Experts: Panini America’s 2013 Black Friday Promotion Packs $1.3 Million Impact

December 03, 2013


For the third straight year, Panini America’s industry-gripping Black Friday phenomenon created a nationwide wrapper-redemption frenzy in hobby shops from coast to coast and a Twitter-rattling revolution in the hobby’s social media circles. It’s obvious by now that the promotion Panini America started in 2011 to replicate the excitement of its booth every year at the National Sports Collectors Convention has become an industry staple, transforming neighborhood hobby shops into bona fide Black Friday shopping destinations.

What’s more, it’s grown into a pivotal “event” that delivers a massive positive economic impact. Industry Summit organizers on Tuesday, citing the organization’s annual assessment of retailer and distributor sales, estimated that Panini America’s 2013 Black Friday promotion generated a $1.35 million impact at U.S. hobby stores.

“The strong single-day sales were sparked by retailers’ strategic use of Panini “red’’ packs, distributed free to the company’s Roundtable accounts based on past purchasing,” said Industry Summit organizer Kevin Isaacson. “In addition, retailers reported significant year-over-year increases in supply and memorabilia sales, indicating that Black Friday is embedded as a core shopping day for sports collectible enthusiasts.”

The Industry Summit’s findings echo the overwhelming anecdotal evidence shared by Panini Roundtable dealers across the country. Here’s a sampling:

“As a shop owner, there is an incredible feeling of driving up an hour before a promotion begins and finding some crazy card collectors already parked in front of your store. I made the mistake of bringing in less product in 2013 than I did in 2012, but still had well over 1,000 Panini Black Friday packs when we started our promotion. By 3 p.m. Friday, we were completely out of bonus packs and products as collectors were gobbling up packs faster than Thanksgiving turkey the day before.”
— Mike Fruitman, Mike’s Stadium Sports Cards, Aurora, Colo.

“It was a great Black Friday weekend at Sports Cards Plus of San Antonio and I give a big thanks to Panini America for that. We had people drive from as far away as Houston (200 miles) just for the Black Friday packs.  We had at least 10 people visiting San Antonio for the holidays come in because they knew we had Black Friday packs, and we had tons of regular and occasional customers come in to pick up Black Friday packs.

“Sales were brisk as we did four times what we normally do on a Friday. We were so busy ringing up sales that we didn’t have time to take pictures. Most customers were in a rush to get back to family that they took their Panini Black Friday packs to open at home. Saturday was still busy as we did about double what we normally do on a Saturday. Panini America’s promotions are the best in the hobby. We always do well. However, this year all customers were especially happy with their free packs. This year’s Panini Black Friday promotion was the best ever. I don’t know what you could do to make it better.”
— Charlie DiPietro, Sports Cards Plus, San Antonio

“I was pleasantly surprised that my Panini Black Friday sales this year surpassed those of last year. What was even better was that my Saturday sales were more then triple those sales from 2012. At the same time, the true power of the Panini promotion was very evident. I ran a ‘Buy One, Get One Free’ special on three fairly new Topps products and sold very little of them. My customers were definitely more interested in spending their money on Panini products to secure Black Friday packs. Due to the economic hit all of retail has felt in the past couple of years, my numbers could not touch those of the first Panini Black Friday promotion, but I was very happy to increase my sales over the 2012 numbers. My thanks to everyone at Panini for being the best at looking out for both the consumer and the hobby stores.”
— Steve Mandy, Attack of the Baseball Cards, Union, N.J.

The following images, from the three store owners quoted above, offer a small glimpse into Panini America’s Black Friday promotion. Enjoy, and stay tuned to The Knight’s Lance for continued coverage.