13th Oct2023

Sales To Astonish #13 – Sept 2023 Comic Market Report

by Guest

Welcome to Sales to Astonish,  a new column in association with comics retailer The Unreality Store, in which Matthew De Monti brings us news on comic sales and the general moves in the comic market over the past month or so!

September was a month of change. I’d been conscious that although the website will always remain the cornerstone of The Unreality Store, website traffic and orders have been on a downward trend since April. Despite running various promotions and sales they seem to be a very reactive event to what is an underlying challenge of getting people to the website and then in turn making a purchase.

I had tried to complement the online sales by doing Comic Cons and readers of previous columns will know that these have been decidedly hit and miss. I had already made the decision to stop attending conventions after Peterborough and Market Harborough in September and focus my efforts on finding suitable vintage/retro emporiums in the Midlands area where I believe there will be a following for comics. graphic novels. books, Roleplaying games and other items

The irony wasn’t lost on me that as soon as I had made the decision to cease attending conventions the final two I did were the best ones of the year! The Striking Events convention at Peterborough took place on what was probably the hottest September Sunday on record and whilst the weather may have affected the attendance (or meant that people didn’t stay as long in the hall) I had a busy day selling lots of back issues: graphic novels and the key sales of the day were Amazing Spider-Man #22 and 24 in GD condition and The Boys #1 in VFN condition for a combined £150 to the same buyer

The following weekend I was at Market Harborough Comic Con which was organised by Peter from Vinyl Experience. It was a free-to-enter convention in the indoor market and over 3000 people turned up on the day. The organisation was amazing and the atmosphere was fantastic. I sold everything from manga to Star Wars variants and loads of Marvel and DC back issues. No key sales to note but when reviewed the list of what I had sold at the end of the day it was my best convention of the year. I had bowed out on a high note!

The following Tuesday (19th September) a large proportion of the convention stock along with VHS, lead miniatures, film and TV magazines. Roleplaying items and more were dropped into the Kibworth Antiques Centre located on the A6 just north of Market Harborough and south of Leicester.
If you are based in the area drop in as there’s loads of fantastic stuff on offer and the cafe is great too!

Returning to the conundrum of how to combat the downturn in online sales I decided to run some promotions on various items throughout September. There was a 25% off sale on all Batman-related back issues to coincide with Batman Day, a 50% off sale on graphic novels and a 60% off sale on Dark Horse, Manga and Valiant titles. All three promotions performed well and helped keep things ticking over during the month. One canny customer managed to snag an Akira #36 in VFN for £40.

September also followed the trend that had begun to emerge in the summer where online sales tend to largely be distilled into activity surrounding the Thursday release with sporadic sales for the remainder of the six days in the week. Whilst I am wedded to the idea of having a weekly release, the downside does mean that if there’s nothing of interest on any given Thursday people are unlikely to hit the website again until the following week. This might in future lead me to do a few ad hoc small releases on other days, promoted via social media, just to keep the website front and centre in people’s minds. I could also do with taking the time to review my Facebook/Instagram stores, Google Ad keywords, opportunities via TikTok and dare I say it…. eBay but there are only so many hours in the day and where to start??

To close September was a month of opportunity and change. Thanks for your support folks whether it’s via the website, the outlets, liking or commenting on social media posts, and even getting to the end of another Sales to Astonish. It all helps..!

See you next month.


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