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Does the Quality Argument still justify some price points?

PocketmegoPocketmego Member Posts: 24
Yes, 3 coats of polish on the duck. Just 2 microns per brick...got it. Made of the same stuff as car bumpers, check.

Now, lets get down to brass taxes. I watched a reviewer today talk about the Rancor Pit and Jaba's Palace and he mentioned that if you add costs together its about $185 us for what really should be one much larger set.

Jaba's palace is hardly a Palace at one room with a little half area hanging off the side and the Rancor Pit is a wall-less frame with a gate.

No, this is not meant to be a "Lego is too expensive" thread. There are many sets (Mostly non-licensed) that are great value and well worth the cost in quality and production.

But, the question still stands. With Chinese factories and whatnot on the horizon etc...

Does the cost for quality claim still hold water?

Things like the Architecture Space Needle with like 62 pieces (and most of those Technic) for $20 bucks??? 62 piece Polybags with Mini-figures are only like 4-5 bucks. How is that justifiable? The Book?? Hardly 15 more dollars worth of Value.

Especially, when I bought Big Ben for $30 and am very pleased with it and the value.

The Lone Ranger Stage Coach is about $30 and is fantastic for that price. So it seems very inconsistent in determination.

Is the Quality argument truly still valid? Or would it be more honest just to accept that in some cases, your paying either too much, paying for Mini-Figures, Paying for a License, or Paying for the Lego Name?

Would you respect Lego more if they sometimes just said the above?

Where do you stand? Honestly?

Comments

  • bellybutton290bellybutton290 Member Posts: 453
    edited April 2013
    I don't mind paying a premium for lego (and we do pay a premium let's be honest), one look at it and you can tell the design and materials are (IMO) far better compared to other products out there. I look at my sons other toys and I just can't help but notice how much better the lego plastic is and seemingly how much more robust it is, with the exception of this China produced lego which I beilieve uses slightly different materials and is the basis of a lot of the hate towards that particular regions products. I think Jabba's palace is way overpriced but some of the pieces are quite large including the jabba "minifigure" and rancor and then you have the license. While I still think the prices are high at the moment I haven't reached my personal breaking point yet and for me the quality argument does still hold water along with great after sales service from customer services, however China production and what that means long term is something that concerns me and could be something that affects my opinon and buying habits. The main exception to my stance however is the Architecture sets they are a joke when it comes to price the Willis tower has long been something I want as I work for Willis but at 62 pieces for 20gbp or whatever it costs.makes no sence to me at all and that certainly is a breaking point, why are they so stupidly expensive?
  • jockosjunglejockosjungle Member Posts: 701
    Its a quality product no doubt, you've got to think that there is more to it than just the price of the bricks though. The Space needle is a fairly niche set, probably some licencing has to be paid and someone designed it.

    I think some sets are overpriced for what they are, the architecture sets and Jabba Palace being two examples.

    The reason I think this is is because in recent times we are seeing more deals on Lego, it never used to be cheap. I recall the first HP Hogwarts was pretty much £80.

    So Jabbas Palace was overpriced, but in the past I'd never have expected to see that set for half price in Tesco, or on a 3 for 2, or B1G1HP.

    The big retailers seem to want to sell products at a discount, do offers, and I feel that the price of certain sets does reflect that.

    In all honesty I compare the value of sets with other sets I wish to own and keep on top of prices. So the price disparity definitely works against Lego for me. I look at Jabbas Palace and think for £20 more I could get Tower Bridge or its not half a Death Star.

    I also work off the strategy that most sets will be half price at some point. to me Jabbas Palace was priced to be 50% off, in all honesty even at £60 in Tesco, I didn't get one.

    R
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    The larger architecture sets are a better deal than the smaller ones. The White House is rather nice.

    Keep in mind that there are bargains to be had, some of the Creator sets are deals, Tower Bridge is pretty amazing, the modulars are bargain priced.

    So LEGO has to make money somewhere, and clearly Jabba's Palace and Rancor Pit are two places they are doing that with. If everything was cheap, how would they make all their profit? :)

    I suspect that the cost of plastic bricks, while not cheap, is not the majority of the expense. People underestimate the cost of design, packaging, instruction manuals, shipping, etc.

    So why are polybags so much cheaper? You can get 100 polybags in a small shpping box easily, it takes a pallet to move 100 boxed architecture sets. Don't dismiss that difference. Plus the architecture sets have a better than average quality box, the manual is printed nicer, and yes, it is a niche product so it won't sell as fast.
    TheLoneTensormadforLEGO
  • beegeedeebeegeedee Galway, IrelandMember Posts: 380
    I imagine with the Jabba's Palace and more so Rancor Pit there is an additional cost of the custom molds for Jabba and the Rancor which would add to the cost as well as the additional licensing fee. With Jabba at least they can use him in the sail barge but I can't think of anywhere else the rancor appears. This would probably be why the Dino sets where a little more pricey too with those lovely dinosaur molds. They are probably cheaper than brick built but since they maybe count as 3-6 pieces instead of a huge number of bricks and the ABS in the actual model itself being the equivalent of loads of bricks it makes more sense.

    For the architecture sets, you have the lovely books fancy box, limited market, custom printed plate(s) and probably the cost of designing them too so for the smaller sets the price point would be higher than say a city set of equivalent part count with a cheap book, common parts and no custom printing as well as a standard cheap card box. For the smaller architecture sets you're almost cheaper parting out and bricklinking since it is small cheap parts as a rule and if you're like me the box goes in the bin (recycling) anyway.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,910
    Is the Quality argument truly still valid? Or would it be more honest just to accept that in some cases, your paying either too much, paying for Mini-Figures, Paying for a License, or Paying for the Lego Name?

    Would you respect Lego more if they sometimes just said the above?


    As a consumer, I simply assume the above.
    I also assume, there Are some sets that are marked higher, but with the knowledge that stores will be discounting them. At the same time, they hope some will buy them at the retail price,

    Jabba's palace and the rancor set really is one set, but split. I am assuming they split it because $185 was not a viable market point? I ended up with both for about $130, which is a much better price point. It is still a bit expensive, but I chalk it up to two large figs.

    Lego has also stated the Chinese factories are for product Sold in Asia. They need some factories/distribution there, if they want to ramp up sales there.

    LegoFanTexas also hits several point that are very valid.

    I think the only places I balk is when Lego seems to be purposely taking advantage of customers. Looking at the Winter Village line, they have raised costs every year. Is it because they are giving bigger/better sets, or is there an element of. "we have the consumer hooked, so now we can raise prices".
  • DaSmokeEaterDaSmokeEater Member Posts: 34
    Quality of the brand is important, and they do factor the percieved value into the sets (i.e. how much will the consumer be willing to spend, we'll start with that and go up from there).

    New or replacement for worn out molding must be built in. This also matters (although to some degree replacement budgeting is built into generic sets as part of the profit).

    HOWEVER: Many of these sets are licensed, and these licenses are NOT cheap. The brand name added increases sales, but the difference between a generic sets sales and the extra licensing cost vs. number of sets sold above and beyond that water mark have to be priced in. Even if a company owns both licenses, each division has financial marks to hit or they risk review and cancellation, so there isn't "trading" or "giving away" within the company either on a free level, although there is a lot of flexibility and politics in helping these sorts of things along.

    Bottom line for me, these end up in a large plastic bin with all the other sets within a week. Quality matters insofar as the kids aren't too frustrated building with them.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    beegeedee said:

    I imagine with the Jabba's Palace and more so Rancor Pit there is an additional cost of the custom molds for Jabba and the Rancor....

    I see this argument made all the time and I just don't buy it. Lego makes up custom molds for many of the CMF and those are $3. Jabba and the rancor are not exactly exquisite molds either. My son has gotten into Skylanders and those figures range from $10-15 depending on the size. I think those are kind of overpriced, but they are very finely crafted and also have microchips built into them so that can store game data. Jabba and the Rancor are basically Happy Meal toys as far as detailing goes.

    Face it. Lego knows that there are enough Star Wars collectors out there who are willing to pay a premium. They do offer a few affordable smaller sets, but for the most part the whole Star Wars Lego line is rather insanely overpriced.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,579
    mathew said:

    beegeedee said:

    I imagine with the Jabba's Palace and more so Rancor Pit there is an additional cost of the custom molds for Jabba and the Rancor....

    I see this argument made all the time and I just don't buy it. Lego makes up custom molds for many of the CMF and those are $3. Jabba and the rancor are not exactly exquisite molds either. My son has gotten into Skylanders and those figures range from $10-15 depending on the size. I think those are kind of overpriced, but they are very finely crafted and also have microchips built into them so that can store game data. Jabba and the Rancor are basically Happy Meal toys as far as detailing goes.

    Face it. Lego knows that there are enough Star Wars collectors out there who are willing to pay a premium. They do offer a few affordable smaller sets, but for the most part the whole Star Wars Lego line is rather insanely overpriced.
    Not all molds are created equal. Molds that can potentially be reused several times are a safer investment than new molds which might be used for a small number of high-priced sets. Also, there's more to mold quality than just detail. LEGO parts are generally kept fairly simple for stylistic reasons: when the parts get too complex, like a lot of BIONICLE parts, they lose some of that distinctive LEGO look. And furthermore, LEGO parts are molded with a LOT more precision than Happy Meal toys, regardless of their level of detail.

    With that said, yes, supply and demand does play a role. If a set is targeted at an audience that will tolerate higher prices, then it may be priced higher. And I don't think there's really anything wrong with that. Jabba's Palace and the Rancor Pit are both amazingly high-quality set designs, which do a fantastic job evoking the scenes they portray. So it's no surprise that people would pay a lot of money for these sets — the quality of the designs gives the sets value that exceeds the value of their individual parts.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    Aanchir said:

    And furthermore, LEGO parts are molded with a LOT more precision than Happy Meal toys, regardless of their level of detail.

    Of course I think the Lego mold is higher quality, but it's still made in China, right? From my understanding, if the figure or accessory is packaged in it's own plastic (non-crinkly) bag then it was made in China.

    Lego knows that the market is now minifig driven so that Jabba or Rancor is adding 20-30% of the total cost of the set.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    Lego makes up custom molds for many of the CMF and those are $3
    But many of the items can be re-colored and reused for other stuff so that cuts the cost. Little red's basket is a popular mold for lego friends, wings have been used 2X, the honeybee honey pot is the same mold as the leprechaun pot, i'm not postive but hasn't the mold for the baseball players hat been used at least 2X more, look at all the 1x2 and 2x2 printed tiles, monkey and banana's been used 2x, there is some sort of spear mold that's been used at least 3 times, etc.
  • PocketmegoPocketmego Member Posts: 24
    So far I am extremely impressed with this forum and the incredibly well thought out responses this has gotten. You guys officially ROCK!!!
  • PocketmegoPocketmego Member Posts: 24
    I will point out that the Rancor seems to have parts that can be removed, so new parts can be added to turn it into a different figure. Some other sort of Dinosaur or Monster. Also, to be fair, Hulk has only been used in one set and he did not seem to drive up the price nearly so high in that set.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,733
    davee123 said:

    Let's say you have a set of Rancor molds-- it takes 6 parts, maybe 3 molds, each costing ... whatever. $40K each let's say. And you're likely to only use that Rancor mold in 1 set ever. It's unlikely that they're going to do another one in the foreseeable future.

    davee123 said:

    So, all that cost gets put into a single set-- the Rancor Pit. How many copies are you going to sell? It's a big set, so you won't sell that many. You're likely to sell a whole boatload of $10 sets, but fewer $60 sets like the Rancor Pit. So your cost gets divided into fewer physical sets.

    Yep, these are the two main reasons why sets like Rancor Pit are so expensive relative to other sets. The price has to be set so that, at the quantity they expect to sell, it will amortize the cost of designing and producing the new molds that the rancor comprises. They are unlikely to use any of those molds ever again. The hand and fingers are the only two parts that could really be re-purposed.

    The same goes for Jabba's Palace. Salacious Crumb, Boushh's helmet, Jabba (three different parts), and the Gamorrean were all new molds. Granted, the costs for Jabba and the Gamorrean are being spread over two sets each, but Salacious and the helmet are unlikely to be used again.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    Ok so I buy your arguement to a degree. But what about the above mentioned Hulk figure or the cave troll from Mines of Moria? The Mines set was priced at the usual $80 mid-size set price. If you compare Mines to Jabba's Palace you will see that there is roughly a $40 premium being put on Jabba and an extra few minifigs. I know that many people will say that overall Jabba's Palace is a better set, but there is still a big premium being put on the Jabba figure itself. And if you compare the cave troll to Jabba, I don't see how it should cost that much more.
  • NoizetankNoizetank Member Posts: 48
    I personally am happy with the price points of most lego items, and as said before if i think the price is to much I will simply wait for a sale or other promotion.
    I used to collect Citadel miniatures which are stupidly expensive for what they are. With lego the prices are consistent for many years citadel miniatures go up by 10-20% each year without fail even on older sets. With lego you do pay a premium for the quality or licenses so it is to be expected. Look at megablocks the halo licence is still cheap because the product itself is cheaply made and I have never seen a set in the shops at full price they are always on sale usually 50% or more off. I dont mind paying extra as long as Lego keep producing good quality sets the minute that stops so will my spending. I would like to know how ever what the difference in price would be for say the Rancor pit if it wasnt Star Wars Licensed and just sold as 'big monster in cage' if that makes sense.
  • legoprodslegoprods SpainMember Posts: 432
    Does anyone know what discount they give to retailers like amazon and the such?
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,733
    legoprods said:

    Does anyone know what discount they give to retailers like amazon and the such?

    I've always assumed it's about 45% off RRP based on Amazon's lowest prices and other retailer's "clearance" prices, but that's just speculation. And of course I'm sure it varies from retailer to retailer.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    legoprods said:

    Does anyone know what discount they give to retailers like amazon and the such?

    Yes, their standard across the board discount is 30%, with a few sets at 38% off (Creator, Technic, and Duplo mostly).

    However, there are ways around that to give them larger discounts, co-op advertising funds, volume quarterly rebates, etc.

    I expect that Amazon, Toys R Us, and Walmart are paying closer to 50% of MSRP after all is said and done, which is a pretty standard retail markup.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,245
    I am actually a huge supporter of the Jabba's Palace set. The model and Minifigures are incredible in my opinion and I think the price is almost justifiable (that we pay in the UK at least) given the many large parts included and the six (by my count) brand new moulds which had to be made for this set.
  • y2joshy2josh Member Posts: 2,002

    I am actually a huge supporter of the Jabba's Palace set. The model and Minifigures are incredible in my opinion and I think the price is almost justifiable (that we pay in the UK at least) given the many large parts included and the six (by my count) brand new moulds which had to be made for this set.

    Not that I necessarily think the original RRP is justified, but this is certainly something to consider. The 'movie' version of Jabba doesn't really fit into any set except for this and the Khetanna (and the pod race, if you REALLY want to stretch), and then the Boushh helmet and Salacious Crumb are really ONLY useful to this set (and, more than likely, Oola's headpiece as well). So you have several specialized pieces in this set with no real way to defray the costs across multiple sets.

    That said, I still think the price is a bit too high, but I do feel a $100 price point would have been completely justifiable (and a ton of people buy it at full price, so maybe they were right on the money anyway).
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,733
    y2josh said:

    The 'movie' version of Jabba doesn't really fit into any set except for this and the Khetanna (and the pod race, if you REALLY want to stretch), and then the Boushh helmet and Salacious Crumb are really ONLY useful to this set (and, more than likely, Oola's headpiece as well).

    Oola's headpiece was actually used once before, in #8098.

    As for Jabba, don't forget the scene from the "updated" version of ANH, where he confronts Han in the docking bay. That scene is, unfortunately, legit source material for LEGO.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,245
    ^ I was thinking of the Boushh helmet, Salacious Crumb, the two halves of Jabba, the Gamorrean Guard head/sandwich board component and Bib Fortuna's head piece (although that has appeared before, it is so long ago that I imagine they commissioned a brand new mould for it.)
    madforLEGO
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,579
    Something else that should not be forgotten is that large, specialized molds are not the only things adding to the price of a set. Pre-assembled parts, printing… really, anything that adds complexity to the molding process makes those parts more expensive since they require more steps in the production process, which demands more factory floor space.

    Pre-assembly is generally required for a lot of large parts that are intended to look solid, since in order to cool properly, ABS parts generally need their walls to be under a certain thickness. The LEGO horse is a good example of a pre-assembled part (the left and right sides are separate pieces). So is the classic LEGO dragon body. Bulky parts that are not pre-assembled, like the Wampa's arms, often need hollow openings on one side to keep the walls thin.

    Now, I don't have Jabba's Palace, so I don't know for certain whether Jabba's tail or head is pre-assembled from multiple molded sections (I'd assume his head is, because this is generally necessary for Technic pin holes that do not go all the way through a part), but the Rancor's body definitely is. Coupled with the painting and printing that these parts demand, the parts end up being a lot more expensive than, say, a minifigure accessory.

    Complex molds are also more expensive than the average mold, "complex" here not referring to level of detail but again to the production process. Some parts can be molded in a simple two-piece mold, but others require "sliders": additional mold sections which slide into the two piece section to allow for detail to be "pressed" into the part on more than just two sides. With some parts, even large, detailed parts like many in the BIONICLE and Hero Factory themes, engineers come up with quite ingenious ways to avoid the need for sliders — however, with other parts, the need for sliders is unavoidable. The Rancor's head/body molds may very well be among these parts.

    I have no idea how much impact any of these factors had on the cost of the final Jabba's Palace and Rancor Pit sets, but I think it goes without saying that painted/printed, specialized large figure parts like these are among the most expensive parts TLG creates. The same probably applies for a lot of Duplo figures... they are, after all, pre-assembled from a number of molds (some of which require sliders) and printed on several surfaces. The difference is that Duplo figure molds are frequently reused, spreading those high costs out. Large-scale System figures, not so much.
    madforLEGOPoochyy2josh
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO USMember Posts: 8,904
    Pretty much what people have said above..
    Plus, ultimately if you do not like the price, do not buy it...
    The only way a company realizes that people do not like the prices is seeing a drop in sales IMO.
    Sure, you can complain on this board (which makes no sense as this is not run by LEGO) and send email to their CS but ultimately if you do not like the price then you as the consumer should not buy.
    LEGO has not learned this simply because people keep buying SW line (especially at retail and TRUs..ahem.. 'retail' prices), even though it appears they increasing the average cost of a SW set each year, people keep buying them.

    Is Jabba's Palace overpriced? Even with the new molds I'm guessing yes, but then again how many times has it been on sale at under 100 bucks? Same with Rancor Pit, how many times has it appeared for 40 bucks? Even after this whole panic buying business JPs are back in stocks at store and Amazon is once again selling them for under 100 bucks (though the price fluctuates now)

    I would also say that the Lone ranger line uses a lot of existing parts already in their inventory and I'm guessing the licensing did not cost a whole lot for something that was last popular about 50-60 years ago.
    So Id imagine they will be cheap and on clearance as well (maybe not the trin though)
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,357
    It wouldn't surprise me at all if it is overpriced on purpose. There will be plenty of people that will buy it at retail price and then some sales/discounts will be for the more price conscious people. Chances are, the sale price is what is the pre-shanigans price so Lego will get extra money from the 'gotta have it now' crowd and then everyone else will buy at a price point where they aren't "losing" any money.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    edited April 2013
    ^ Exactly. We know Lego is a highly profitable company so the idea that they are somehow spending a bunch of money on a plastic mold is rather silly. I'm not saying that it's not a well thought out process, but don't kid yourself into thinking that a Jabba figure costs Lego anymore than a buck fifty to manufacture.

    Just as a point of reference: A couple of years ago, Lego released a series of toy cars in Happy Meals. My son has one of them. They have printing and a couple of interlocking parts that are fully useable with all other system bricks.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,733
    mathew said:

    We know Lego is a highly profitable company so the idea that they are somehow spending a bunch of money on a plastic mold is rather silly. I'm not saying that it's not a well thought out process, but don't kid yourself into thinking that a Jabba figure costs Lego anymore than a buck fifty to manufacture.

    So how much do you think a single mold costs LEGO? I know that molds used for hobby boardgames, for small figures with low tolerance, cost $10,000 to $15,000 each for mass production. Considering LEGO's high tolerances and standards for quality, it's very likely the molds used for their parts cost significantly more.

    Or are you suggesting the cost is irrelevant because LEGO is a highly profitable company? If so, that's not how a business looking to make a profit works.
  • PocketmegoPocketmego Member Posts: 24
    @ MadforLego, this was never meant to be a complaint thread. So far it has not been. It is meant for honest opinions on the matter, and so far there have been many. But, no one would think that "complaining" on this forum would be heard by Lego. And I never started this as a complaint. I don't own Jaba's Palace and wouldn't, because I largely because I don't like Star Wars. And like I said, many sets are well valued and well worth the price.

    I am, frankly, quite impressed with the honest and solid responses I have seen so far.
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