It seems appropriate to begin writing about one driving force behind the rise and fall of paintball gun prices. Dozens of times each day, our staff will field questions related to the value of a used paintball gun. This value is highly connected with the Product Life Cycle of a given paintball gun model.
What is the Product Life Cycle? Just like people, products also have a life span (birth, growth, old age, death). A long product life span will result in high resale values for used paintball guns.
Five Stages of Product Life Cycle for Paintball Guns:
- New Product Introduction. The manufacturer makes a press release on Pbnation, email blast, website, PSP or NPPL event, paintball extravaganza, etc.
- Product Penetration / Growth. The product begins to hit the shelves of the 1000+ paintball fields in the United States. Product is limited as everyone is rushing to get in orders for their loyal customers. Eventually shelves fill up, so new colors or “modifications” are introduced to prop up the sales of a given marker.
- Product Maturity. The hype is gone. New guns are readily available on dozens of websites and stores.
- Product Death. No new guns are being produced. Manufacturer is discounting left over inventory to make room for a new model.
- The Afterlife. When new guns are no longer available for purchase from the manufacturer, you can only buy used guns. This is a scary but predictable place to live if you are a paintball gun.
So how do these stages interact with the value of a used paintball gun of the same model? Stages 1 through 4 impact the value of a used gun different from stage 5.
Stage 1 – Stage 4: Impact on Used Gun Prices
- Stage 1 – The introduction phase of a new marker is the only time your used gun will be worth what you paid for it. If the time period between stage 1 and stage 2 is long, anyone lucky enough to get their hands on a new product will be in the drivers seat when selling or trading their new gun. Rarely do you ever see a used gun for sale during “stage 1”.
- Stage 2 – This is the most exciting time to deal in a used gun. If the supply of used guns are low during this stage, the manufacturer was successful in launching a innovative new product that will have a good life cycle and a high resale value. If the supply of used guns are high during this stage, the product failed to meet player expectations and will have a low resale value and a short life cycle. Resale values of successful products will run about 20% below that of retail price. Resale values of failed products will run about 40% below that of retail price.
- Stage 3 – At this point many used guns are available for resale. This generally has nothing to do with how successful this new product was in the market place. At this point in the life cycle, players get bored and want to shoot a new gun. Normally they want to shoot a gun made by a different manufacturer so they trade for a new make and model. Used gun prices are normally 25-45% below retail price at this stage.
- Stage 4 – When the retail price of a new gun drops …… the used gun will also drop! If the Retail price of a gun during stage 3 was $1,250, a used gun would sell for around $900. If retail then drops to $1095, that same used gun would sell for around $800.
- Once a gun model is no longer in production the gun starts a free fall aging process. You can expect it’s value to drop 20-30% per year. Eventually (after 4-5 years) the gun will hit a bottom that is typically 20% of it’s original retail value. When a gun is 5+ years old it may be sold for parts or in some rare cases GAIN in value for certain collectors (this is very rare but can happen).
The resale value of a used gun follows the product life cycle as described above in stages 1 through 5. This is proven and backed by years of data. There are exceptions (like aftermarket upgrades, companies going out of business, etc) but in general this is accurate for paintball guns.
The big question is: HOW LONG WILL EACH STAGE LAST?
That’s a good place to stop for now. Next week we’ll be heading to Galveston, Texas for the PSP event. I’ll follow up soon with some answers to that question!
If you want to know how much your gun is worth please fill out our request form on our website:
President, Trademygun Inc.