’ ultimately depends on the content itself and the application scenario. When the blind box marketing becomes more and more, once consumers lose their sense of novelty, the final effect is difficult to achieve.

In fact, behind the craze of blind box gameplay, the voice of doubts about its compliance is also rising. During the interview, many people in the industry expressed their concerns about the risks of the blind box economy to reporters from the Rule of Law Daily.

For example, in terms of policy supervision, the blind box industry is still in the early stages of development, and some insiders believe that there is a certain degree of speculation and blind hype.

“Policy regulation is expected to become stricter and change the current market ecology.” Liu Su, a white-collar worker in Beijing who has studied the blind box economy because of the deep blind box, said, “A specific blind box IP is a short-term trend of consumption. In the long run, the core Users may lose interest in blind box collection, and there is a risk of user loss.”

In interviews, many parents of teenagers believe that the blind box is more addictive than the lottery. “Blind box is addictive. In the final analysis, it is to instill the psychology of gamblers into teenagers. At least the state is in charge of the lottery, and the blind box has neither. Human management is another highly opaque gameplay with extremely asymmetric information.”

Blind boxes are different from ordinary goods. Consumers do not know whether they need the goods they are buying. They are easily attracted by the deliberately exaggerated probability of “winning the lottery”. They continue to invest money in buying blind boxes to win their favorite dolls.

As of 0:00 on October 10, 2020, according to the poll published by Phoenix.com “Cultural Weathervane”, netizens believe that the problems and deficiencies of blind boxes are as follows: The gimmick is too big and the product itself lacks practicality (30.17% ); the price is unreasonable, some products have a serious premium (20.35%); consumers are “addicted” and spend more money (17.43%); downstream market speculation and speculation are serious (16.05%), and some products involve plagiarism and other disputes (9.44 %).

At the same time, the randomized buying experience of blind boxes is precisely the subtlety that makes many players willing to “get into the pit”. When you are lucky, you get a “hidden item”, and the instant price doubles, even close to 40 times at the highest. The hot items in the same series can also be sold at a price higher than the purchase price. Therefore, in recent years, “the blind box” has become A hot topic after stocks and shoes. This “small blind box” may bring “big wealth” income uncertainty is one of the important reasons why the blind box frenzy continues to heat up.

Regarding the related second-hand transactions that blind boxes gave birth to, Zhao Zhanzhu believes that if merchants participate in the second-hand market to buy or sell dolls, especially high-priced purchases of hidden money, they will stimulate the speculative psychology of blind box players to buy blind boxes, and then form a certain amount of Probabilistically, the closed loop of selling at low prices and repurchasing at high prices in the second-hand market is suspected of constituting gambling and should be investigated and dealt with by the public security organs.

At present, the speculative nature of related products has become a hot spot in the market. The blind box model enters the regulatory vision as soon as possible, which is what many people expect.

“Blind box may theoretically be recognized as’rewarded sales’ by Article 10 of the Anti-Unfair Competition Law.” Some insiders said, “but it is different from many popular card-drawing mobile games. The background code directly supervises the probability of winning. There is no clear statement about how to supervise the probability setting of the blind box.”

“At present, it is still more difficult to determine whether the blind box is illegal, and it may be more difficult to regulate from a legal perspective.” Zhao Zhanzhu said bluntly.

According to Zheng Ning, director of the Law Department of the School of Cultural Industry Management of Communication University of China, in order to protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers, blind boxes must be standardized. First, the market supervision department should regulate the operating order of blind boxes, and promptly investigate and deal with opaque business behaviors, false advertisements and product quality issues; secondly, Internet operators should strengthen the review of each online blind box to prevent vulgar content; Third, strengthen education for minors and their parents to make them aware of the risks of buying.