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Price of LEGO - Thoughts

tom1994tom1994 UKMember Posts: 2
I started collecting Lego earlier this year - I’m loving it so far and have started a fairly decent collection (whilst putting somewhat of a dent in my wallet!). But I started thinking about the sales price of Lego when the new Architecture and Speed Champion 2020 sets were announced. Both of these carry a substantial increase in price compared with their 2019 counterparts. 

I can justify Speed Champions because these sets are now wider than before, and therefore look much better, however it just got me thinking about how much we could be spending on Lego sets in the next 5 years. 

So does anyone have any thoughts on this, or is anyone concerned about possible future price increases? Do you think it
s justifiable if the sets continue to improve (eg Speed Champs). I’d be interested to hear what Modular collectors have to say, considering the first building cost £90, and the 2020 model costs £150.  

Comments

  • FinaldeathFinaldeath UKMember Posts: 22
    Modular wise the first one was out so many years ago, so the pricing is mostly in line with inflation given the increase in parts. I'm always looking for deals on the bigger sets, or at least something like Smyths 20% off anything which takes the edge off. For some of them I'd also look second hand if you're not too bothered about getting it immediately.

    Patience with collecting larger amounts of sets is the virtue you need for sure!
    datsunrobbieJackad7
  • CharmiefcbCharmiefcb SydneyMember Posts: 325
    I can only speak for the small Australian market but here goes.
    Speed Champions individual cars have only gone up $6 a set which I think is reasonable seeing we get a more detailed model and more pieces.

    Architecture hasn't gone up that much. Dubai and Tokyo skylines are the same price sets with similar piece counts.

    The modulars actually go up and down in price depending on what it is. Town Hall was AU$300, Palace Cinema was $200, Detectives Office $230 etc and so on.  Bookstore is $50 cheaper than Corner Garage if I recall correctly.
    For what you get I think the price is fair. Lego is a quality product and will do what they can if you run into problems.
    That said some price increases are a bit questionable like Poes new X Wing. It's a jump from 2018s OT X Wing which had more in the box to what looks to be a set with a smaller piece count. I'm just going off what I see with the naked eye as someone not so heavily into Lego as us would as these sets are side by side on store shelves at the moment. I haven't actually looked at piece counts etc.

    Another thing we don't know how it affects the price point is how much Lego pays for the rights to use certain properties.
    tom1994
  • M1J0EM1J0E Calgary, ABMember Posts: 640
    I’d posted this before but just recall as a kid (going back 30 years now), a 'large' set would've had 400-500 pieces & cost $40-$50.  Nowadays that same size set costs the same amount (in today's much less valuable dollars) so we would consider that a small to medium set today, with improvements in system to have much more detail & improved building techniques requiring more, albeit often smaller, pieces.  I grant they also save a little on packaging nowadays, whereas vintage sets of even a couple hundred pieces had nice plastic inner trays, & flip top boxes.  Small sets that at one time would've been boxed for 50 or less pieces are now a polybag.

    Someone also pointed out that economies of scale can have a big impact as more sets are distributed.  So while I think it ‘feels’ like Lego gets more expensive, obviously true when the price itself increases, I think they try to mitigate increases in actual $$ with providing more detail & more pieces as you’ve seen in Speed Champions, so over time the price increases aren’t as much as you might otherwise think.
    FizyxKungFuKenny7BS
  • maaaaaaamaaaaaaa Left, right and centerMember Posts: 8
    IIRC in some articles or videos also mentioned that some price hikes in recent years could also be to allow stores instant and/or more substantial discounts while protecting the margins. 

    Also, a product should never be cheap(ish) if it should appear and feel valuable.
    FizyxPyrobug
  • sklambsklamb speaker of American EnglishMember Posts: 497
    On the whole, if you compare apples to apples Lego remains a reasonable value for money. Speed Champions, for example, never raised any price over its entire range until the basic car size was redesigned, and we don't know yet how much (if at all) the larger sets will be affected by that change. City, Creator, and Friends are slowly raising the prices of their very smallest sets, but their more expensive ones are holding steady. There are IMO two things that make Lego in 2019 seem more expensive to collect than it was in 2004 when I came out of my Dark Ages--first, there seem to be more and larger Direct To Customer sets, so I'm having to pick and choose rather than buying all the ones I like, and secondly, the cost of licensed sets, especially Star Wars, has taken a definite jump.
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,433
    You also have to factor in the apparent decrease in quality. I question whether it's still a "premium" toy.
    madforLEGO
  • daewoodaewoo TexasMember Posts: 466
    You also have to factor in the apparent decrease in quality. I question whether it's still a "premium" toy.
    I don't know if there is an actual decline in the quality of the manufacturing, but the City designs are returning to a bad place, IMHO.  We're back to no doors on vehicles again with some sets very "Juniors" in look and feel, even though they aren't labeled as such.  I am not happy about this.
    MCNwakeboardmadforLEGO
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 2,946
    One of the kids brushed past (and I do mean brushed - the model as a whole didn't move) the flip up part of the cockpit of the UCS Imperial Shuttle #10212 and it fell to bits. Putting it back together, the white sloped blocks that make up the majority of the assembly have very poor clutch to each other and other pieces in the assembly. Not something I've noticed previously.
  • panchox1panchox1 The Outer RimMember Posts: 482
    One of the kids brushed past (and I do mean brushed - the model as a whole didn't move) the flip up part of the cockpit of the UCS Imperial Shuttle #10212 and it fell to bits. Putting it back together, the white sloped blocks that make up the majority of the assembly have very poor clutch to each other and other pieces in the assembly. Not something I've noticed previously.

    there is another thread where people discuss how sets that remain assembled for long periods of time tend to loose clutch power. Perhaps that is what happened? Based on this, when I took down my winter village, I decided to take it completely apart. brick by brick before storing it all.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,278
    My colloquial experience is that LEGO was extremely expensive in the mid-'80's.  And that System sets were proportionally more expensive than basic/bucket bricks.  

    LEGO, likely reflecting the current market, has a focus on themed sets, and does not produce as many basic brick sets.  As I recall, LEGO has higher margins on basic bricks, so it's certainly market-driven adjustment.

    I'd also posit that far more research and development goes into design and production of modern sets.  It's not just stock photos of the set or bricks...
    M1J0EMynattFizyxcatwrangler
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 287
    edited December 2019
    I've messed around with the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, and while I often complain about LEGO price increases (and my absolute disdain for 4+, but that's a different story), LEGO wasn't a whole lot cheaper back then without factoring inflation, which means it's a whole lot more expensive today. But, I will admit, the quality of the pieces in the inexpensive older LEGO sets (mostly Technic) that I have purchased) is much better. And clutch higher. 

    But the $4-5 price for the Collectible Minifigure line is bonkers! 
  • windjammerwindjammer Newcastle, UKMember Posts: 46
    The increasing RRPs is one side of this discussion. The other is the massive discounting that other stores offer, even on new sets.

    For example, in 2019 TLM2 and Hidden Side sets were 33% off at Amazon (and other retailers) within weeks of them being launched. I don't know if this is just those themes that were selling poorly, or whether it happens with all themes.  And is this commonplace with other (not Lego) products? 

    Surely with the percieved high RRPs and immediate discounting, this will just hurt Lego retail, because people will choose to buy elsewhere.

  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 597
    I would say 33% off isn’t the norm at Amazon and Walmart, but 20% off certainly is for most of the sets I’ve tracked and/or purchased. The exceptions are the bigger sets. Those are much trickier to find at discount. In addition to the D2C stuff, some other recent examples of sets I never see on sale are the Hogwarts Great Hall and the 20th Anniversary Slave I.
    KungFuKenny
  • M1J0EM1J0E Calgary, ABMember Posts: 640
    cody6268 said:
    LEGO wasn't a whole lot cheaper back then without factoring inflation, which means it's a whole lot more expensive today.

    But the $4-5 price for the Collectible Minifigure line is bonkers! 
    If the absolute price of LEGO hasn’t increased much, if I’m understanding your post right, wouldn’t that make it much cheaper today relatively speaking?  Agreed on the collectible mini figs.  I thought I might finally get into them with the DC line (though I’d bought a couple of the Disney 1 ones on clearance) but standing in walmart feeling bags to try to decide what to spend $5 on just doesn’t do it for me.
    SumoLegodatsunrobbie
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,278
    M1J0E said:
    If the absolute price of LEGO hasn’t increased much, if I’m understanding your post right, wouldn’t that make it much cheaper today relatively speaking?
    Yes.

    But people don't like to acknowledge that a product is historically cheaper.  Then there is less to complain about.

    If Super Mario Bros. 3 for NES was $49.99 in 1988, and Zelda - Breath of the Wild is $59.99 in 2017...


    Then I have nothing to complain about when it comes to video game prices...
    BumblepantsM1J0EFizyxMynattstluxKungFuKenny
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,492
    I find video games (except some exceptions due to trends) tend to be cheap, in part because gamers can be very entitled, and sometimes have no idea that making video games is actual work that deserves compensation.
    Toc13Snizzlebutts
  • M1J0EM1J0E Calgary, ABMember Posts: 640
    ^ thanks, I hadn’t thought about using the comparison of video games either, but it is the same type of thing as Lego, and you lay out a perfect example.  Obviously there are many variables that go into the inflation calculator, and I’ll be the first to say that wages haven’t kept pace in the modern era either.  But I maintain that if an item’s price has increased by less than what it would otherwise cost predicted by inflation, then it’s actually gotten relatively cheaper over time.  

    I’ll also stand up & reiterate conversation from earlier.  If you can go through the toy department, look at what every other company puts out for boxes of plastic garbage for the same $50, it does bring a new perspective to the quality & value of Lego.
    Fizyx
  • The_RancorThe_Rancor Dorset, UKMember Posts: 1,324
    I think overall pricing is something many of us just get used to, but when really crazy prices come along it doesn’t go unnoticed. I’m talking the £35 Resistance windscreen (escape pod) and the £30 table with some characters (Unikitty Party Time). As long as TLG don’t get too carried away with these then it’s just something we deal with.
  • ReesesPiecesReesesPieces Member Posts: 951
    edited January 2
    Fauch said:
    I find video games (except some exceptions due to trends) tend to be cheap, in part because gamers can be very entitled, and sometimes have no idea that making video games is actual work that deserves compensation.
    Things that are based on technology, like video games, counter inflation due to such high advancements that greatly reduce the production costs.  Computers (and parts) and TVs are other good examples that counter inflation due to lower costs in tech.  In other words, I dont think video game prices are low because gamers are entitled.  😊
    SumoLegoSnizzlebutts
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,278
    ReesesPieces said:
    ...I dont think video game prices are low because gamers are entitled.  😊
    I'm starting to get the impression that LEGO AFOLs may fall in this category...
    560Heliport
  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 597
    Fauch said:
    I find video games (except some exceptions due to trends) tend to be cheap, in part because gamers can be very entitled, and sometimes have no idea that making video games is actual work that deserves compensation.
    Things that are based on technology, like video games, counter inflation due to such high advancements that greatly reduce the production costs.  Computers (and parts) and TVs are other good examples that counter inflation due to lower costs in tech.  In other words, I dont think video game prices are low because gamers are entitled.  😊
    Development of the games themselves, particularly AAA titles, certainly costs MORE now than it used to. A big title costs more to produce than many blockbuster films. $50-100MM isn’t a rare budget range for a single game.
  • RecceRecce Tiny Little Red DotMember Posts: 919
    The inflation calculator for video games is flawed because it's too simplistic.

    Games of yesteryears are expensive because of the cartridge ROMs, meaning the BOM cost itself is already there no matter the development cost. 

    Second, back then all game systems use vastly different hardware platforms with their own specific development tools. If you try to port a game from Megadrive to Snes, you're practically rewriting the game code from scratch. Nowadays everything is streamlined with unified development tools, compatible resources and libraries that once you write a game for PS4, it can easily be ported to XBox etc.

    It makes no sense to use the inflation calculator without understanding the underlying nature of the product or the industry you're comparing with. 

    Comparing Lego bricks with video games is also apples against oranges. Video games once created can be duplicated in millions of copies with minimum cost to each copy, you can't do that for Lego bricks which had a minimum BOM cost due to the physical bricks.

    Video games, like movies and computer software, can be pirated fairly easily by consumers, unlike products like Lego, this means they have already marked up the pricings to reflect the possible loss of profit due to piracy. Which is why even if a studio spent 200 millions to make a movie, even if there are rampant illegal downloads of their movies, they still made hundreds and thousands of millions of dollars.

    The thing going for Lego bricks when it comes to reducing cost throughout the years would be:

    1. Economies of scale (i.e. mass production), the bigger the production volume, the lower the cost for each copy. In the 80s and 90s, it obviously costs more for TLG to produce a product due to lower economies of scale compared to now.

    2. Low labour cost, like how in the last 10 years or so TLG shifted to countries that had very low labour cost to offset their production cost and increase their profit margin.

    3. Shipping cost. It may be cheaper to ship out from China or Mexico than from any EU country due to stricter requirements needed for the latter.

    3. Product quality. Believe it or not, a slight reduction in QA control at the factory can increase the yield rate at production which in turn boosts the profit. 

    One way of determining whether a company's product is overpriced or not is to see their annual P&L figures. Check Apple, Microsoft, and all other successful companies, do you think they arrived at the current state by selling cheap products for the past 30 years?

    Another way of comparison is against similar products at similar price range. Example, a $50 Lego brick set versus a $50 Oxford brick set (one made in China the other made in Korea). How many bricks are you getting for the price, are the bricks of good quality etc. You can even compare with a $50 Transformer or chogokin robot, though it will be more of an individual's preference than anything else.

    In short, there are lots of factors affecting a product's pricing and whether the product is deemed overpriced or not over the years, that a simple inflation calculator simply cannot capture. 
    M1J0EjnscoelhoDiggydoescatwrangler
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,492
    tons of competition would be one reason for most games being cheap, piracy would be another, for some games, where they think if the price is low enough, some people may buy instead of pirating.
    as for entitled players, players who pirate, players complaining about "greedy game devs" can convince a lot of devs to undersell. though they can also push others to rely more and more on whales.
  • cody6268cody6268 Member Posts: 287
    edited January 3
    M1J0E said:
    cody6268 said:
    LEGO wasn't a whole lot cheaper back then without factoring inflation, which means it's a whole lot more expensive today.

    But the $4-5 price for the Collectible Minifigure line is bonkers! 
    If the absolute price of LEGO hasn’t increased much, if I’m understanding your post right, wouldn’t that make it much cheaper today relatively speaking?  Agreed on the collectible mini figs.  I thought I might finally get into them with the DC line (though I’d bought a couple of the Disney 1 ones on clearance) but standing in walmart feeling bags to try to decide what to spend $5 on just doesn’t do it for me.
    Danged ADHD. Got it wrong. From what I'm seeing, the cost of LEGO is roughly the same back then as it is now, meaning a lot more expensive back then. A $20 set back in the 1980s-1990s was a lot. Probably explains why my Dad didn't have any LEGO (despite it being sold in stores around here in the '70s and '80s), but I did. Heck, even grocery stores carried it in the late 1990s and into the early 2000s. 
    M1J0E
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,278
    edited January 4
    Recce said:
    The inflation calculator for video games is flawed because it's too simplistic.
    It's meant to be simplistic.  Saying LEGO 'feels' more expensive doesn't have a comprehensive analysis behind it, either.

    If something costs 'A' in 1985, and the same product costs 'A' in 2020, the simple conclusion (or the anecdotal conclusion) is that comparatively, the product is cheaper.

    Or more importantly, temper the bellyaching...
    stlux
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