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LEGO Pricing Becoming Prohibitive to Collecting?

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Comments

  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    I do wonder that with the popularity of the Lego movie, we might see the market bear a little more cost and see some steep rises as a result.

    I always perceive a value on weight as much as piece count, and the overall size of the finished article.

    #10225 R2 isn’t particularly big, but it’s densely packed with all of those mechanisms for the 3rd leg and all the hidden interfaces/tools. I doubt the cost of oil (which is frequently mentioned) has any significant bearing on a single Lego set. For something with so much technical thought/design/precision having gone into it, you could see a doubling in the price of oil and not see a 10% bearing on the overall set price.

    As stated by iancam33 above, there are so many processes to making and selling a product to generate profit. Design of a new set/new elements (new shapes, colours, possible development in stabilisers/plastic blends etc), moulds/dies/machinery with life-costings for it all spread over a number of years, stability studies (when putting the products through accelerated simulated use, possibly after formulation changes), QA/QC, marketing/promotions, a workforce expecting top tier wages (no Apple sweat-shops here, as far as we know) – raw materials costs rank pretty low on that scale. In the pharmaceutical product I work for, raw materials account for around 3% of the product cost at a wholesale level, the rest is other operational costs. Some of out most expensive raw materials go into some of our cheapest tablets.

    TLG are doing a great job, product is selling well. We don’t represent the demographic. We are the pickiest, most critical and savviest of buyers. We quite often wait for the sales for ourselves, and yet TLG still takes the time to design AFOL focussed sets, and still manages to price them on a par (weight/piece count) with the rest of their range (in the main, sometimes there are some very poor currency parities).

    I wait to buy some stuff because I’m pretty sure there’ll be a sale on at some point. For the exclusives, I’m not so sure, so maybe I’ll jump in at RRP. For me it’s not about what I can afford, but about how little do I think I can get set X for if I play the waiting game. Little Timmy wants/needs his set for his Birthday/Christmas present, I’ll wait for the sales.
    caperberry
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,948
    "My concern is that Lego has inflated on a higher % basis than most other products have."

    Agreed. Lego is not the only luxury toy brand that I am seeing this with either. American Girl has been showing the same thing. In both I man seeing faster than average price increase when compared to other toys.

    My daughter the other day saw Lake Town Chase at the Lego store. It was built as a display model. She had not seen it before and she thought it was very cool. I told her the price was $50, and she stated it seemed awfully small for $50 dollars. It has 470 pieces.
    She passed on it.

    On the other hand I remember how excited this same child was to buy Hagrid's Hut. She picked it because it had characters she liked and a ton of playvalue. The price was $40 for 442 piece.

    Now not everything has gone up that much, but that was essentially a 25% increase. The price was definitely an item that impacted her decision to buy.
    I did tell her I had found it for $30, and we could go back and get it, but the initially $50 price did have an impact. Other factors such as lack of female characters, and 'size' did end up playing a part of this as well.

    My long-winded point. I understand prices going up. At the same time I can also state it was enough for my daughter to cutback, and it has been enough for me to cut back and watch bargains even more carefully.

    R2d2 would have been bought by now, if There were discounts, but I will be passing on it altogether.
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,059
    I think much of the valuable sentiment has already been surfaced on here - but to add my two cents I agree, I think it's only prohibitive if you allow it to be. I know I make many sacrificies daily, many of which I have to be conscious of, in order to be able to afford my LEGO purchase. It's just that important to me and is a priority.

    Ultimately, I think if you begin to feel as though its hurting your purse strings you need to reevaluate your collecting, spending, or like I read above in several places, just get a part-time job somewhere doing something menial. With the full knowledge and intention of spending that money on LEGO. It will make any mundane task you are doing in this part-time job seem easy breezy.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    I'm sure TLG is pushing the envelope to see just how far people will go before they walk away from the brand. It's a common practice to raise prices when business is booming.
    except for the fact that the only store that carries a decent variety of clone brands is either target or toys r us(both stores are a little out of the way so we don't go often), it's easier to get my hands on specific lego parts I need online, and lego has the themes I like, I'd really be second guessing my lego semi-loyality(I have a small amount of Clone brand stuff)

    the prices vs set sizes are getting to the point they really aren't worth it anymore.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited February 2014

    I doubt the cost of oil (which is frequently mentioned) has any significant bearing on a single Lego set.

    It's frequently mentioned because it is a raw material required for production of the elements, so it certainly does have significant bearing on a single Lego set. If oil doubled, would a set on the shelf at Walmart suddenly be more expensive? No, but the one designed a couple months down the road would likely be. Amusingly however, the gas you use to drive to Walmart to get the set on the shelf today would be 2x the price instantly, even though the gas in the storage tanks was made with cheaper oil.

    I think the major increase in cost for Lego recently is for the molds. Each mold is very expensive, and Lego has been churning out a lot of new elements. Plus, given the insane number of sets Lego produces, those molds are getting serious mileage, meaning they need to be replaced more often.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,701
    It wouldn't surprise me if the cost of the oil to transport lego is more than the cost of the oil in the lego.
    pharmjodVaderXstreekerTheBigLegoski
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    @TheLoneTensor: In the context of my post, just trying to get the message across that the the single most significant raw material (in volume at least) is probably amongst the least significant factors in adding process cost when considering all the other things up that contribute to the cost of a set. You can buy Virgin ABS pellets from as little as £850 per metric tonne from AliBaba.com, i'm sure TLG could get significantly cheaper in the volumes (probably half of that) they work in, but on the Alibaba price assumption:-

    There's about 1.5 Kg of plastic in a UCS R2D2, so in a £150 set, you have around £1.28 worth of ABS, or the oil dependent ABS raw material contributes 0.85% of the cost of a retail set. The total additives (flame retardants/pigments/UV stabilisers/antioxidants etc) are probably just as significant as the price of oil.
    nkx1
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited February 2014
    Perhaps there's a (public) study around that breaks down the cost of a Lego set. I think suggesting that the R2D2 set only has $2 of plastic in it is a bit of an underestimation. That said, I think the total cost of raw materials to produce a set (plastic, paper, cellophane, cardboard, ink) is very low, like < $10 for a $100 set. The real cost comes from things like the molds and machinery R&D & maintenance, distribution, etc.

    Incorporating @CCC's point, there's a lot of money spent just to move this physical stuff around via gasoline (delivery of raw materials, distribution, etc.). So, your original statement "I doubt the cost of oil (which is frequently mentioned) has any significant bearing on a single Lego set." focused on only the plastic component, which is not the only contribution of oil price to the overall Lego cost equation. In fact, oil price is possibly the single most significant factor of them all.
    VaderX
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,374
    edited February 2014
    I think people are underestimating the cost of employees and benefits. Before the government takeover/bailout of GM, I read somewhere that 30% of each car were employee benefits alone.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    edited February 2014
    I really can't see the fuel specific transport costs associated with a singular set adding up to more than a fraction of a £/$ - how many sets can fit in the back of a truck/shipping container etc? When raw materials are shipped by the tens of tonnes, the associated cost of shipping a kilo becomes very small indeed.

    By the same token, a doubling in the price of crude wouldn't double the price of refined fuel at the pumps that you stick in the car, but it is a far more significant component of what runs your car than in the production and transport of a Lego set.

    If the price of crude doubled tomorrow, you'd probably add $2.50 max to a $150/180 set, with $2 coming from raw material and $0.50 (worst case) from the transport costs. It would hardly make Lego significantly more expensive than it already is. You'd need a few processes to be significantly affected at the same time to cause a big change in Lego's overall operational costs.

    There are other things that have gone up in price far more steeply than the theoreticals we are talking here. The cost of Titanium Dioxide has gone up 250% in the last 4 years. Many car manufacturers now charge for picking white paint as well as metallic paint.

    I do think that talking about oil prices going up will massively affect the price of Lego as a singular reason is as short sighted as saying the cost of cars will double if the price of steel doubled. Most of the processes that a manufacturer goes through to produce and distribute a product go unappreciated by the average consumer when they decide their product is overpriced, basing it purely on the price of what they can see it is made from.
    hewmannkx1
  • PlellPlell Member Posts: 192
    Pitfall69 said:

    I think people are underestimating the cost of employees and benefits. Before the government takeover/bailout of GM, I read somewhere that 30% of each car were employee benefits alone.

    The actual number is closer to 5%. And that's in an industry that has higher-than-average wages relative to other manufacturing jobs. All in all, not a huge factor.
    margot
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,546
    edited February 2014
    Slightly off topic i know, but The Sea Cow really has me confused. It's clearly the marquee set for the film. It's big, it's bold, it's expensive. And one can only assume TLG think it will sell well, not as a parts pack, but as a big, expensive, crazy-weird ship.

    And yet... the PotC never saw anything at this level of love in design or price. But was restricted to overblown canoes, leaving the Pirates fans frustrated and assuming that TLG either didn't want to build/market real ships, or that ships just didn't sell well enough to warrant BIG design. Ultimately we never even got the iconic Flying Dutchman that we all dreamed about.

    Then this SEA COW rears it's watery bovine head, at a price and build not seen for a ship since the Imperial Flagship. What!? If TLG believe a $300 monster almost-joke ship will sell, why no marquee ship for the PotC fans? Mind is truly boggled.

    Well, if I can find the funds to pick up the Cow, i might do so at some point, purely as the basis to build a dutchman from the parts (perhaps this is the market they made it for, the frustrated PotC fans), but with the increased production capacity we're seeing now across so many themes, I'm not sure I'll have those funds available... and this is a concern, not for my collection, but for the message it sends to the TLG marketing people when they spot a 'struggling' set.

    So bringing it back to topic. Yes, I find myself making choices not based on themes not being to my liking, but simply that my budget is fully stretched by the extensive choices now available, and sacrifices need to be made (not helped if TLG do squeeze every extra penny out of a set).

    If TLG's production capacity has expanded beyond my (and the average lego consumers) reach. The worry becomes this:

    If my purchase decision is mirrored by millions of others fans, it could result in TLG dumping sets, or even whole themes, prematurely, and mistakenly believing them to be failed, and with no future market, whereas the opposite is true - we just all bought other sets first.

    Later, when one or other of those priority themes comes to an end, we may wish for that set/theme that got abandoned, but no amount of requests would convince TLG there was ever a market for it - as they saw it 'fail'.

    I've mentioned it before somewhere, that with increased production capacity there is a tendency to cannibalise your own product, and when that happens, it makes assessment of success/failure extremely difficult.
    pharmjodTheBigLegoski
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    Lego are the best at what they do, and they know it. They've got the best fit, the widest range of parts and get the best licenses (on the whole). I'm surprised the RRP isn't higher. They seem far better value than they were in the late 90s/early 2000's when inflation is taken into account.

    We now live in a bargain culture, RRPs for many items do not reflect what they are routinely sold at. The UK sometimes gets a raw deal with pricing, but then again, with a bit of patience you can get your 3 for 2s from Argos, your 20% off from Smyths, and then the proper sales with 25/50% off more than a couple of times a year.

    I'm not saying I would welcome paying more, but looking at what it is, the precision of the manufacture, the robustness of the parts to last decades, and then compare that to other toys, it doesn't seem quite that bad. The best thing about Lego is that it needn't cost you much at all if you look after it. How many other toys can hold their value like Lego can?

    Legomatt: That Sea Cow looks amazing in the flesh (and I haven't even seen the film yet), and after the buzz has gone from the film release, there is a genuine possibility of getting it cheap. If I had more room to branch out into other themes, i'd be sorely tempted.
    legomatt
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited February 2014
    ^^^^It's not quite that simple of only adding a couple bucks and calling it a day. Let's say it costs Lego $15 to make and ship a set that it sells for $100 to the end user. I'm going to keep it [email protected] only for simplicity sake (i.e. no retailers).

    If it costs them $15, and they sell for $100, that's a profit margin of 85%. Let's say we add your $2 to the mix, and now it costs them $17. To attain the same 85% profit margin, they would now have to sell it at $113.33. If they don't, then they have to explain to their superiors how they are now doing less return per $ spent.

    In your example of crude doubling, I actually think your $2 is low. Let's look at $5 more, so now it costs $20 to get the same set to the consumer. To retain the profit margin of 85%, you now have to charge $133.

    Back to your original point, I still believe that yes, oil prices, possibly above any other single factor, affects the price. To @Pitfall69's point, C&B are definitely significant costs, but labor costs don't tend to fluctuate nearly as much as things like oil.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950

    the robustness of the parts to last decades, and then compare that to other toys, it doesn't seem quite that bad.

    I don't know about that. There have been some icky cracking issues on pieces lately, like the bow pieces on #10231. And what about clear pieces. I know I've lost at least 1/2 of my inventory of clear studs and round bricks to crumbling over the years.

    VaderX
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    ^
    Labour costs never go down, they are always on the up, unless you switch to another country. The employee always wants their annual pay rise unless the company is doing so badly they fear for their jobs if they were to ask for one. The oil price is unpredictable from one month to the next (usually as a result of speculator meddling rather than genuine increase in demand), but big companies ride out the storm and reap the rewards when those prices dip again. I wonder what we'd see if we compared Lego prices to oil prices, did we see a sharp spike when crude prices spiked at $145 a barrel in mid 2008?

    Oil and chemical prices are more likely to go through fluctuation than any other component, but for potential to affect prices, if oil prices remained flat, but the costs of moulds/dies/tooling doubled because an engineering company supplier stopped making them and you had to go elsewhere, I would say you would have a far bigger effect on the price of a set than if oil prices doubled.

  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited February 2014
    Well, it's quite unlikely you will ever see oil prices affect any set currently on the market, no matter how much they fluctuate, as msrp tends to be msrp. What you will see, however, are future sets reflecting the cost-of-doing-business increase, whether it's oil, labor or mold design/retooling. You might see sets keep the ppp ratio at 10 cents, but you'll see more sets fluffed up with cheese slopes, technic pins and 1x1 tiles. I read about people observing that pattern somewhere recently...
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    edited February 2014

    the robustness of the parts to last decades, and then compare that to other toys, it doesn't seem quite that bad.

    I don't know about that. There have been some icky cracking issues on pieces lately, like the bow pieces on #10231. And what about clear pieces. I know I've lost at least 1/2 of my inventory of clear studs and round bricks to crumbling over the years.

    I really wish they would get the cracking issue under control. Luckily I haven't seen any cracking on my Imperial Shuttle. However all of my little cheese slopes develop cracks over time. I've also seen it on various 1x1, 1x2 and other 1x slopes. I own a few older sets (pre-90's) and I firmly believe that the brick quality was much better back then. These older bricks tend to either lose clutch or have too much, but I've never seen any cracking. They also feel firmer than new bricks.

    TheBigLegoski
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    I agree that the older bricks feel denser and heavier than new bricks. A while back, I suggested someone with enough old bricks to weight 100 of them against an identical set of 100 new bricks to confirm the suspicion.

    But in terms of cracking, I've noticed that problem even with older bricks like on my Darth Maul bust which had multiple cracked 1x2 plates.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited February 2014
    ^^ Exactly @mathew. Look at #79111, a brand new set with bricks minted less than a year ago. I took a picture for another thread and look at what the camera picked up on the light gray and dark green slope pieces that form the engine boiler. It's just a matter of time before those crack fully.

    This is the kind of quality I'd expect in a not-Lego brand. Why am I seeing things like this nowadays?
    VaderXTheBigLegoski
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    Another view. Look at the cracks forming.


  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    Why am I seeing things like this nowadays
    Either something's going screwy in the molding progress and maybe causing issues or maybe it's the plastic .what if they are using a poorer quality of ABS?
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    As to @ tamamahm point.
    I have an eight year old great niece who loves Lego.
    She started building with regular Lego Bricks @ 4 years old.

    Her grandmother took her shopping so she could spend her birthday money.
    She was going back and forth between Olivia's House and LaLaLoopsy Dolls which are not cheap. ($20.00 to $30.00 a piece)
    She mentioned how expensive Lego was and opted for the dolls.

    I think if I was TLG this is something I might be concerned about.
    Just my two cents.

  • ninjagolightlyninjagolightly Member Posts: 140
    I have gotten some sets with appallingly bad clutch recently. Since I recently built a Megablocks set for the first time in ages, a direct comparison did not favor LEGO (on those particular sets).
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,546
    edited February 2014
    ^ Yes, nobody can argue with cold hard cash. If young kids decide lego is too expensive and move onto other toy ranges, they could be done with it for a loooooong time, content with the bricks they have.

    It's a childhood spent playing with lego (a very different product back then to what it is today) for a lengthy period that ultimately brought me back. But if today's kids' lego-adventures are merely short-lived brief encounters, they are less likely to become afols, and more likely to consider lego as just another action-figure film tie-in type toy never to come back to.

    Lego is certainly experiencing a boom right now, thanks it must be said to a combination of generations enjoying it at the same time, for the first time, and the brand extending as wide as possible.

    But if todays children don't continue that hobby long enough for it to remain attractive later in adulthood, or see little value in adding more sets, the brand may plateau, before falling back to a smaller fan base. But, the world is so big, this is unlikely to occur for many years, if at all.

    It's more likely to have the rug pulled from under its feet by Disney. Disney is currently happy to feed lego with as many licenses as it can eat... buy the license, feed it to the biggest toy company. Eventually, toy company will become fat and dependent on those licenses, unable to maintain its vast size without them, and that is when Disney effectively owns TLG, putting them in a very strong position to effect a takeover.
    JP3804pharmjodTheBigLegoski
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,734

    Look at #79111, a brand new set with bricks minted less than a year ago. I took a picture for another thread and look at what the camera picked up on the light gray and dark green slope pieces that form the engine boiler. It's just a matter of time before those crack fully.

    This is obviously a result of motorizing the train, subjecting it to stresses the set wasn't designed to endure. ;)

    In seriousness, I have several small (e.g. 1x1, 1x2, 1x1 technic) light gray bricks that have vertical hairline cracks just like that, at the bottom. The frustrating aspect is they aren't visible until attached to another brick. And, as in your case, these are all from relatively recent sets, none older than ~2 years.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    edited February 2014
    I have gotten some sets with appallingly bad clutch recently. Since I recently built a Megablocks set for the first time in ages, a direct comparison did not favor LEGO (on those particular sets).
    I've heard some people say that while megabloks was poor quality in the past, it has been actually not that bad lately. Honestly, if I can track a set down at target or Toys r us that im interested in, I might just dip my toes into the MB line more then just random parts that I got in bulk lots.
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,546
    :oO
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,096
    legomatt said:

    :oO

    What? This is a thread about Lego premium pricing and the sad fact is that the competitor bricks are rivaling them in some cases with better quality plastics.
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534
    mathew said:

    legomatt said:

    :oO

    What? This is a thread about Lego premium pricing and the sad fact is that the competitor bricks are rivaling them in some cases with better quality plastics.
    plus some companies have WAY cooler parts. I got my mom the hello kitty van thing that's $10. There's this really cool part that's like a 1x2 lego cheese element but there's STUDS on the slope! I'm not a cheese fan but that is too awesome.

    And in the set, there's 4 studs on BOTH SIDES 1x2 plates. plus I got this super cool studs on both sides 2x2 plate in a bulk lot!
  • ACWWGal2011ACWWGal2011 Member Posts: 534

    mathew said:

    legomatt said:

    :oO

    What? This is a thread about Lego premium pricing and the sad fact is that the competitor bricks are rivaling them in some cases with better quality plastics.
    plus some companies have WAY cooler parts. I got my mom the hello kitty van thing that's $10. There's this really cool part that's like a 1x2 lego cheese element but there's STUDS on the slope! I'm not a cheese fan but that is too awesome.

    And in the set, there's 4 studs on BOTH SIDES 1x2 plates. plus I got this super cool studs on both sides 2x2 plate in a bulk lot!
    Grr. to late to edit. should of been studs on both sides, not 4 studs.

  • VaderXVaderX Member Posts: 220
    The reason you don't see spikes in pricing is because big business's like Lego hedge their raw materials cost for years in advance.

    Anyone who thinks that a Lego box is only ever loaded onto one truck before it goes into your car is silly. Shipping costs on set is a lot higher than people think. So yes, petroleum (aka oil) is a huge factor in a set cost. But it does not go wildly up and down due to hedging contracts.

    A retailers Lego set is shipped from the factory to a Lego distribution warehouse. From that distribution warehouse it is then shipped to a retailers distribution warehouse. Then to retail store front. How many trucks is that? Plus the trucks and ships from China, Mexico, etc. to the factories.

    It is clear many people don't grasp how big business really works. Profit margins in big business are generally 3-10%. They do millions of dollars in inventory on a daily basis. So a small profit margin works in this scope. Also most business's profit is simply that profit. Labor cost, shipping, materials, overhead, insurance, etc. is not included in profit %.

    It is not a simple as most people think. Yes R and D adds to costs. This is a one time cost per set. Molds also do not cost 250K anymore. The machining world is not like it once one 30 years ago. I run a small metal fab shop. My profit margin for me to be able to stay in business is generally 35%. I know many large scale machine shops that run a 5-10% profit margin and make millions.... it's all about volume in most modern businesses.

    In the end of the day value for my dollar is very important to me. When i see a products quality and value going down when profits are at record levels, it makes me a little upset. That is why I posed my question to see if other felt the same way.

    pharmjodTheBigLegoski
  • legomattlegomatt Member Posts: 2,546
    edited February 2014
    mathew said:

    What? This is a thread about Lego premium pricing and the sad fact is that the competitor bricks are rivaling them in some cases with better quality plastics.

    Do you have a sense of humour? How can you possibly read anything into, or take any offense over, a harmless 'shock-face' smiley written in the good-natured spirit that this forum operates under?

    Or do YOU just have a problem with me @mathew , because you seem quick to troll my posts lately with your snipey remarks. Would you prefer that I continue to ignore them, or do you want that I start responding in an equally abrasive manner?

    I think my earlier post made it abundantly clear to even the most simple minded that i know exactly what this thread is about, and i do NOT need or appreciate your condescending lecturing tone suggesting otherwise.
    mathew said:

    ...the sad fact is that the competitor bricks are rivaling (Lego) in some cases with better quality plastics.

    I am perfectly willing to entertain this notion, or any discussion you may wish to start, but I would feel more compelled to do so if you would stop being so obnoxious. Or I might just start responding in the flippant manner you proscribe:
    mathew said:

    Don't buy it then.

    http://www.bricksetforum.com/discussion/comment/261788/#Comment_261788

    So what indeed? Hand shakes and a 'whoops, no offense meant', or a public lesson in manners, Mate?
    Bumblepants
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    It does seem to be the smaller elements with a susceptibility for hairline cracks. Things like 1 x 1 cheese slopes only have a single point of contact with whatever element they attach to, so they’ve got to have a really good grip. Are they made with too much clutch, which inevitably leads to them cracking to relieve excess tension on the blocks?

    Maybe we didn’t see this in the past because we weren’t inundated with tiny elements in the past like we are now? Or maybe quality is down. Brick density definitely seems to be down, clutch on some recent sets of mine seems to be woefully low (#10240).

    I’m really unsure about AFOL popularity in the future. My nephew, my cousins kids and all of their mates seem to completely lack creativity. Build the sets as they are and that’s it. They have become action figure sets to those who should be wanting to make different stuff with them. My nephew has no interest in the build, just the finished article, and even then he’d buy SW minifigs on their own if he could. He wants a Jabba’s Palace like mine (MOC’d with 2 sets and a few odd bits), but he wants to be able to buy one like that, not have to create one. For me, they are not into what Lego is (or was) about. Kids generally seem to lack an attention span these days, they haven’t got the patience to sit there with a pile of parts and just make something of their own design.
    dougtsBumblepantspharmjod
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    My oldest boy is 7 which should be right invitee sweet spot for Lego and unsurprisingly he has masses of it. He is creative with it - he'd rather build from his imagination than a set (apart from a few he just must have and loves HE, technic stuff etc recently). However I've noticed the big creations have stopped now, he'll happily and sit and build for half an hour but anything big is happening in minecraft. More importantly than the amount of time he plays minecraft, which is limited by his mum, is how much time he thinks about its. He isn't eating dinner thinking hoe to build a new Lego castle but rather a new minecraft elevator.

    The ability to create anything at the click of a button, not limited by size or scale or parts or colours is a massive threat to Lego imo, or at least future generations like us for whom Lego is more than just another toy. And minecraft is likely only the start.
    sidersddlegomatt
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    ^ Minecraft on a computer doesn't cost anything either. Only gets costly if he wants to bring his creations to life in real Lego.
  • jockosjunglejockosjungle Member Posts: 701
    Does anyone really pay RRP for Lego? Well good luck to you if you can afford it, but I've never shopped at the lego shop, I got my VW, Tower Bridge, etc from foreign Amazon sites, In get my more common stuff in Argos 3 for 2, half price in Tesco, etc.

    Sadly the RRP is creeping up because such stores want to do deals on stuff, I promise you they don't make a loss when they knock a third off the price and these make for good offers.

    Of course, they make the RRP higher, which makes the exclusives higher (they need to be in relation to the other sets), but you can buy them at the right time and tbh most of the exclusives appear in normal shops eventually, you just need to pick and choose the right time.

  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    ^^ Well it does cost something, £20 iirc. and although most of us couldn't, theoretically with that £20 you can build something like this...

    image

    In contrast, at £20 RRP you can buy this...

    image
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,701
    It's not so different to back in the day. As a kid I loved playing Lunar Jetman on the zx spectrum. But I would have loved to have had a bigtrak like some of my friends instead. Computer games may be fun, they may take up less space, but playing with a real toy is often just better.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    The thing is i dont think it is the same. For those kids that just want to build a set following the instructions and place it on a shelf I think you're right. But for those that really create I think the limits of the physical block and the limitless nature of the digital blocks become much more defining. By their very nature the majority of those that tend towards creative building can probably reconcile the digital world very well anyway. My thinking is that those that would have seen LEGO as more than just a toy are likely to migrate towards minecraft and away from LEGO as it almost certainly caters to their needs more effectively.

    If I was to do a SWOT analysis for LEGO I would see minecraft as a much more critical threat to LEGO and its growth than any of the clone brands irrespective of improving or declining quality. I would probably also encourage a minecraft tie in to pull minecraft players back to LEGO.
    pharmjod
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,701
    ^ It would be interesting to know how well the minecraft lego sets are doing, in that respect. To me they are really boring, very limited and too small. Yet especially the first one seemed to sell well. I wonder how kids have found actually playing with them.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,701
    Another thing is that it is all very well "building" digitally but at some point it is nice to share the model and to be able to show it. I remember drawing pictures on the computer when young and loving it, but never being able to print them (although I know you could get a crummy little thermal printer). My parents always preferred I drew on paper, as they could enjoy my work more. I know now you can share digital models online, with someone else that has the same software.

    Maybe at some stage (or even now?), you will be able to simply 3D print a minecraft type model and get to keep it for real. When the price of that is comparable to lego, they will probably need to worry.
    sidersdd
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    But they already can share it, in fact minecraft even allows you to not only share the build but share the building experience with different people building together. Certainly if my boy's school class is anything to go by it already is a MASSIVE threat.

    And yes, the minecraft sets are fairly disappointing when put together. Although i think the tie in is good for LEGO there is a downside which is that it really emphasises the failings of the physical brick.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 17,701
    edited February 2014
    ^ Yes, I know you can share with anyone else that uses the same software. But you cannot share with others (parents) unless they also use minecraft.

    So when a parent asks what have you been doing, it is difficult to say without actually using minecraft again. Whereas if they have been drawing on the computer, they could print out a copy and show it (unlike back in the 80s). I know you can also print out pictures of minecraft constructions or share them on the web, but to actually print a physical 3D version of the construction would be great.

    You can design on the PC, but to actually hold it is something else. That is where lego still wins for me.

    It is similar to LDD. It's all very well designing it on screen, but not as much fun as actually building it for real. At least for me.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,948


    I’m really unsure about AFOL popularity in the future. My nephew, my cousins kids and all of their mates seem to completely lack creativity. Build the sets as they are and that’s it. They have become action figure sets to those who should be wanting to make different stuff with them. My nephew has no interest in the build, just the finished article, and even then he’d buy SW minifigs on their own if he could. He wants a Jabba’s Palace like mine (MOC’d with 2 sets and a few odd bits), but he wants to be able to buy one like that, not have to create one. For me, they are not into what Lego is (or was) about. Kids generally seem to lack an attention span these days, they haven’t got the patience to sit there with a pile of parts and just make something of their own design.

    I think we also need to be careful about how we define creativity. I have seen my kids creatively play with Lego in two different ways.
    - there is creatively building with Lego something on your own
    - there is creatively playing with a Lego product after one has created it

    Both are forms of creativity and who is to say one is better than the other. The amount of in depth pretend play my kids hit with built Lego products was quite extreme.

    The later way of playing has nothing to do with a lack of attention span. In fact both require quite the attention span. My son as a 3 year old would play daily with the Atlantis sets he had built, acting outing fantastical imaginary adventures for long periods of time.

    My kids also creatively build as well, but both are equivalent forms of creativity.

    As for Minecraft, the items I have seen kids create are fairly astounding. I am not sure what it is about minecraft, but when they can build an entire world they can now interact with their friends on, I can see the huge appeal.
  • PaperbackwriterPaperbackwriter Member Posts: 105
    It's under priced if it sells out immediately creating an inflated price in the secondary market (41999). It's over priced if you have to discount it to move unsold inventory. It's not over priced simply because it breaks my budget. Is higher pricing a negative when collecting? Anything other than 'free' may inhibit collecting to some extent. That's why many of us don't have car collections like Jay Leno's or Reggie Jackson's.

    And, yes, I pay RRP for Lego. I sat in a lot of classrooms and worked a lot of hours over the years to get to the point where I don't worry about retail pricing. Do I buy retired sets that cost two or three grand? No. But I'll pay $600 or $700 for a nice used 10190.

    I guess it depends on what shapes your paradigm and where you are in life. I'm sure if I was in my 30s and raising a family, I wouldn't be spending as much on retired Lego sets.

    Who knows, when some of you are my age you may be paying thousands for some of the early Kindles or other electronic gadgets.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    ^I don’t think 41999 was underpriced for what it was. It was under supplied and sold as such with the “limited edition” tag. If there’d been 100,000 out there, or if it hadn’t been advertised as limited, they wouldn’t have commanded the immediate inflated aftermarket prices.
  • PaperbackwriterPaperbackwriter Member Posts: 105
    Yes, but there weren't 100,000. And it wasn't only advertised as limited, it was limited. If there were 100,000 of the new McLaren sports car in inventory, my local dealer wouldn't be proposing a $3560 a month lease payment.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,813
    Depends how you perceive value. As a Lego set that Lego was selling at RRP, it wasn't astoundingly good value next to the 4 x 4 crawler. A little better, worth buying it over the crawler when placed side-by-side at the same price.

    Only make 20,000 of them though and suddenly people are willing to pay 2.5 x RRP, literally days after release, when you can't get it from [email protected] any more. TLG created that situation by making it rarer than similar sets. From a retail perspective at least, it was not under priced.

    TLG would have been called all the names under the sun if they started selling £140 sets for £300 because of a rarity they created. Some people always want to be the first to have something - some TC-4 Polys sold from HK at $80 each because they were the first to be available.

    When demand exceeds supply, we know that the prices do go up in the aftermarket. As an item on a shelf in your B&M Lego shop, it was not underpriced while it was available there.
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited February 2014
    CCC said:

    ^ It would be interesting to know how well the minecraft lego sets are doing, in that respect. To me they are really boring, very limited and too small. Yet especially the first one seemed to sell well. I wonder how kids have found actually playing with them.

    My 9yr old LOVED getting the Lego Minecraft set (just the first one) for his birthday in Jan. He loved building it, and now it sits on his desk untouched for a month. The actual play value on the set is really dismal. I think people fall in love with the idea of the set more than the set itself.

    And as for Minecraft, my 9yr old plays it on the XBox way more than he does his Lego (as his video-time allocation allows), especially when he can play with friends online. The pallet in that thing is so damn alluring, and his creations are beyond what I thought he'd ever do. The same goes with my 5yr old. The worlds those kids create in there is amazing, especially seeing them feel scared when night approaches and they hunker down for the night in their compounds, safe from zombies and spiders, or when they feel sad when one of their ocelots die. I can see virtual reality systems being the norm in the coming years, and where does that leave Lego? This is why I've always thought the holodeck would be humanity's last invention.

    What's my point? My boys would save their allowance for new Minecraft skins, games on the PC, and all sorts of stuff way before they'd save up for a Lego set these days. Sometimes I think the only reason we have any Lego in our house is only because of me.

    Oh, and +1 to the Bigtrak reference. I recently brought out mine from cold-storage this xmas for the boys to play with. What an awesome toy that was. I still need to get the trailer.
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