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Well, I was very surprised to see the Taj Mahal getting a rerelease. They kept that quiet.
Obviously, there is a positive effect of anyone unable to get it when it first came out or who cannot afford the secondary market prices can now get one (if they have hundreds of pounds to spare - it is still not cheap).
Those who have a few of these sets in storage and wanted to make a huge profit from selling MISB will now be longer able to make quite as much I imagine, but that's the problem with a speculative market like Lego anyway.
I do feel (a bit) for those who like the 'desirability' of a set, and that they have a piece of history which cannot be replaced, and yes - exclusivity has a certain cachet. But they do have the original, it's theirs and they've had it for all this time. To want others to not have a copy just so they can feel a bit smug* - I'm not sure I agree with that sentiment.
Finally, the 'slot' used for this model could have gone to a different, new model - but I'm not sure it would have, as this is a straight redo of the old one, so no new parts, no new design, no new testing or production changes (except to crank up on the white I suppose). The only investment Lego did before releasing this is a bit of market research (presumably). Let's hope they did it right.
I'd feel awful if I bought it recently on the after market at a hugely inflated price though.
* please insert a better word here if you can find it. I couldn't think of one...
Someone was very unhappy yesterday:
Someone seems to have overlooked that LEGO is in the business of selling as much product at the highest margins the market will demand. They don't produce 'collectors items'. Which, by the way, is a total pile of marketing jargon to identify something as a 'collector's item'.
And the fact he seems to have missed that most of the elements of the CC are included in AS.
It will of course depend on stock levels. If LEGO makes loads and they do not sell, they will have to discount. It might be that they make less than they would have otherwise have done to satisfy current demand for say two years and leave it at that. Whereas if resellers were actively buying, they could have sold more in the two year period, which feeds into the demand during the retirement period.
I would love to know as a % of September 14th sales of the MF;
How many have been purchased by Lego fans and actually built them?
How many have been snapped up by resellers and flipped for a quick profit?
How many have been purchased by “Lego fans” and collected / stored for a long term profit?
With this in mind Lego have sent a very clear message to the latter two of what they can do at any time, with any set, no matter how long ago it was retired. Hence why the news of this Taj Mahal release was so hush hush..
The only problem is that a lot of Lego fans including on Fansites are actually a mixture of the first and third in general for Lego, and this type of Lego fan is the one that this Taj Mahal news has niggled the most.
This type of Lego fan is also one that more than likely spends the most directly with Lego..
How many have been snapped up by "Lego fans" and flipped for a quick profit?
It wouldn't surprise me if some (real) lego fans (who don't consider themselves resellers, scalpers, whatever you want to call it) buy one, sell it for a substantial short term profit and then buy again when it is more readily available.
And the middle one is the one that damages lego most - if resellers buy out all stock of a high demand current set it makes lego look bad, with so much put into advertising a set that buyers cannot buy. Yet this is the most likely way to profit from a set like this these days - don't invest for the long term, instead quick flip current sets that are short stocked by LEGO.
Even before the concept of AFOL's and Adults sets this was the case. When I was a kid Lego cost more than cheaper toys but my mum would say "Lego lasts you can pass in down once your done with it.
How does Lego get people to pay £650 for a Lego set, by have perceived value. If you have it in your head that a UCS MF cost thousands then hundreds seems like a good deal.
Lego also does well from collecting, the I need to have them all mindset. I think by making lines too large and having too many large sets Lego are oversaturating the market. If a line has 6 sets you might try and buy them all but if you feel its impossible to buy them all you might only get a couple and Lego loss sales by having too much choice. Also if a 3000 piece set is normal then you don't get excited about it.
How many of us buy a set because we might want it one day and we don't want to miss out because the after market price becomes too high. If aftermarket prices become too reasonable and if the best sets get remade ever few years then I can just wait.
Lego do profit from the after market and that's before you even consider people buying Lego just to resell. I think Lego are really harming the long term AFOL market.
I don't own the Taj Mahal and I am not a reseller so I don't have a vested interest. But I am a collector and a completest and after this year I will be changing the way I buy Lego because I can no longer complete a lot of my collection and Lego have harmed the collecting side with rereleases.
Lego got a lot more of my money this year then I intended but the consequences will be they will get a lot less next year. And I wonder how many people will have the same reaction. I think the Lego bubble is just about to burst.
And to end with a bold prediction, you will still be able to buy a Taj Mahal the day after its released unlike the MF.
Will the Taj redo (looking completely unaltered) really appeal like the MF? How many people only wanted it because of its aftermarket value which will now be shot?
Lego are dicing with the one thing that makes their higher end product seem reasonable value at RRP - resale value. A £650 MF seems reasonable to buy on the assumption that if you get sick of the room it is taking up a few years after retirement, you could get most of your money back (if not all and then some), used and complete. Lets also not forget that in the main, the new MF is a big improvement on the old one.
The "new" Taj looks pretty much a verbatim copy - lazy.
Awesome, Papabear for the prediction, holy smokes!
I love how we are anticipating a CC rerelease as well.
Overall trend is set! TY LEPIN!
Is there a thread dedicated for notifying Brickset about tagging rereleases? I think the 10240 Red Five and the 75144 Snowspeeder should also get this tag.
I won't argue about System format sets whose content always get a new reiteration every couple of years. That's a discussion/debate for another thread and may require a separate 'Rerelease' tag, don't want to derail this one. Although it would be nice to see the various Police HQs/Fire Stations/SW AT-ATs released over the years, for example. With proper tagging I suppose this is redundant, its just another way.
No chance that there are PLENTY of people who have no "Lego loyalty" - and see the bricks as little more than plastic parts, and if they can get seemingly identical ones for half the price, they'll happily buy them?
Inflated aftermarket prices are no advantage to LEGO whatsoever. Most people buying are on a budget of some level, aftermarket sellers are directly competing with LEGO for that limited budget. An aftermarket sale represents at least one and on average probably several missed sales for LEGO. LEGO can't simply raise prices endlessly because Lepin etc are carving out their sales at the cheaper end of the market which is still a more important area of the market to them than collectors or AFOLs. They are getting more aggressive with re-releases because they feel under threat now from the combination. They can't cater to people who want higher prices and rarer sets because they are a mass market company with large production volumes with extensive infrastructure to support that. I expect them to get increasingly aggressive with re-releases until the aftermarket tumbles and they claw back some sales from Lepin.
I've also CONSIDERED Lepin. It is very tempting. Probably the only thing that stops me is that I don't care to reward that kind of behaviour....it's not because I want to "support Lego". IMHO, Lego "sold out" when they started putting so much emphasis on the various mass-media-based sets. In some ways, I don't like Lego any more than I like Lepin.
I won't get into further details about its' use, since we are all guilty of sometimes not getting that right! ;-)
LEGO produced a certain number of them, they sold them and they retired the set. You didn't buy it when LEGO sold it so you didn't use the primary market. If a reseller hadn't bought the one you later bought from him, you would not have been able to get your hands on a set - LEGO made a certain number and they were all sold. You might argue that the reseller depleted LEGO's stock by buying one for resale, and that it would have been available for a "real lego fan" to buy so it would have been in stock longer. I don't believe that, as it would have sold to another person at the time, and probably been opened and build removing it from the available secondary market stock. You may hate the secondary market and resellers, but in this case you were only able to get hold of a set you wanted because of a reseller. They provide a service to future buyers, which buyers decide to take advantage of, even if at a higher financial cost to the buyer - obviously it is not done altruistically.
Then I would simply do without. It wouldn't be the end of the world.
Tower Bridge is one I definitely want - but I am in no hurry to get it. I'm hoping for a sale. But if I see it flip to "last chance" or "retiring soon", then I will probably buy it that same day.
I am guessing it was selling ok as it got an updated box so I don't think they are just selling off old stock.
It will be interesting to see how long all these big sets hand around, if we get anywhere near the number of large sets next year some will surly have to go.
They make money from volume sales not customised parts orders. Having to have either a human or a robot pick one part from here and one part from here is obviously not cost effective at what would be considered normal set prices. They seem to be at capacity for fulfilling sets. There is no capacity for just in time manufacturing as this would divert capacity from their major sales. I also imagine they can fulfill many more of their own high volume sets than they can individuals' custom sets and hence have no reason to divert away from their core sales.
There is also the existing online pick a brick and bricks and pieces services, which provide a similar service just not as user friendly. The prices in these show how expensive it is to get single parts picked and packed. Try pricing up a set through BnP and you'll realise how expensive it can be.
Plus, of course, there will be loads of complaints that people cannot buy the specific parts that they want to assemble their own (insert license here) set.
If there are not resellers, you only have the option of doing without.
If there are resellers, you have the option of buying from the secondary market or doing without.
If it is not the end of the world if you cannot buy X at all, then clearly it is no worse if you can buy X, even if you have to pay a higher price than the original RRP.
As for production runs...they're already making bricks. Leaving out the potential need for brand new piece designs for brand new sets for a minute....you can use big data (data science) to predict and forecast required inventory levels for every piece based on historical order/sales levels, and produce pieces when levels get too low - with enough "safety margin" to allow you to do brick production runs of sufficient quantity to be economical (while simultaneously doing everything you can to lower the # of bricks required to make a run economical). So your primary "runs" are producing bricks for your brick warehouse.
Your secondary runs are converting brick stores into ordered sets. You can apply the same techniques to that, to either produce small runs of sets on speculation (the data tell you they will sell) AND/OR to indicate to customers who order a particular set, when that set will be shipped (which may be a bit out) - so that you can collect enough orders for a set to then do that secondary run (turning brick stores into brick sets) in the most economical fashion possible. Combine all THAT with a "no boxes for made-to-order sets" policy AND a "download your instructions from our site using your special key code delivered with your set" policy to reduce costs AND Amazon-warehouse style robotics - and you have a chance to make a go of it. I think there is at least the POTENTIAL to use this approach to lower costs. If Lego can lower its costs, it can lower its prices without sacrificing margin, and help it defend against the likes of Lepin.
But that approach requires a real change of mindset, and enough vision and belief to make the investment required. But similar things have been done. For example, Apple's investment in supply chain vision doesn't get the credit that it should, but it absolutely was a major factor in the turn-around of the company. That's what Tim Cook was brought in to do - and he was Jobs' hand-picked successor for CEO as a result of the success he achieved in supply chain leadership.