For the USA local hobby shop (and Railroad and Radio Control shop), then yes, it is an Endangered Species almost Extinct, not to contradict or counter you,18Bravo. But that doesn’t mean that USA comic book stores, wargaming stories, some Gundam kit shops, Anime stores, gaming board stores, coin stores, LEGO stores, art stores, magic shops, stamp stores, and toy stores aren’t thriving—they are.
Check this out:
So, yup, people and kids still buy toys and it still is a “big business.” Success all depends on the hobby, promotions, and marketing. So the hobby in many categories does survive in the USA in other areas (and one can make oodles of money), just that general model kit hobbies seem to be tanking for a vast variety of reasons in the USA. (I’ve posted on this topic before about the local hobby shops in this area, and the reasons for their demise, so I won’t bore you here).
The Japanese are famously known for endorsing and buying trinkets, hobbies, and cute items, and nothing IMO, beats the Japanese hobby shop, but the Japanese don’t buy and market American or European kits (when I visited there) as they mostly cater to selling Japanese brand model and figure kits.
Can a USA hobby shop survive and thrive by not being online? Sure, Google “Michigan Toy Soldier” and look at the interior store photos of that huge place. I know that Michigan Toy Soldier (MTS) got a lot of customer flak from its past with shady business dealings by some former store employees and owners, but that is a huge store that thrives and remains—and it mostly caters to figures—it isn’t a general hobby shop per se. It’s essentially a store with several large rooms stocked full of stuff. Do the 360-degree view inside and walk through the store a little. MTS is an example of a store that “gets it right” for the figure modeler, and while they might not have EVERYTHING stocked in the figure market (such as Asian and European resin kits), they do carry enough to be a store that can get a figure modeler up and running from scratch. (I’m not affiliated with Michigan Toy Soldier or promoting them; I’m just using them as a large USA hobby store example).
MTS Video walk-through:
MTS YouTube videos:
Also check out the IPMS 2021 Las Vegas Model Kit Contest via Andy’s Hobby Headquarters, a runtime of 36 minutes, and you will see that the model kit hobby is alive and well in the USA even if the local USA hobby shop isn’t.