About 20 years ago, the hobby was strong where I am. There was a nearby LCS (even another one but it was an hour drive but still within reach), cards in grocery stores, gas stations, craft stores, EVERYWHERE! I could walk down the street and trade with other collectors and when I held a yard sale, I could sell my cards to others and discuss the hobby at the same time. There would also be a card show every other weekend where collectors from near and far would gather together and have a good-ole time hanging out together. Fast-forward to now, both LCS' went out-of-business, grocery stores, gas stations, craft stores and others no longer carry sports cards. Other collectors nearby are rarer than pulling a 1/1 and selling my cards at a yard sale where I used to be able to sell 25 cards for $1 I can't sell in a diaper size boxed packed for the same price (most I give away to unsuspecting kids who I hope get into collecting). As for card shows, it's been about the 20 years since one has been local. When it comes to collecting where I live, it's tough.
The hobby where I live I can definitely say is on the decline and seems to be heading even further that way after seeing the card rack at the only other place besides online that I can buy cards from,Walmart. They narrowed what used to be a huge card section down to 6 different blaster boxes and about 8 different rack/jumbo pack options. It truly makes me sad to see this for a couple reasons as I won't be able to buy when I have a chance and that also means others won't either who may be trying to get into the hobby or continue on. It seems they are driving the hobby out of the store and trying to get rid of one more spot in my area.
With the above stated, this is why I started blogging and expanding how I collect by using social media. I want to be able to reach other collectors and discuss the hobby. I am glad to have found many outlets to discuss such as Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and forums. As for my purchases, I do them online or do take the occasional whatever Walmart offers approach. I can't fix not having a card show and for the most part I don't sell my cards except my doubles so if they don't sell at my yard sale, you guys and unsuspecting kids will get some freebies. Trading, I don't do much of as in the past I lost out BIG TIME on some moves (not to mention I am a card hoarder) but I do trade with a couple of REALLY TRUSTWORTHY individuals online and that's enough for me. What I am trying to say is, despite the decline in the hobby around me, I have put a positive twist on this and have found there are many other outlets to try and keep it going for myself and recommend if you are in the same boat, to try these as well. I know from experience it has worked for me.
Also after reading this, you may ask me, why do I think the hobby has declined so much around me (possibly you as well) and my simple answer would be, hard to tell. Probably the same reason it has overall, we live in a technological age where there are ton of flashy things to get into. For example, when I think flashy things I think a sweet refractor card, but most now-a-days are thinking a PS4, a new iPhone, Xbox, iPad, or some other device. Like I said, a much different time.
So to answer my overall question in the title of this post I would say yes, I think the hobby has declined but I don't think it's leaving anytime soon. There are still a lot of us long-time collectors and I see a few newbies join everyday. However, if this dying off trend keeps happening to others like it did to me in the next 20 years,ask me this question again then and my answer may be different.