The hobby itself is doing great, the industry is kind of in the crapper. The rise in access to machine shops means everyone who has ever wanted to make a yoyo is now currently making a yoyo or about to make a yoyo. I wouldn’t necessarily call these “companies” since most of them aren’t much more than hobbyist level, but supply has well outstripped demand and since most of them are selling most or all of their stock direct, it has caused a tremendous imbalance. They are large enough to make a couple small runs of yoyos here and there and sell them direct, but not large enough to sponsor contests at a high enough level to offset the lack of money coming in from the larger companies whose sales they’ve bit into.
Great time to be a player, possibly the best since 1995 when I started throwing. Possibly the worst time to be a retailer since 2000, when everything crashed hard. Not as bad as then, but definitely a really challenging time. And a really difficult time for contest organizers, who have plenty of players who want a high-quality experience but fewer sponsors who are willing/able to pay for it.
The punk rock kid in me is hella stoked. The guy trying to feed his kids and run CLYW is not. It’s a weird time.
But to address the other comments, this is not a boom. Booms are short-term gain and in my past experience have done more harm than good. Slow, steady growth is what we want…booms bring in the carpetbaggers and quality drops tremendously, and all it takes is one wrong step during a boom to annihilate an entire company (see: Playmaxx).
What we need right now is for all these tiny companies to work towards creating new players, instead of just capitalizing on a market that someone else created for them. Anyone can make yoyos, what we need are companies to make players.