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UK Prices compared to US - is the difference normal?

Guess this is right thread for this, but I just noticed the new Mos Eisley release update, I see it and think, wow looks sweet.

Article shows the price as $350, so I guess maybe 270-280 in UK, quick check on Lego UK, £320?!?

Do we always get shafted in the UK on prices? is it a tax thing, as surely its cheaper to get the sets to us from Denmark, than it is for them to ship to USA?

Seems like they are really giving "it" to the UK public!

Comments

  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 431
    A few things:

    1) Taxes are definitely a factor. The US price is listed exclusive of taxes. Add anywhere from 5-10% onto the US price for state and local sales taxes to see what we really pay here. In my area it's 7.5%.

    2) Under normal, non-COVID situations, most sets sold in the US are made in factory in Mexico rather than in Europe. Most of the sets sold in the UK aren't probably made in Denmark either. Lego has several factories across Europe. There are also factories in China which produce for Asia and Australia. Of course, the distribution chain is not rigid, so sometimes sets made in China will be sold in Europe or North America and vice versa.

    3) Pricing will never match conversion rates exactly because those change constantly, and there are more factors involved than just currency. Labor and other fixed costs can vary quite a lot from one factory to the next, and that can affect the price Lego needs to set for different markets.
    Fizyxgmonkey76Astrobricks
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,916
    edited September 10
    When doing tax, it is best to work out the ex-VAT price to compare to the US one, as tax rates are different and not down to LEGO.

    So in this case, the UK price is £320/1.2 = £267 so the price fairly similar to the US one here.  There are far worse UK comparative prices on some sets, and similarly far worse US prices on some sets. Same idea with EU pricing.

    Fizyxgmonkey76andheAstrobricks
  • jason_nijason_ni UKMember Posts: 21
    Interesting both, good points all round.

    I always forget that in the US a lot of the time even in shops they don't add the tax until you are at the till, even for small things like a can or a bag of crisps!

    7.5% tax would be nice though!
  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 431
    jason_ni said:
    Interesting both, good points all round.

    I always forget that in the US a lot of the time even in shops they don't add the tax until you are at the till, even for small things like a can or a bag of crisps!

    7.5% tax would be nice though!
    It's extremely rare for a shop in the US to include the tax in their posted price. Vending machines do, of course. Some snack shops might, but not many. The only "common" scenario where it's done is stadiums and concert venues where they handle large volumes of cash transactions in a short time and don't want to deal with change. They'll set the total price, including tax, to an even $ so they're never handling coins. Even that's changing though since cashless is the norm. The NFL and Major League Soccer stadium in Atlanta has now gone fully cashless, and their posted prices are now exclusive of tax as of 2019. Hard to complain about the tax being added to a $5 beer or $1.50 hot dog at a stadium though!

    I really wish it weren't done that way, and that they showed the all-in price, but there are some problems to that because of the variation in taxes from one city to the next. Amazon would have a hard time explaining to people why the price was lower when you weren't logged in and they didn't know where you lived vs. when you were logged in. Or why it's cheaper if I ship it to my house vs. as a gift to someone else.
    gmonkey76
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,507
    edited September 10
    Good question.

    Tax differences are an obvious factor in a few cases, but they don't explain why some sets are priced pound for dollar, while others are significantly cheaper in the US vs. the UK and others are substantially more expensive in the US. 

    In fact, it turns out that I published a blog post almost exactly 10 years ago to the day complaining about precisely this observation, so this isn't new:

    http://gimmelego.blogspot.com/2010/09/fantasy-exchange-rates.html

    In summary, there didn't appear to be any obvious rhyme or reason for the pricing variability back in 2010, and I'm not sure there is now either, other than what LEGO believes the local markets will bear.
    gmonkey76andhe
  • BumblepantsBumblepants DFWMember Posts: 6,476
    As someone who shops on both sides of the pond I have noticed licenses like Star Wars and Superheros are usually way worse in Europe while lines like City and Creator tend to fare better.

    Take City Racing Cars #60256 for example. List price is $29.99 US and 17.99 UK. 
    gmonkey76
  • klintonklinton CanadaMember Posts: 1,182
    The differences make for some great deals on D2C sets here in Canada, but we pay through the nose for smaller sets. Of course, the abusive 15% tax we pay here in Québec on top of an extra 30-50% conversion increase negates any real savings in the the long run. Albertans are making out like bandits.
    gmonkey76andhe
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,507
    klinton said:
    The differences make for some great deals on D2C sets here in Canada, but we pay through the nose for smaller sets. Of course, the abusive 15% tax we pay here in Québec on top of an extra 30-50% conversion increase negates any real savings in the the long run. Albertans are making out like bandits.
    I'll take your abusive 15% tax and raise it to our 20% VAT rate!
    klintonThe_Rancor
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,916
    I think also some sets are priced high on purpose just to be discounted in the UK.

    Just about the entire Unikitty range was a higher number in GBP than USD. This one, for example, ...

    $20 but £30!

    For most of its retail life I am sure it was marked up at 50% off, and still didn't sell.
    560HeliportandheThe_Rancor
  • JudgeChuckJudgeChuck UKMember Posts: 1,228
    ^ I wonder why?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,916
    Psychology? Wow, 50% off, I'll get that!

    With the various Argos and others doing 3 for 2, my buy it point for most retail sets is probably about 30% off. I imagine some prices are set purposely high to account for that type of consumer behaviour.
    drdavewatford560Heliport
  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,738
    I think sometimes they just price sets to what they think people in each country will pay.
    560Heliportandhe
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