Hobbies Are Making a Comeback

“About 6 in 10 Americans took on a new hobby over the past year.”

Lendingtree, Matt Schulz

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Early in my career, I worked for Western Publishing Company, which at that time published the bibles of the coin collecting world, The Red Book and The Blue Book. I was on a plane traveling to an appointment when my seatmate noticed that I had The Red Book catalog sheet open on my lap. He became very excited because he was on his way to a coin collecting convention. So was pretty much everyone else on the plane.

He shouted: “Hey everybody, I’m sitting next to The Red Book guy.” This created a lot of excitement, and so many people rushed over to meet me that it briefly went through my mind that the plane could tip over. It didn’t.

That was a long time ago, and hobbies like coin and stamp collecting seem like things in which your grandparents engaged. That appears to be changing. Collecting as a hobby is back.

According to what I am reading, the Coronavirus that forced us inside also gave us more leisure time. There are, according to experts, two kinds of leisure: “Casual Leisure” (watching Netflix) and Productive Leisure (engaging in a hobby).

Research shows that leisure activities, including hobbies, are linked to better physical and mental well-being.

How Hobbies Infiltrated American Life,” Julie Beck, The Atlantic

Frankly, most of the people I know are engaged in casual leisure. Yet, there are plenty of people spending their time collecting baseball cards (Fanatics just purchased Topps), baking bread (yeast is still hard to find), doing puzzles, and crafting.

During the Great Depression, when huge swaths of the population were out of work, hobbies were the answer to the question of what to do when there was nothing to do—“a job you can’t lose,” as one 1933 magazine article put it.

How Hobbies Infiltrated American Life,” Julie Beck, The Atlantic

When you study it, The formula appears to be free time + social media + unemployment insurance = diving into a hobby. That is good for the toy industry. Children love to collect and it’s a great time to feed their passion. It can be toy cars, dolls, plush animals, and yes, coins and stamps.

However, what is critical is that we present our products not just as something for a child to do alone but something to do with a parent who will share the hobby with them. Now, I am going to look through my loose change and see if I can find a really old penny.

One thought

  1. More accurately, your article states that collecting is back. That’s pretty passive and I don’t think it ever went away. Think of all the collectors who have been out there forever. Beanie Babies, Barbie, Shopkins, Baseball cards, Hot Wheels, Star Wars, Marvel, ComiCon, LotR, etc. IMO “hobbies” are activities for hand & mind. Mine include ham radio, electronics, coding, running, cycling, repairing cars, robotics, model airplanes, etc.

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