Originally Posted by Lohman446
Which creates a cycle. Without new players the "economics of scale" that have allowed paint prices to come down will, over time, adjust. Without affordable paint and / or unlimited (or nearly unlimited) paint sponsorship the volume of paint will come down. IF (and thats capitalized for a reason) the reason for new players falling off the cliff was volume of paint this will reverse. Of course new players will increase the volume again and we might start all over.
If it were that simple and devoid of other factors, then we would have seen paint prices jump over the past 5 years or so. Instead, they're remaining at historically low levels. Back when I started working in the industry, we saw paint prices nearly double what we see them today in the retail setting. Cases ran anywhere from $60-$80/case in retail markets. Now I can walk on the field locally and pay $40/case or less for some pretty decent stuff.
What's more, we continue to see equipment prices decline. I remember selling 48/3000 steel HPA tanks for $100 or more when the first hit the market. Now you can walk into any Dick's or Walmart and pick one up for $60. If you wanted to go electropneumatic in the early 2000's, you were paying over $600 guaranteed, and that was for the various shocker and impulse clones. Now you can purchase a fully electropneumatic marker for under $150 BNIB.
I honestly think the only things that haven't come down in price are masks and clothing.
That said, I think the economy is still tied in a very large way to the downward trend we saw (I don't think we're still seeing it as of right now) in participation. It's easy to point to 2008 as the start of economic woes, but in reality, it started earlier than that. In fact, it started in 2005
when home-for-sale inventory started to climb drastically in comparison to people in the market to buy. The reason for homes going on the market is that people weren't able to pay their mortgages and decided to try to sell their homes to prevent foreclosure. That means that money was tight even back then, and when money is tight and your house and credit are on the line, you cut back on the extra things in life. Paintball is one of those things.
In fact, if you look at the data for retail sales, you see a large drop in late 2005 followed by the holiday sales increase and an immediate downward trend starting in 2006 which really hit hard in 2008 when the financial market fallout from the foreclosures which started in '05/'06 hit the CDO market.
As I said in an earlier post, we've climbed out of that pit quite a bit and are actually seeing a resurgence in paintball equipment production and diversification which we haven't seen since the SP lawsuit-spree started several years ago. What's more, the plethora of really good used equipment out there means that a lot of guys aren't being taken into account as "new players" by the industry bean-counters.
I just think it's stupid to say "paint hosers are what kill this sport and keep new people from playing" based on anecdotal evidence rather than take a really good empiricalistic view of all the contributing factors.