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what determines when a set gets retired?

gelkstergelkster MN, USAMember Posts: 574
edited May 3 in Collecting
A friend on Brickset who doesn't use these forums asked me. I have no idea but figured someone here would! He's specifically after Architecture sets.

Comments

  • klintonklinton CanadaMember Posts: 1,030
    I've always assumed that sets have predetermined production runs prior to release, based on data from their marketing team. This is why some sets disappear really quickly while others seem to linger. It depends on how close to their projected targets the sales are. I'd imagine there's a bit of wiggle room in their production schedule to add extra runs to sets that sell exceedingly well, which is why we see some sets hang around for many years.

    SumoLego
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,675
    Typically it is about 2 years. Two years seems to be the typical run of a set, with varying factors possibly mixed in, like @klinton commented on, but two years seems to be the run for most themes. Modular sets used to be about 4-5 years, but now have varied. Even then it is about 2 years at least. So I would say the average is you have about 2 years to buy a set, but as I always say if you want one a set, buy one sooner than later. 

  • PaperballparkPaperballpark UK / KLMember Posts: 3,620
    klinton said:
    I've always assumed that sets have predetermined production runs prior to release, based on data from their marketing team. This is why some sets disappear really quickly while others seem to linger. It depends on how close to their projected targets the sales are. I'd imagine there's a bit of wiggle room in their production schedule to add extra runs to sets that sell exceedingly well, which is why we see some sets hang around for many years.

    Basically this, but add in that TLG will track the sales figures for each set. If sets sell significantly better than expected (see Tower Bridge, VW Camper, Parisian Restaurant etc) then they'll extend the expected retirement date until sales of it start to reduce. If sets sell worse than expected (e.g. Town Hall), then it'll be retired earlier than expected.
  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 309
     They’re going to have some very interesting decisions to make this year. All of their normal sales models and production and distribution timelines are going to be way off. Seems like they’re probably throwing in additional runs of the big sets, based on lots of “Temporarily Out of Stock” on things that might normally retire this year. Assembly Square being one good example.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,675
    edited May 3
    autolycus said:
     They’re going to have some very interesting decisions to make this year. All of their normal sales models and production and distribution timelines are going to be way off. Seems like they’re probably throwing in additional runs of the big sets, based on lots of “Temporarily Out of Stock” on things that might normally retire this year. Assembly Square being one good example.

    It will be interesting. Some sets may already be out of production and LEGO had enough to last the rest of the year, in which case they may be gone for good if they were in their last year of production and production stopped. While LEGO may restart a production on a set or two if there is enough demand I think those decisions are made long before Jan1st. Then throw in the production demands for 2020 sets which were likely backlogged due to Covid-19 and then the reconfiguration for when they were making face shields.
    autolycusgmonkey76
  • GremerGremer The Commonwealth of VirginiaMember Posts: 182
    It seems to me that Star Wars sets tend to have a lifespan of about 1 - 1 and a half years, maybe two years in rare cases. UCS sets are almost always at least two years, unless they sell incredibly poorly.

    I have no real idea, but I'm guessing it might be due to the number of new sets that are released each year. Star Wars gets a lot of sets per wave, so they can only run production on one set for so long before they need to switch to another. And if a set sells incredibly poorly (Cloud City), it doesn't last very long.
  • CharmiefcbCharmiefcb SydneyMember Posts: 257
    I've noticed some Star Wars sets have a minimum lifespan of 6 months. EG Death Star Escape wasn't around very long before they retired it. Even the Juniors X Wing wasn't on the shelves very long.
    Take note I am also talking about what I see in my market which is very small compared to other markets.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,595
    I've noticed some Star Wars sets have a minimum lifespan of 6 months. EG Death Star Escape wasn't around very long before they retired it. 
    Maybe in Australia. In the UK, it was available at lego.com for over a year. US was about 11 months. 
  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 309
    The smaller sets will always have shorter lifespans than longer ones. The design cycle is shorter. They're also often given as gifts, so it's nice having a good turnover in those cheaper price ranges so kids are inundated with a bunch of the same thing from one year to the next.
    catwrangler
  • chrisalddinchrisalddin UKMember Posts: 3,007
    "what determines when a set gets retired?"

    well that's the 1.000.000.000.000 question.... that i am willing to bet even 90% of lego's own staff dont know.

    autolycus
  • autolycusautolycus US-SEMember Posts: 309
    autolycus said:
    The smaller sets will always have shorter lifespans than longer ones. The design cycle is shorter. They're also often given as gifts, so it's nice having a good turnover in those cheaper price ranges so kids are inundated with a bunch of the same thing from one year to the next.
    so kids are NOT inundated with the same thing year after year.
  • chrisalddinchrisalddin UKMember Posts: 3,007
    i think the biger set's end up staying around longer so that the Kid's (the old ones to :) "aka AFOL you know like US" can save up to buy them.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 12,877
    I think it is based on relative production costs, value above replacement, QBR, slugging percentage, profit per set, marketplace feedback, if the set number is divisible by the weekly salary of the designer (pre-tax, but post-healthcare cost) and a ceremonial reading of the entrails of a #75230.
    BumblepantsMexten560Heliportgmonkey76jmeninnoBastycatwranglerdavetheoxygenman
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