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Great article on Lego prices...

http://therealityprose.wordpress.com/2013/01/17/what_happened_with_lego/

full analysis - no Lego hasn't gotten more expensive recently..
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Comments

  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    Great article. Although I was already very aware that Lego has continually become cheaper when considering inflation, it was a very interesting and detailed article. I appreciate all of the different aspects and perceptions of Lego sets that the author discussed to support the fact that Lego has actually gotten cheaper over the years.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Two issues that strike me. Firstly, as above, inflation and relative to other toys/games etc it may 'feel' more expensive as those have devalued even more?

    Secondly, would be interesting to do the same analysis on UK/European RRPs as I suspect some of the reduction in pricing may be specific to the US. ie its not so much LEGO is getting cheaper over time, rather LEGO is getting cheaper in the US, perhaps from being relatively expensive compared to the rest of the world to unquestionably cheap.

    It seems much harder to get early non US RRPs so its hard to tell but its a feeling I have.
    figura
  • mrtonytjmrtonytj Guest Posts: 214
    That is very interesting. I always knew lego was around the same ppb today as it was 20 years ago its just that nowadays we have near 6000 piece sets!
  • chrisdojochrisdojo Member Posts: 168
    edited January 2013
    I still miss base plates coming with some sets... though MOCing is better than a formed hill or BURP. :D

    As far as piece count goes with a set these days, LEGO is using more MOC style building in a lot of cases, so a couple dozen 1x1 plates here and there really does inflate the piece count in some sets.
  • YodaliciousYodalicious DagobahMember Posts: 1,366
    ^True, but it also does really enhance the build (even if it can be monotonous at times putting 1x1's everywhere). I've been recently alternating between current sets and sets from the early 90s and while those older sets are fun and bring back a lot of memories, the builds just don't compare to today. Not entirely a bad thing, but just simpler methods, etc.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    chrisdojo said:

    As far as piece count goes with a set these days, LEGO is using more MOC style building in a lot of cases, so a couple dozen 1x1 plates here and there really does inflate the piece count in some sets.

    This is addressed near the end of the article with a graph that shows average cost per gram over the years. The current cost is about 0.075 (units aren't indicated, but I assume it's cents), whereas the high point was about 0.15 in what looks to be 1988.

    However, I don't believe this is very accurate, because the source data is the weight listed here at Brickset. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that weight comprises the entire product, including the box, instructions, etc. Modern sets have significantly larger instructions, which skews the cost per gram in their favor. To do this accurately, one would need to use the weights of individual pieces in combination with set inventories.
  • NeilJamNeilJam USAMember Posts: 271
    Sets in the 80s also had more packaging. Some would have plastic trays to highlight individual pieces in the set which you would see after lifting the front box flap. I don't know how much weight this added compared to today's larger instructions. Of course, as you said binaryeye , this would need to calculated with the weight of just the parts for a set to be accurate.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    edited January 2013
    Lego sets today are much more brick heavy. It seems with older sets the designers made the bricks go further, but with less detail. For better or worse, many Lego models today closely resemble molded plastic ones. For example, from a distance the UCS Imperial Shuttle doesn't really look like Lego. It requires a lot of brick to achieve this kind of detail and your average consumer doesn't always see the value in it.

    Another thing: It's funny how a lot of people think sets used to come without directions. I try to educate them that Lego sets have almost always had directions. It's just that older sets emphasized creativity a bit more with the alternate builds shown on the back of the boxes. I will say that there was a lot less hand holding in the older sets. You might have twenty pieces on one page whereas many sets today will utilize only a couple of pieces per page of instruction.
  • sramsram Member Posts: 60
    I maybe alone in my opinion, but for what it is worth...

    Price of the raw material, in this case plastic, is very very low. Comparing the cost of sets over the years using price per piece is just one data point, and not one with much basis to it. How about comparing the price of the plastic contained in each set? I betcha there is more automation in manufacturing today reducing the cost even further.

    Real cost of a set must be having variables like the salaries of designers, marketing, the packaging and oh dont forget "management". These too would not make a plastic moulded set of bricks sell for hundreds of dollars.

    I wonder if we can compare Lego pricing with those of smart phones? There are a lot more complicated stuff going into a smartphone!

    Like a can of coke whose real cost is in the pennies, but sells for a price closer to a dollar -- we the customers are what determine the cost of a Lego set. The brand name and quality we *perceive* is reflected in the sticker price.

    Trying to justify that it is expensive because it is difficult to maintain clutch power with bricks made eons ago is another argument that I dont buy. There are people manufacturing minifig accessories from their garage with perfectly acceptable quality.

    Sometime it is easier to go with popular opinion... :-(
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    The decrease in the weight of the boxes / packaging shouldn't be ignored. I happened to be carrying a boxed copy of #6195 Neptune Discovery Lab yesterday. My god the box is heavy. The Cardboard is significantly thicker than new boxes, because of the window flap the top is actually two layers not one, and there's a fairly sturdy cardboard inner tray.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    edited January 2013
    @mathew They made the bricks go further because they had less bricks to work with at a given price-point. You make the argument, which if I am understanding you correctly is a criticism, that today's sets are brick-heavy in relation to past sets. Your example with the UCS set is disingenuous because that kind of product wasn't really made in the past. Let's compare analogous products instead. I'll use a fire station, since I've use it before and it fits. In 1981 that would be #6382, in 1990 you'd get #6389, and in 2010 you'd get #7208. The set sizes have grown from 390 to 533 to 662 pieces. Obviously you can make a decent fire station out of 390 bricks, but do you really think that the 2010 set is brick-heavy? Would removing bricks from the 2010 set make it better? Do you think the other stations are better designs? One thing is certain, the 2010 set is cheapest by piece.

    @sram Yes, you're right about the customers determining the price of LEGO products. However, you seem to be mixing up ideas a bit. Like price and cost. First of all, generally speaking products are priced to market and are not priced to cost. This means that companies will not set the price of a product based on how much it cost to make it, but rather will price it at a level that the market will bear. This does not mean, however, that you can ignore production costs. LEGO bricks are expensive to make. If the market would not support prices that would cover the cost of making LEGO bricks along with a bit of profit, then LEGO bricks as we know them would no longer be made.

    You speak about comparing real costs. You mention real costs include overhead. Then you mention that the real cost of a can of soda is pennies. Well that's clearly not true. It think you mean the real cost of the liquid ignoring other costs. Also you compare the costs to retail prices. I'm sure you realize that when you buy a can of cola in a store for a dollar, the manufacturer does not get a dollar.

    And you express doubt that good clutch power is expensive to manufacture. I'd recommend you ask an engineer what happens to cost when you increase the level of precision in making a part by an order of magnitude. Or how much of an effect a tight tolerance has on manufacturing costs. The difference between using 0.1 mm screws in your project versus using 0.100 mm screws in your project might amaze you.

    @cheshirecat Yeah, I'm actually curious how the data would stack up in this regard. Although it would be hard to get direct measurements of weight, it might be possible to do some indirect calculations that shed some light on this.
    y2joshnkx1BumblepantsJosephLegoFanTexasOldfan
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098

    @mathew They made the bricks go further because they had less bricks to work with at a given price-point. You make the argument, which if I am understanding you correctly is a criticism, that today's sets are brick-heavy in relation to past sets. Your example with the UCS set is disingenuous because that kind of product wasn't really made in the past. Let's compare analogous products instead. I'll use a fire station, since I've use it before and it fits. In 1981 that would be #6382, in 1990 you'd get #6389, and in 2010 you'd get #7208. The set sizes have grown from 390 to 533 to 662 pieces. Obviously you can make a decent fire station out of 390 bricks, but do you really think that the 2010 set is brick-heavy? Would removing bricks from the 2010 set make it better? Do you think the other stations are better designs? One thing is certain, the 2010 set is cheapest by piece.

    I'm not making a criticism of today's sets. Just a comparison. I think Lego has evolved quite well in the past ten years. I do think that the quality of the brick itself is inferior today than it was twenty years ago. They are seemingly softer and the smaller bricks are more prone to cracking.

    I also think there is a certain charm in the older sets that is somewhat lacking today. That's me though.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    edited January 2013
    @mathew I'm sorry for misinterpreting your comments as criticism. Still, I'm curious, would you describe #7208 as brick-heavy? Do you think the designs of the other to sets are better?

    Everyone is entitled to a different opinion, but personally when people speak of the charm of older sets or evaluate a higher quality with older bricks I can't help but suspect a large portion of that opinion is not very objective.

    Let's take the softness of bricks. ABS ages and becomes more brittle over time. So if you're comparing an old brick today to a new brick, it isn't the right comparison. You would need to compare an old brick decades ago to a new brick today, which of course is not possible. So instead you can rely on memory, but that can be really deceiving. I think most people forget some of the quality issues of the past.

    As for charm, you're being very vague. You're saying there is a quality found in the older sets that you find pleasing or delighting, but you're not really able to describe it. I think I know what it is though. I think it's nostalgia. In which case, the only reason today's sets are lacking in this charming quality is because they haven't been around long enough. It isn't anything inherent in the design.

    This highlights what is so great about the article by Andrew Sielen. It is data driven. It's not just his impression, it's supported by facts. And it's not just anecdotal data, it's statistical analysis of a collection of data. I think it's wonderful that he took a hunch and examined the data to see what really was going on.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    edited January 2013
    The recent Sith Infiltrator is a set that I would describe as "brick heavy". I think it's a great design. But it also utilizes a lot of pieces to give it detail, which in turn raises the cost.

    I'm going off on tangents, but part of the charm with the older sets I think is that since they were simpler designs they pushed you more to build something else, even better. Todays sets almost encourage you to just build the set and then play with it as if it's only a model. That and the emphasis on overly specific themes I believe take away some from the original intent of Lego.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    @mathew You keep gravitating towards Star Wars for your brick-heavy example. There is no 1980s equivalent of Star Wars. What do you think about #7208? Is it brick heavy?

    So you like simple designs that encourage you to build other things. I take it you're a huge fan of Creator? I don't find the emphasis has changed much. When I was a kid, I just built the set and then played with it as if it was only a model. I don't think the set encourages this, I think your own preferences do.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098

    @mathew You keep gravitating towards Star Wars for your brick-heavy example. There is no 1980s equivalent of Star Wars. What do you think about #7208? Is it brick heavy?

    Sure there is. It's called Classic Space. Look at 928-1: Space Cruiser And Moonbase for example. It uses only 338 pcs. and it makes a pretty complete looking model. Of course it's nothing like the Sith Infiltrator, but my point is that for a child's toy, the Space Cruiser gives a young mind everything they need.

    Regarding #7208, it does nothing for me. It looks like any other play toy version of a fire station.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    @brickmatic one thing that puzzles me a little, is to do with this comment of yours "..generally speaking products are priced to market and are not priced to cost" I understand this and think it plays a big part in our pricing here in Australia.

    What I find a little strange is the pricing in places like South East Asia, you have a country like Malaysia which has an average income close to 1/3 of that in Australia (Yes I know cost of living is lower) yet they pay a little more then we do for Lego. This does not really prove much, but I just find it interesting.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    edited January 2013
    @mathew Classic space is not equivalent to Star Wars just because both have spaceships. Star Wars being a licensed theme makes a big difference. It's a product line extension that provided an offering in new territory, which makes a poor theme to demonstrate a fundamental shift in LEGO's core design aesthetic. Unless you want to demonstrate that the product line extensions are different from the core, but that's implicit in them being product line extensions.

    @Basta When a company develops a new product they will at some point need to decide how much they will sell it for. The way they approach that question is called their pricing strategy. There are many different strategies. The most basic simple one is called cost-plus pricing. You figure out how much it cost to make your new product and you sell for that and a little bit of profit. This is not a good strategy because it ignores demand. A smarter thing to do is to figure out your market and use that information to set prices that meet your goals. Just keep in mind goals are key. You're looking at what people are willing to pay, what the demand distribution in the population is, and what your competitors are doing to determine the best price for your goods. It doesn't matter what the incomes are, but who wants your stuff and how much they are willing to spend.


  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,716
    Basta said:


    What I find a little strange is the pricing in places like South East Asia, you have a country like Malaysia which has an average income close to 1/3 of that in Australia (Yes I know cost of living is lower) yet they pay a little more then we do for Lego. This does not really prove much, but I just find it interesting.

    Lego probably don't care about the bottom end earners in Malaysia. They aim sales at the rich in Malaysia, as they are the ones likely to buy luxury goods. One problem with selling lego cheap in Malaysia is that it is a relatively popular stop-off point for travelling. If they sold lego at 1/3 price to tie in with local average incomes, then people from other countries would be stocking up from Malaysia. Even if not travelling, then through mail order. And no doubt the poorer end of society wouldn't buy lego anyway - they'd have more important things to spend money on.
  • whatsinanamewhatsinaname Member Posts: 17
    Basta said:

    @brickmatic one thing that puzzles me a little, is to do with this comment of yours "..generally speaking products are priced to market and are not priced to cost" I understand this and think it plays a big part in our pricing here in Australia.

    What I find a little strange is the pricing in places like South East Asia, you have a country like Malaysia which has an average income close to 1/3 of that in Australia (Yes I know cost of living is lower) yet they pay a little more then we do for Lego. This does not really prove much, but I just find it interesting.

    The sales of Lego in countries like Malaysia and India are many orders of magnitude lower than in NA/EU. The numbers are so low that I think the only reason to sell there is to maintain worldwide brand recognition. Selling at a much lower cost to improve profits will have two side affects that I am sure TLG don't want to deal with. One is effect that will have on the value perception in other countries. The other is that with improvements in international shipping and lack of duties in countries like the US, they wouldn't want to start cannibalising their own sales.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    Great article. But I find it hard to believe licensed sets aren't more expensive?
  • HardradaHardrada Member Posts: 439


    The sales of Lego in countries like Malaysia and India are many orders of magnitude lower than in NA/EU. The numbers are so low that I think the only reason to sell there is to maintain worldwide brand recognition. Selling at a much lower cost to improve profits will have two side affects that I am sure TLG don't want to deal with. One is effect that will have on the value perception in other countries. The other is that with improvements in international shipping and lack of duties in countries like the US, they wouldn't want to start cannibalising their own sales.


    Nobody ever proposed that Lego should sell their stuff in India or Malaysia at a much lower price than in the USA. All I've heard as complaints is that it's a lot more expensive there even compared to Europe (and even to Australia). I think reasonable fans there are hoping for a price change towards those prices. (Still quite a lot higher than US prices.)

    Don't know how feasible even that is though. Lego is a niche luxury product in these countries aimed at the upper class.
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    I sort of figured it would be for many of the reasons listed by some of you, but I agree with @Hardrada not sure why they wouldn't want to be even just a little competitive.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^ A little competitive with whom? What are the competitors doing in those countries?
  • BastaBasta Australia Member Posts: 1,259
    Other toys, OS online sales? all the reasons why Lego is so expensive in Australia shouldn't apply in Malaysia so selling a little cheaper and selling more should still see a good profit. I suppose TLG know what there doing.
  • plantmanplantman Member Posts: 97
    I was going through my older LEGO sets from about 20 years ago and noticing the sticker prices - some of the prices from the early 90's are what I would expect to pay for a similar set today. I did a quick search for an inflation calculator (and have to rely on whatever formula they utilized) and my mind was blown. If everything is accurate, LEGO is much cheaper than it was then. The Classic Space set 928 that mathew mentioned retailed for $32 dollars in 1979. The adjusted price came out at $99.63 at 2012 prices. This is a 338 piece ship. The same trend holds true with everything I compared - granted I was living in the boonies at the time and had to buy from stores like Pamida which had inflated prices. Long story short - I feel like I've been getting more for my money compared to that era....
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Yes, but that is true for everything else as well, LEGO doesn't get special credit for that.

    A basic desktop computer was $3,000 back in the 80's, today $400 will buy you a very nice computer, either desktop or laptop.

    Try the same with a TV, a Mr. Coffee machine, a dishwasher, or anything else sold in the 80's that is still sold today.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    edited March 2013
    Stuff was better made back then, including Lego. I have Lego bricks that are over thirty years old and aside from chew marks and some minor discoloration they are in great shape. I have Lego bricks less than six months old that are cracked and inconsistent in color. $400 laptops are junk in quality. Terrible screens and flimsy construction. A thirty year old Mr. Coffee will outlast a two year old model. A cheap TV is mostly made of light weight plastic and again is not designed to last. Your grandparent's console tv still probably works.

    So yes, things are cheaper today, but you pay for it in crappier quality.
    Crownie
  • PicopiratePicopirate Member Posts: 316
    edited March 2013
    Perhaps the extra cost back then was because the delivery truck had to drive up hill both ways to deliver lego sets to the stores.

    I disagree about it things being built better in the past. Nearly every cordless phone had static even if you were 5 feet from the base. I wasted cointless hours winding audio and vhs tapes eaten by players. Most cars in my location began rusting within 5 years. And my dad had to repair our stereo on more than one occasion.

    The difference was back then the expectation of quality was lower so we were more content with malfunctioning products. The one benefit was that technology was simpler so you could generally fix it yourself, now you throw it away. Also people were willing to spend a large portion of money on a tv or stereo and get one that would last because they could keep it for decades. Now devices become obsolete much quicker so we spend less on them because we are going to have to get a new one in a few years anyway. But in most cases the cheap device you just purchased still blows away the more expensive device that it just replaced.

    Lego bricks may be lower quality than in the past, but the set designs are significantly better than they ever were.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    That is a very broad brush...

    Sure, some items today aren't built to last, but not everything is that bad. I have no doubt my iPad will last a very long time, it is clearly well built.

    The original "iPad" was the Apple Newton:
    http://oldcomputers.net/apple-newton.html

    $699 in 1993 which is worth $1,094 in 2012 - Yet the new iPad is only $499 and far, far more powerful and just as well built, if not better.

    So long as I don't throw my iPad on the floor, I have no doubt it will still be working in 20 years time.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,506
    ^ I generally don't disagree with you but on this one I will. While your iPad may still work in 20 years, in ten years you won't be able to buy a battery for it rendering it useless and in the same amount of time childrens toys will have more power than your iPad:)
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098

    So long as I don't throw my iPad on the floor, I have no doubt it will still be working in 20 years time.

    No, it will be dead. iPads are designed around the concept of forced obsolescence. You should know this if you sell computer components.
    Crownie
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    Maybe it's just my bad luck, but I have a lot of cracked Lego bricks. Primarily little cheese slopes, 1x1 and even a few 1x2. It seems that certain colors are worse than others (white, light bley etc.)
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    As a point about the ipad, my version 1.0 cannot be upgraded to the latest OS, which is forced obsolescence. Yknow that handy new update-without-entering-password feature? Yeah, I can't do that. I either upgrade or I can't get the latest goodies. Sometimes I hate Apple.

    As for the general idea that "things were made better back in the day," it tends to be a rosy-hued misconception There are as many quality things today, Lego inclusive, as there were back then. Better manufacturing techniques, better materials, better distribution, etc. allow for more people to have access to quality things. While I will admit that my microwave from back in the 80's could probably withstand a sledgehammer, my microwave right now is quite acceptable for what it does, especially considering the price.
  • nkx1nkx1 Member Posts: 719
    edited March 2013
    tensor said:

    As for the general idea that "things were made better back in the day," it tends to be a rosy-hued misconception.

    I agree with this. Overall, I think many things are actually made better. For instance, I recently moved into a new condo constructed in the mid-1990s. The sound-proofing between walls and the flexing of the building is substantially less than in my old condo built in the early 1970s. I know some older houses are built very well, but not in my case. Also, most cars today (Japanese cars in particular), are extremely reliable and generally require less maintenance than cars made, say, 30 years ago. Gas mileage and hp is generally better as well.

    As far as I can tell, Lego seems about the same today as about 30 years ago. My wife's parents had some Lego from the early 1980s, and it seemed on par with the Lego of today (at least to me).

    I'll opt out of the Apple debate, as many people seem to have strong feelings about Apple :)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    oldtodd33 said:

    ^ I generally don't disagree with you but on this one I will. While your iPad may still work in 20 years, in ten years you won't be able to buy a battery for it rendering it useless and in the same amount of time childrens toys will have more power than your iPad:)

    It is a common misconception that the battery in the iPad cannot be replaced. Of course it can, it is just not end-user replaceable. Plenty of third party companies are happy to replace the battery for you:

    http://www.directfix.com/product/REP-0056.html

    And of course you can do it yourself if you're handy:

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iPad+Wi-Fi+Battery+Replacement/2198/1

    To answer the question of, "will my iPad be useful in 20 years", no it probably won't be, but then neither is the Apple Newton either.

    So Mathew's comment that things were better built 20 years ago is not accurate or even reasonable.

    First, I was able to provide an example that made the broadly brushed statement untrue.

    Second, it hardly matters since no one is using Mr. Coffee machines or handheld computers 20 years later anyway.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    tensor said:

    As a point about the ipad, my version 1.0 cannot be upgraded to the latest OS, which is forced obsolescence. Yknow that handy new update-without-entering-password feature? Yeah, I can't do that. I either upgrade or I can't get the latest goodies. Sometimes I hate Apple.

    That is true about the inability to upgrade, but you can still use your iPad just fine, it didn't just "turn off" and stop working.

    You'll be able to use it for many years to come if you like.

    Also, you probably wouldn't want to put iOS 6 on it, the CPU is quite a bit slower than the iPad 2. The iPad 1 has a single core chip with 256MB of RAM. It was a great start and far superior to anything else on the market at the time, but technology has run far and fast since.

    The new iPad 4 is MUCH faster than the iPad 1, sooner or later new OS releases aren't going to work on old computers.

    This is NOT unique to Apple, or does everyone expect Windows 8 to run on the same computers that ran Windows XP? Vista had much this problem, created largely by Microsoft who wanted everyone to upgrade. But most of the WinXP computers didn't have what Vista needed, thus half of the bad rap (the other half was drivers that weren't ready, a year after release Vista was much better)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    tensor said:

    As for the general idea that "things were made better back in the day," it tends to be a rosy-hued misconception There are as many quality things today, Lego inclusive, as there were back then. Better manufacturing techniques, better materials, better distribution, etc. allow for more people to have access to quality things. While I will admit that my microwave from back in the 80's could probably withstand a sledgehammer, my microwave right now is quite acceptable for what it does, especially considering the price.

    I agree completely that a microwave in the 80's could probably take several blows from a sledgehammer, a single one would destroy a current model.

    But the units in the 80's were hundreds of dollars (thousands in today's money), while a new microwave today is less than $100, and frankly works better.

    New small inexpensive magnetrons went a long way to making that happen, the development of better energy cages and fewer materials really brought the price down.
  • FenrisAkashiFenrisAkashi Member Posts: 242
    Honestly guys comparing basic tools/toys etc to anything to do with electronics or computers that follow Moore's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law) is not really valid.

    Comparing the quality of older good versus those made now depends entirely on what their function is and if that function has changed over time.

    A hammer is a hammer, its for hammering a new hammer is unlike to hammer faster or require a "firmware" upgrade.
    Its likely a hammer made 20-30 years ago is likely made using better materials and when upconverted to current inflation is likely more costly than you would ever even think about paying for a hammer.

    It has a lot to do with the consumer culture that improved infrastructure and and manufacturing techniques have helped nurture. We buy a lot more and discard a lot more because we can afford to do both.

    Lego has to maintain a price point that is follows this trend. They done a good job without sacrificing everything so I think we can all agree it could be much worse ;D
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^Advancement in manufacturing technology and technique is one of the biggest drivers of cost efficiency, thus making better products faster and with less labor. In some fields, like electronics, the improvements outpace rate of true inflation, thus lower prices over time. And as a general global view, we did not have the same levels of access to raw materials and Labor in other countries & regions. So it's hard to relate cost of goods across such divergent mfg. eras.

    However, Lego can only benefit marginally from this aspect with improved mfg machines and logistics. Where they can drastically improve production costs is to scale-up total batch sizes and decrease raw material consumption. Hence the move towards lower labor cost markets like China and compromising on the quality and/or amount of ABS used as raw material. If someone were to weigh 1,000 bricks from the 90's versus 1,000 of the same bricks from today, then I have a feeling this aspect of it can be proven.
    Crownie
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited March 2013


    A hammer is a hammer, its for hammering a new hammer is unlike to hammer faster or require a "firmware" upgrade.
    Its likely a hammer made 20-30 years ago is likely made using better materials and when upconverted to current inflation is likely more costly than you would ever even think about paying for a hammer.

    I get your point, but a hammer is not necessarily the best example as something that was better back in the day. today's hammers are made with alloys and other materials unheard of 30 years ago, plus they are computer-designed and balanced, usually coupled with some kind of vibration dampening system as well. Then there's the myriad of designs for the claw as well as the grip. Today they are lighter, hit harder, use less force and cause less user fatigue. Hammers have come a long way, like most things.

    My grandfather's hammer will always have a revered place in my tool chest, but it's not what I'm going to reach for when I'm building a deck.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734
    edited March 2013
    plantman said:

    The Classic Space set 928 that mathew mentioned retailed for $32 dollars in 1979. The adjusted price came out at $99.63 at 2012 prices. This is a 338 piece ship.

    The set may have had only 338 pieces, but how big was it? How much value did it have as a toy relative to other toys at the same price point?

    LEGO doesn't build a range of sets and then price them based on the material value of their contents (i.e. cost per piece). They design sets to fill a given range of price points. It's not coincidence that Galaxy Explorer would have been priced at ~$100 today. Just like the flagship set of any modern theme is priced at ~$100, Galaxy Explorer was the flagship set of the original Space theme and was priced accordingly. That it had fewer pieces is mostly irrelevant.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409

    Honestly guys comparing basic tools/toys etc to anything to do with electronics or computers that follow Moore's law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore's_law) is not really valid.

    Ok, how about cars? Granted, their price has gone up with inflation, but a basic car purchased today can be expected to run for 10 years fairly trouble free, with only basic maintenance.

    A car from 1983, not so much. Those cars rusted out after 3-5 years (depending on company), and were falling apart by 7-10 years, regardless of company.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734

    A car from 1983, not so much. Those cars rusted out after 3-5 years (depending on company), and were falling apart by 7-10 years, regardless of company.

    I don't disagree, but there are outliers. My dad bought a Saab 900 in 1984 and didn't stop regularly driving it until about 2006. So not all cars from the early 80s had fallen apart by the time frat boys started wearing Hammer pants.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Fair enough... :) I suspect Saab was one of the better built (and more expensive) cars in the 80's.

    My father kept his 1984 Cadillac Eldorado until just a year ago, but in that time it required 2 complete paint jobs, some body and rust repairs, a new interior, a complete rewire of the electrical system, new radio, etc.

    In fairness, it did last about 7 years before it needed major work, so that isn't bad, but for the price of the car, it darn well should last! :) It needed minor work before then.

    More recently I drove my 2001 Tahoe for 9 years, and the only thing it ever needed was the display in the radio fixed for a few hundred dollars, otherwise it was completely trouble free. The only reason I traded it in was to get a Yukon XL, needed the space, otherwise the Tahoe was just fine.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734

    I suspect Saab was one of the better built (and more expensive) cars in the 80's.

    I don't know for sure, but I don't think Saabs were particularly expensive until GM bought them and tried to market them as luxury cars. The 900 my dad bought cost about $12,000, IIRC. Adjusted for inflation, that's not cheap by today's standards, but it's not what I'd consider expensive, either.

    Anyway, back on topic; sorry for the derail. :)

  • plantmanplantman Member Posts: 97
    I have to throw in one more off-topic. In reference to nkx1's comment about condos - not to far from my house a host of new condos are going up - nothing special except I noticed the siding was going on right over the studs - no sheeting. I feel like I could punch my way into someone's living room like the Incredible Hulk.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    ^ I purchased my villa (attached home), new back in 2004. I periodically checked up on it during construction and was dismayed to see styrofoam being used for some of the walls. I contacted the builder and was told that this is perfectly fine and within code. I would often have to patch up holes with duct tape that I found during construction. Pathetic. Of course this was during the inflated "housing boom" so the builder didn't care as they were selling them as fast as they could throw them up.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098


    So Mathew's comment that things were better built 20 years ago is not accurate or even reasonable.

    First, I was able to provide an example that made the broadly brushed statement untrue.

    Second, it hardly matters since no one is using Mr. Coffee machines or handheld computers 20 years later anyway.

    First you assume that your iPad will still be operational 20 years from now, but then state that it won't matter. Ok then what about five years from now? Yes, the iPad is well made for a tablet computer. It's also much more expensive than say the Kindle so it should be built to last. However, as others have said, already the first gen iPad is no longer being supported by Apple. This is a device that is only three years old. Many people paid upwards of $700 for a device that they may only get 3-5 years out of before it is no longer useful regardless if you can put a new battery in it or not. To me that makes it a very expensive disposable device. Much more than a $30 Mr. Coffee.
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