December 18, 2019

The Baby Yoda black market is booming

Online platforms like Amazon and Etsy are rife with unofficial Baby Yoda merchandise.

When the TV show Star Wars: The Mandalorian debuted last month, Baby Yoda took the internet by storm.

Now he’s on everyone’s Christmas list.

According to the product research tool Jungle Scout, there have been more than 500k unique searches for “Baby Yoda” on Amazon in the last 30 days — a 40,874% increase over the previous 30-day period. 

There’s just one problem: To avoid spoilers, Disney purportedly decided to hold off on selling much of its officially licensed Baby Yoda merchandise until 2020…

Which has opened the door for rip-offs

Jungle Scout recently reported that the 47 most popular Baby Yoda products listed on Amazon were averaging 1,842 units sold per month, at $22.85 per sale — a total of nearly $2m.

A search of Amazon products reveals dozens of unofficial Baby Yoda items sold by 3rd-party sellers, including plush toys, iPhone cases, and T-shirts.

Using Jungle Scout’s product database tool, which estimates the revenue that products generate, it appears that some of these knockoffs have netted as much as $21k in revenue in the last 30 days:

This isn’t exclusively a problem with Amazon: Etsy is rife with hundreds of its own unofficial and largely handmade Baby Yoda products. Among the gems:

  • Crocheted Baby Yoda Amigurumi dolls
  • Baby Yoda etched wood magnets
  • Eco-friendly Baby Yoda tote bags
  • 3D-printed Baby Yoda planter boxes

Neither Amazon nor Etsy responded to a request for comment on the unlicensed Star Wars products sold on their platforms. Amazon has struggled to use its “Force” to moderate products and reviews posted by 3rd-party sellers, The Hustle has previously reported.

Remarkably, these black-market products might not be so ‘black’ after all.

According to World Trademark Review, “there are currently zero applications filed for BABY YODA by Disney or any third-parties.”

Disney, which currently lists 18 official Baby Yoda products for sale on its site, has been lax about protecting its Baby Yoda IP.

At least for nor now, Baby Yoda roams free in the Wild West that is online commerce.

Hat tip to our Trends reader Justin Kelsey for the story idea.

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