Size of the Market

How large is the Pokemon TCG market really? You always hear “the largest grossing media franchise” and see all these views of trending Pokemon YT videos but I feel as though the pop reports tell a different story.

Take for example Champions Path, new hot set that’s been out for a few months now. Looking at total pop for both charizards, they are at 1500-1600 each. Is the number of people looking for this card really that small. I get that not everyone grades their cards and some may be in the process, but with all the mainstream popularity the tcg has been getting you’d think there’d be more than 1500 people who would want a PSA CP Charizard.

Or even going back to a popular WOTC set like Jungle. All first ed holos have 1000 or less copies graded, of which about 500 are PSA 9 or 10. This doesn’t really make sense to me as to why these numbers are so low if there are supposed to be so many new people joining the game and Jungle being the set right after base. There are less than 500 people collecing Jungle first ed in PSA mint or better?

I would have thought there would be at least tens of thousands of people collecting Pokemon cards world wide, but maybe that number is way off and the actual number is somewhere in the low thousands.

Am I alone in thinking this or am I missing something. What are your thoughts?

“Tens of thousands of people collecting Pokemon cards worldwide” is most certainly an under-estimate (by a lot). Different collectors collect different things. For example, I collect exclusively English WOTC cards, and I am sure there are thousands out there just like me.

3 things regarding this point. First, 1500+ graded in a couple months is actually crazy especially when you consider the PSA backlog. This number also ignore CGC or BGS submissions. Second, you can be a collector and not want a graded Champion’s Path Charizord. I don’t have one nor do I really want one frankly; some people just don’t like graded cards either. Third, there are more than 1500 people who want a PSA graded Champion’s Path Charizord which is why they consistently sell for $500-1000 in PSA 9/10. We are talking about good with limited supply, you can’t just produce a Charizord for everyone that wants one. Using this logic, one can argue that only 121 people want a PSA 10 1st ed charizord when we all know that’s not true. Given the price it’s more of an indication of how many people with 6-figures of disposable income want the card.
Consider this. How many Champion’s Path Charizord would need to be graded to drop the price to something like $20 where essentially any person who wants a copy can afford it? That is a more realistic indication of demand and even then, it’s only the demand for a particular charizord graded by a particular company.


I think taking the PSA pop report for one specific card - even if it’s a popular Zard - as metric for the whole hobby is fundamentally flawed. I have never bought a single PSA Zard and I’m 100% certain that the vast majority of e4 members isn’t interested in buying a PSA CP Zard.
That’s not even taking into consideration the thousands of children and casual collectors that definitely don’t buy graded cards at all.

Also, this probably belongs in the Giant Market Thread.


How many people’s PSA Champion’s Path submissions have already been added to the pop report? The vast majority haven’t. It’s only been a few months and most people aren’t paying for the fastest tier to grade modern cards.

As it relates to the PSA pop for WotC sets, remember that the vast majority of collectors collect raw cards. E4 is not a representative sample of Pokemon card collectors. Most collectors are much more casual. Including those collectors, there are absolutely at least tens of thousands of people collecting. I mean, there are like 30k people in the Virbank FB group alone lol.


Nothing short of billions annually.


Expect the numbers to reflect higher sometime next year after all these submissions are documented into the system.

I think you’re forgetting about something very important: children.

How many kids are treating their cool shiny cards with white gloves and keeping them in a temperature controlled room? Most kids are showing their cards to each other, fumbling them in and out of binders, trading, etc. Kids don’t think grading with PSA is fun. Go to any pokemon event such as a tournament and you will see the strength of the hobby.


I think you are analyzing the wrong data to determine market.

Grading cards only pertains to a small subsection of the Pokemon marketplace.
PSA graded cards is a smaller subsection of the Pokemon marketplace.

Even though I don’t know them personally, in my town there must be other collectors because every time I get a tip from my friend that our local shops have restocked modern product by the time I make it there, it’s either sold out, or quite a lot of product has already been bought from the day. My cousin’s kids love pokemon and I only recently found out. Pokemon Center has had such a backlog in orders the past few days, that it is literally taken over 16 days so far and my order still hasn’t been handled… I still see people playing Pokemon Go as I drive around town… Even going to Worlds was like OMG lots of people.

I think they are pretty accurate in saying that this market is strong and healthy.

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I will never, ever grade cards. It’s just not for me. The PSA pop count is like going outside, looking up, and saying “on man, there’s only 1 cloud, so there must be only 1 cloud in the entire world”. The only people who know how much Pokemon is selling, how much they make, and the actual print numbers are the higher ups at the pokemon company themselves. While PSA can provide a very small, biased sample size, the perpetual popularity of pokemon with kids (that has persisted for generations) cannot be overstated.

How popular are Pokemon cards with kids now? I was under the impression that most of the demand for new product is coming from adults. I really hope kids are still into it lol. I bet that of the people collecting in any year prior to ~2007 a much smaller proportion were adults. Like, 2004-me would’ve been stunned to see adults collecting Pokemon cards lol. It was purely a kid’s thing back then. Now many of the people buying modern product were part of that original generation of kids. But in 2004, that original generation hadn’t yet returned to Pokemon, so the consumers of Pokemon cards were pretty much exclusively kids.

But now it’s much tougher to tell how much demand there is from children because so many adults are collecting.

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@zorloth, From what I’ve seen, pokemon cards are still quite popular with kids. Not on the level of what the pokemon craze was back in the 90’s/00’s, but still popular nonetheless. My nieces and a lot of their friends are really enthusiastic about these cards. They always ask me for pokemon cards on their birthdays and for christmas haha.

Pokemon in general is extremely popular with kids in my area. Even loose booster packs are hard to find. I see shopping carts filled with toys, pajamas, blankets, mega locks, etc.

Kids walk around in the street with Pokemon plush and hoodies. Pretty cool to see how big it is right here

An employee of ours has a kid who brings in his tin of “good” cards to show about once a month and it’s always fun to see how happy he gets. I gave him a couple hundred penny sleeves, but he really doesn’t like them haha


I feel that an Important distinction is that some of the cards are not worth grading as well. It’s pretty easy information to determine that your card isn’t worth grading. Therefore even though Jungle set cards don’t have many in population, that’s less a sign of no demand and more a sign of no supply. Plus add in the backlog and you’ve got your answer.

As another aside, I feel the pop report can’t be used to determine demand accurately. It can signify roughly which cards are more well known and therefore graded more often, but after this many years for the early WOTC sets, it’s likely more of a supply issue. The numbers will certainly spike after this current submission group is finished. But my guess is they will still be quite low per card graded. Next to 0% chance that each WOTC holo will have 10-20k graded versions available total. Let alone having that many in the 9-10 category. Especially since most cards below grade 6 value are nearly negligible price wise at this point with some exceptions of course. If prices continue to skyrocket, then maybe we’d see more 6’s and below like 1st Ed zard. However, that rocket seems to have lost it’s boosters and is starting to orbit while waiting for its slingshot to the moon.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post if ya did!

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@fazool, @rgw151, that’s genuinely great to hear. It would be great if there are future generations of Pokemon card collectors. It will be interesting to see what the market for cards printed in 2020 will look like in 2040. Because of the amount adult collectors in the hobby right now, it will almost certainly be much easier to find 20 year old mint condition cards. There will be tons of perfectly preserved 2020 cards in 2040, whereas the same is not true of WotC/EX Series cards in 2020 because kids were the only ones opening packs and collecting the cards back then. Kind of a tangent, but I nonetheless do really hope that some current kids will get back into the hobby as adults! Would be an awesome thing to see.

Most of my coworkers kids are super into pokemon - the video games, and the TCG. Also, the gamestop and drug stores near me routinely run out of cards, and ETBs and those other fancy products are never on the shelves because they are always sold out. This goes for other parts of the city that I live in - I think its fair to say that pokemon is very much alive and well with the kids.

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