Whenever you buy something with your favorite character on it, you are contributing to an industry that is turning in to an absolute monster in the economy.
In the third annual Licensing Industry Merchandiser's Association's Licensing Industry Market Sizing Study, it was reported that sales of licensed goods in 2016 rose 4.4 percent to $262.9 billion from 2015's $251.7 billion. Entertainment and character licensing was the top performer with sales having risen 4.5 percent from 2015 to $118.3 billion.
"One of the drivers of this growth is movie tie-ins," Marty Brochstein, senior vp industry relations and information at LIMA told Variety. "In 2015, Star Wars was really a fourth-quarter phenomenon, while last year it had a full year while bridging The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Beyond Star Wars, there were also obvious merchandise drivers like Finding Dory, Captain America: Civil War and Batman v Superman [Dawn of Justice]."
While these numbers are impressive, it's important to keep in mind that is the total sales. Of the $262.9 billion, it is estimated that $14.1 billion was paid out in royalties to the property owners. It is estimated that a royalty of 8.2 percent is paid on average per item.
So the next time you pickup a Funko Pop figure, or a t-shirt with your favorite character on it, stop for a moment and think about the absolutely massive industry you are a part of. It's not just a way to show your loyalty to a movie or character, but its a way to help keep a lot of people going so they can create the next great property.