Top Ten Products of 2018

Top Ten Products of 2018

Everyone loves lists, right? I'm pretty sure there are entire websites (cough cough Buzzfeed cough cough) built on that concept. Well, we love lists too, and so it's time to go over our Top Ten Products of 2018!

Like every year, the list is devised using margin (profit) dollars, so the list isn't all car parts, glue, and paint — and while the words accompanying the products are opinion, how they placed isn't something we change for editorial purposes or bias, so let’s dive into our top money-makers this year and see what our customers have been demanding throughout the year.

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2018: A Look Back at an Interesting Year

2018: A Look Back at an Interesting Year

At the beginning of a new year, I like to look ahead at all the stories I think could be the ones to watch for the hobby industry. It’s a way to focus on the big picture and not let the small, day-to-day stuff obscure the more important long-term issues. Last January, I took a look at four stories I was interested in following for 2018, and now it’s time to look back at that article and see how the year progressed on each subject, and identify other stories that I missed.

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A Critical Look: Not With a Bang, But A Whimper

A Critical Look: Not With a Bang, But A Whimper

Back in the distant past of the mid-2000s, our R/C aircraft department was the money-maker. It more than doubled the R/C car department, and was, by far, the department we counted on to allow us to stay in business. Over the last few years, however, R/C cars have been steadily gaining on R/C aircraft, swapping dominance between 2013 and 2014. Since then, R/C aircraft have been falling behind at faster and faster rates in a process that doesn’t seem to have an end point.

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A Critical Look: More Industry Turbulence as Horizon Drops Traxxas

A Critical Look: More Industry Turbulence as Horizon Drops Traxxas

This past Friday, Horizon Hobby informed retailers they will no longer be offering Traxxas products, starting the beginning of 2019. Was this Traxxas improving their profit margins by cutting off their last major distribution partner, or was this Horizon ratcheting up the tension between the two companies, between whom there appears to be little love lost?

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A Critical Look: Tariffs Exacerbate A Slowing Industry

A Critical Look: Tariffs Exacerbate A Slowing Industry

When the White House announced it would go around the World Trade Organization and levy tariffs on other countries, it was only a matter of time before the hobby industry was caught in the crossfire. With the Chinese “trade war” ongoing with no end in sight, those tariffs have finally caught up with us, affecting radio systems and related equipment.

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A Critical Look: Toledo Show Comeback

A Critical Look: Toledo Show Comeback

When we took our annual bus trip down to the Toledo Weak Signals Expo this year, I was pretty critical of the show overall, and said I would detail my thoughts on how the show's organizers could best revamp the experience and return the show to its days of former glory. What follows are those thoughts.

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A Critical Look: Yet Another Toledo Show

A Critical Look: Yet Another Toledo Show

With last year's disappointing trip attendance, Roger and I felt we needed to be transparent about how many people we required to make the trip break even this year. We usually price the trip with an attendance of thirty people in mind; any more than that, the trip turns a profit. Less, and we can't afford the bus rental. With that in mind, we alerted potential attendees we needed thirty people to green light the trip, fully expecting a marked uptick in registrations.

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A Critical Look: Horizon Bought Hobbico... Now What?

A Critical Look: Horizon Bought Hobbico... Now What?

It's official: Horizon Hobby placed the winning — and as far as I can tell, only — bid for Hobbico's radio control assets, including Axial, ARRMA, Dromida, Top Flite, Great Planes, Carl Goldberg, and more. The hobby world has been in a state of flux since the announcement Hobbico was entering bankruptcy, and this new development doesn't make things any clearer. Let's break down what we know, what we don't, and what we hope to see going forward.

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A Critical Look: How Horizon Could Take on Traxxas (And Win)

A Critical Look: How Horizon Could Take on Traxxas (And Win)

In the battle for shelf space in hobby shops around the country, Traxxas seems to be the clear victor. It’s main competitors, ARRMA and ECX, owned by Hobbico and Horizon respectively, have a long way to go to catch up. However, I think Horizon Hobby has a dark horse capable of not only catching up to Traxxas, but surpassing them in popularity among hobby shops, and perhaps even consumers. That contender is Losi, and here’s how I would restructure Losi to take on Traxxas.

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