So does this, on its own, mean kids aren't buying sports cards? Absolutely not, and I'll tell you why. The results from that poll question can also be worded, "Ten percent of parents whose children collect sports cards, drive them to a local card shop."
Panini and Topps wouldn't be investing so heavily in the TCG market with Attax and Adrenalyn for the idealistic notion of trying to get kids back in The Hobby. On the contrary, they do it to make money. In a recent article from the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that while completely ridiculous and useless to a die-hard collector, the Attax line for Topps accounts for 25% of their revenue. 25%!!!
So if kids aren't buying them from the LCS (local card shop), where are they buying them from? That's right the Big Box retailers like Wal-Mart and Target while shopping with Mom or Dad. Which leads me to my next point.
I don't claim to know the intricacies of operating a business of that of a trading card manufacturer, but I do know that the line between retail and hobby products has become blurred when in fact they should be very distinctive. While blasters and rack packs are understandable and arguably smartly marketed retail products, some of the retail vs hobby products on an individual pack basis need greater differentiation then simply the "hit" odds and focus more on content differences in total.
Why should I be more inclined to make single pack purchases of base brands like Topps Series 1 from Target as compared to my LCS? The number of cards isn't drastically different, if at all. Their isn't incentivized content in the form of of added inserts in hobby versions. However, what if Hobby only versions of Topps Series 1, as an example, had a Chrome insert per pack or 1 per pack TMCG redemption codes? While Target is more convenient, I can definitely see myself going out of the way for this content if it were unavailable at retail.
Collectors on message boards and blogs constantly tell manufacturers what we want and don't want. Collecting is very much to some degree an obsession for some and addiction for a few. Manufacturers need to do a better job of creating value in Hobby products so those dollars aren't lost at the LCS in favor of the big box. This can be accomplished by clearer distinctions in product design and marketing between the two distribution channels.
I want manufacturers producing cards and products for ME. A 30-something adult with an obsession for The Hobby, a small amount of discretionary income and a desire for well designed, aesthetically pleasing cards, pulled from a product with good return value. If that means I will only have 5 products to choose and/or purchase from all year, so be it. Because I can guarantee you, that if you meet the aforementioned criteria, I will be buying them, in multiples.
Draw a clear line in the sand between hobby and retail and don't pollute one with the other in terms of product selection, return value, marketing or demographics.