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pbegin

LUG statistics in the world

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As heard at the 2012 Brickworld’s opening ceremonies and seminars:

There are 76 LUGs in North America.

As some of you might know, our North American LEGO community representative (Kevin Hinkle) asks every of those LUGs a quarterly report containing some information to help him represent us internally at the LEGO Company. Those are basic information as number of members, latest expos, LUG web sites address, contact information for the LUG, etc.

We were told that few LUGs actually report that information (about 20 out of the 76). Make sure your LUG’s board actually send back the information as they may eventually help us get more goodies. Did you know that LEGO offered a complete DINO set collection for three North American LUGs who proposed a display concept a few months ago? Do you know there currently is a contest for some mosaic artworks (theme: four seasons) for display at the Enfield head office?

Anyway, here are some statistics that were reported (and probably “guesstimated” at a certain point), but still very interesting on the world of AFOL in the world:

There are 160 LUGs in the world, totalling 130 000 members, organizing 300 events in a year.

Geographically:

Region: NA – Europe - Asia

LUG: 68% - 30% - 2%

Member: 4% - 18% - 78%

Event: 50% - 37% - 13%

North American LUGs are small but interact the most with the public.

2% of the LUGs are in Asia, but represent 78% of the AFOLs

Asia offers an enormous potential for the coming years. Those Asian LUGs still do not participate in the LUGBulk program, imagine when they will?

QuéLUG's president

LEGO Ambassador

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Wow!!! 130,000 LUG members worldwide!!!

I just had a news reporter from Pittsburgh contact me on on Friday and was asking about the total number of AFOLs in the world, and I told him that that number was not really known, but I estimated that it was likely over 100,000. But with just the LUG members numbering well over the figure I quoted, the true total number of AFOLs is likely several times that figure.

Back when I first got involved with RTL and LUGNET back in the late 1990s, the known number was more liike several thousand... and it appears to have grown exponentially!

Hmmm... time to refocus the marketing of my LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide.... default_blink.gif

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I don't mean to seem out of the loop but I have always wondered exactly what LUG is? Maybe there is a thread I have missed somewhere detailing it. Anyway I hope that this is not a stupid question, I just want to understand these stats better!

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Anyway, here are some statistics that were reported (and probably “guesstimated” at a certain point), but still very interesting on the world of AFOL in the world:

Thanks for the stats, pbegin! It's good to have some neat figures to grasp the extent of our hobby and the global impact of AFOLs. The international distribution of LUG members is surprising to say the least. Is there no data for Oceania/Australia, or were they aggregated with Asia?

I don't mean to seem out of the loop but I have always wondered exactly what LUG is? Maybe there is a thread I have missed somewhere detailing it. Anyway I hope that this is not a stupid question, I just want to understand these stats better!

LEGO Users Group -- or fan group. We have a Glossary for all the LEGO-related acronyms you may come across on EB. :classic:

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Thanks Fugazi for the heads up! Those numbers are pretty ridiculous when actually knowing what they stand for! I wonder by how much the AFOL community is still a minority in LEGO purchasing? I am sure it is a lot but last I heard we make up around 7% or 8% of total sales, I bet that number starts increasing over time as well!

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Thanks Fugazi for the heads up! Those numbers are pretty ridiculous when actually knowing what they stand for! I wonder by how much the AFOL community is still a minority in LEGO purchasing? I am sure it is a lot but last I heard we make up around 7% or 8% of total sales, I bet that number starts increasing over time as well!

Officially, the number reported at Brickworld was still 5% of sales from AFOLs. Between you and me, lets speculate the number was 40%, do you think they would report that number to us? We would put them to ransoms at every corner! :-) (I hope I got the verb tenses right).

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There are 76 LUGs in North America.

I always have a difficult time assessing whether LUGs are "active" or not-- I think LEGO's "requirements" for a LUG include a certain level of activity and so forth-- do we know which requirements apply to the 76 in question?

There are 160 LUGs in the world, totalling 130 000 members, organizing 300 events in a year.

Hmm... I wonder how much crossover there is in that 130k figure? I know back in Ye Olde Times many people were frequently "members" of many different LUGs. I know in NELUG, we had more than 100 people from as far away as South Africa were were clearly not "really" members of our club.

Otherwise, that's a pretty impressive number! I recall guessing there were in the ballpark of 100,000 of us worldwide, but it seems like the number is probably even bigger!

Geographically:

Region: NA – Europe - Asia

LUG: 68% - 30% - 2%

Member: 4% - 18% - 78%

Event: 50% - 37% - 13%

Hmm... That... seems... odd to me. This is only based on LUG data? That would imply that about 101,000 AFOLs that are LUG members in Asia are all grouped into ... about 3 or 4 LUGs? That's an average of between 25,350 and 33,800 members per LUG? How is LUG membership defined in these clubs such that more than 25,000 people are LUG members?

DaveE

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Hmm... That... seems... odd to me. This is only based on LUG data? That would imply that about 101,000 AFOLs that are LUG members in Asia are all grouped into ... about 3 or 4 LUGs? That's an average of between 25,350 and 33,800 members per LUG? How is LUG membership defined in these clubs such that more than 25,000 people are LUG members?

DaveE

Yeah, I tend to think a zero got thrown on this number somewhere along the line (inadvertently of course). I know one of the LUGs in Japan was in low triple digits. This would make those remaining "average" LUGs even larger.

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Merci Patrick pour les statistiques!

I always have a difficult time assessing whether LUGs are "active" or not-- I think LEGO's "requirements" for a LUG include a certain level of activity and so forth-- do we know which requirements apply to the 76 in question?

I believe the 76 NA LUGs were LUGS that Lego 'knows' about. Which includes: Active LUGs that communicate with LEGO regularly, inactive LUGs that have bit the dust, actively LUGs that LEGO knows are active, but don't communicate with LEGO regularly :look:

Yeah, I tend to think a zero got thrown on this number somewhere along the line (inadvertently of course). I know one of the LUGs in Japan was in low triple digits. This would make those remaining "average" LUGs even larger.

Wasn't South Korea thrown around with a really high LUG membership? like 20k or something crazy?

My memory of Brickworld is a bit hazy at times. :blush:

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Wasn't South Korea thrown around with a really high LUG membership? like 20k or something crazy?

My memory of Brickworld is a bit hazy at times. :blush:

Yes, I remember mention of a single South Korea LUG with ~20k members.

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Wasn't South Korea thrown around with a really high LUG membership? like 20k or something crazy?

My memory of Brickworld is a bit hazy at times. :blush:

Clearly there was not enough alcohol consumed...

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Clearly there was not enough alcohol consumed...

We will have to try harder next year. :drunk:

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Wasn't South Korea thrown around with a really high LUG membership? like 20k or something crazy?

Assuming South Korea had 25k AFOLs, that would mean:

About 1 in 101,677 people in North America is an AFOL

About 1 in 31,588 people in Europe is an AFOL

About 1 in 1,955 people in South Korea is an AFOL

I dunno, it just sounds phenomenally suspicious to me.

DaveE

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Just a quick reply, South Korea indeed got one of the highest amount of LEGO collectors. Just because you don't see them in any English websites or forum does not mean their existence is not there.

Thanks pbegin for sharing this!

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Just a quick reply, South Korea indeed got one of the highest amount of LEGO collectors. Just because you don't see them in any English websites or forum does not mean their existence is not there.

I'm not basing my guess on the fact that I haven't seen their online activity or anything. Basically, looking up population for the country, density, and taking into account their lifestyle should yield a relatively round number estimate for how many I'd think would be there. I might compare to Hong Kong or Japan as potentially similar in nature. My offhand guess for South Korea would've been something like 100-1000 LUG members.

I'd also say that I've never seen any information from LEGO that supports such a large market. LEGO always suggests that the most lucrative country for LEGO is Germany. And I know German fans are pretty active, even though they aren't always on English-speaking sites. But this would suggest that there are roughly 15x as many LEGO hobbyists in South Korea, even though I've never seen anything from the LEGO company catering to the market. I've seen LEGO cater to the USA, Europe, Germany (language-wise), and Japan, as well as a few minor spin-offs here and there. And that suggests to me that those are probably the larger AFOL areas of the world.

I'm honestly curious-- how are you gauging your statement, apparently defending the numbers as reasonable? Do you have corroborating evidence that suggests that the reported numbers are at least close to accurate? I don't mind being wrong, I just haven't seen any evidence to support there being so many "AFOLs" in Asia. My suspicion is that their definition of "AFOL" or "LUG member" is different than ours, so they're reporting something that's not comparable. Either that, or it's a typo or miscommunication. But if there's evidence to support something of a vastly different scale, I'm certainly eager to hear about it.

DaveE

Edited by davee123

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I'm honestly curious-- how are you gauging your statement, apparently defending the numbers as reasonable? Do you have corroborating evidence that suggests that the reported numbers are at least close to accurate? I don't mind being wrong, I just haven't seen any evidence to support there being so many "AFOLs" in Asia. My suspicion is that their definition of "AFOL" or "LUG member" is different than ours, so they're reporting something that's not comparable. Either that, or it's a typo or miscommunication. But if there's evidence to support something of a vastly different scale, I'm certainly eager to hear about it.

The problem is, when you type 'LEGO Korea', in Google, you don't get results that you will desire, is because their culture and way of communicating with one another is through Korean language. To be honest, I don't have any of the link in my bookmarks at the moment and I need to ask someone who I know, if I can meet him up soon.

Korea is the first country in Asia to have Shop@Home direct from TLG. This, reasoning alone indicate a huge potential in the market, whereas other countries in Asia still do not have a bigger market to support. However, I do hope this will change as the first LEGOLAND in Asia is due for opening in Sep 2012 in Malaysia, where it will be able to bring neighbouring countries nearby.

I saw this website, BrickInside, a blog which I had encountered before (she has tons of Paradisa stuff), the built of the Tallest LEGO Tower in Seoul and here. Just need more extra time to find those links. These are just mere indicative evidence. I had seen it in the past 'somewhere', but I am hardly mistaken about it. Could have read it from one of the Asian forum.

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...here is an example: PhilBricksters, a LUG in Manila, Philippines have in its roster 565 members although not all are local. That is quite a number of Koreans being a LUG member considering the number of LUGs in the region... very interesting if that number is true...

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The problem is, when you type 'LEGO Korea', in Google, you don't get results that you will desire, is because their culture and way of communicating with one another is through Korean language.

Yeah, Google probably wouldn't be good for determining those metrics easily. I would expect corroborating evidence to be something like LEGO reporting that AFOL-targeted sets sold 10x or more higher volume in South Korea, or hobbyists in the area that are "in-the-know" confirming the source of their data in a much more in-depth fashion.

Basically, with a number like 30,000 LUG members, it's just so out of whack that I'm imagining one or more of the following:

- They allow kids to be members

- They allow parents of kids to be members

- They have a website with that many registered users, and the users may-or-may not be actual AFOLs, and/or from South Korea

- They had some event with that level of attendance, and considered attendees "members"

- There was a typo or miscommunication in the number reporting

Korea is the first country in Asia to have Shop@Home direct from TLG. This, reasoning alone indicate a huge potential in the market, whereas other countries in Asia still do not have a bigger market to support.

Huh-- I thought Japan was the largest Asian market... I know they already have a version of the LEGO site for Japan (I guess I assumed they had S@H direct, although I wasn't quite clear). They've also got Click-Brick stores (I actually got to go to one back in 2011!), and they've long since had Kabaya promotions, which is Japanese. Also the line of collector books in Japanese, which have been around since... 2003 or so?

Hm. Now I'm curious to go back and re-read some of the annual reports to see if South Korea gets any special mentions in the list of countries with large sales volumes.

Yeah, I've been linked to by BrickInside a few times since... Hm. I guess I'm not sure when. I've seen them before, but I don't really know how big of a following they've got, or what types of people are on their site. I don't know if it's AFOLs, parents, kids, or what-have-you.

...here is an example: PhilBricksters, a LUG in Manila, Philippines have in its roster 565 members although not all are local. That is quite a number of Koreans being a LUG member considering the number of LUGs in the region... very interesting if that number is true...

Hmm... According to the list of Ambassador-contacts, I see listed:

HKLUG (Hong Kong)

Thai Brick Club (Thailand)

BrickInside (South Korea)

T-LUG (Thailand)

Pockyland LUG (Taiwan)

AFOL of Japan (Japan)

TWLUG (Taiwan)

That seems... Odd. At least 5/7 of them look like LUGs, possibly all of them. But the stated percentage was 2% of 160, whereas 5-7 would have been 3% or 4%. So it would seem that at least some of these weren't included in the earlier statistics, and PhilBricksters probably isn't on that list?

Was Kevin the one that compiled this data? Maybe I should just go ask him what the dealy-o is with this data. It seems like there are some interesting points that may need some explanation!

DaveE

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Was Kevin the one that compiled this data? Maybe I should just go ask him what the dealy-o is with this data. It seems like there are some interesting points that may need some explanation!

No. Kev is NA coordinator this was presented by the world wide Community Coordinator.

It sounds extremely high, but a few points:

Officially LUGs can be AFOL and TFOL - they could count as both - thus elevating numbers.

Your point about Germany being a huge market is very true.

But don't confuse LEGO market and AFOLs. They don't necessarily correlate - AFOLs make up (officially) 5% of the market. So it's possible that this could be skewed in some markets...

Not all LUGs participate in the Ambassador programs - much like how some LUGs don't participate in LUGBulk.

Counter example (sorry to be stereotypical but) Koreans love StarCraft, a stadium match can pull over 100k audience. That's three times the reputed LUG number right there. And statistically out of whack relative to the rest of the world. Using the original game as an example, I think something like 4.5 million out of 12M copies of the game sold world wide was in Korea.

I think that it's also possible their LUGs run differently than ours - maybe their LUGs are more like fanclubs? They are still adult fans of LEGO, but not perhaps at the same intensity as some folks on here... Maybe they Korean AFOLs interaction and shows than a more traditional north american model?

Ultimately the number comes from LEGO HQ in Billund, and much like the official AFOL market share number of 5% - you can either believe or not. Not much use over analysing it.

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But don't confuse LEGO market and AFOLs. They don't necessarily correlate - AFOLs make up (officially) 5% of the market. So it's possible that this could be skewed in some markets...

I think it's just that in the past, they typically have correlated, which is why the numbers are so surprising to me. Again, it's not that I necessarily disbelieve the numbers outright, it's just that the numbers as stated go against what we've seen in the past, with strong LEGO purchasing markets lining up with AFOL population, in addition to other factors. I think the reason they've correlated in the past is due in part to nostalgia factor-- IE, areas where LEGO sales were strong 10-20 years prior will produce adults that have nostalgia for LEGO, and that will be drawn to the hobby.

Not all LUGs participate in the Ambassador programs

Oh, I'm mostly surprised that the number of clubs that DO participate in the Ambassador program appears to be LESS than the number of clubs that contributed to the presented data. I would think that most LUGs that participate in the Ambassador program would similarly have statistics for the data collection-- especially since (in theory) clubs are supposed to re-submit their qualifications for Ambassadors (I'm not sure if this is really "enforced" or not)

I think that it's also possible their LUGs run differently than ours - maybe their LUGs are more like fanclubs? They are still adult fans of LEGO, but not perhaps at the same intensity as some folks on here... Maybe they Korean AFOLs interaction and shows than a more traditional north american model?

That's more along the lines of what I'm trying to determine. I guess my discomfort with the statistic is that to me, "AFOL" or "LUG member" has a certain definition, so to say that there are 130,000 of us worldwide somehow implies something that's misleading. So I'd like to understand the composition of that number better (assuming it's not a typo or something). If an "AFOL" or "LUG member" in South Korea means "I enjoy looking at LEGO models, and I've even purchased a few sets for myself", then that's an important caveat, IMO.

Ultimately the number comes from LEGO HQ in Billund, and much like the official AFOL market share number of 5% - you can either believe or not. Not much use over analysing it.

Well, in this case, I think it's a bit simpler than the AFOL market share. The AFOL market share numbers are calculated in many countries by analyzing sales in a variety of venues, combined with customer feedback, surveys, and other market data through 3rd parties. It's a phenomenally complicated value (or so we're led to believe) that I'm comfortable taking on faith.

However, I'm familiar with the "Tell Us About Your LUG" surveys that they do, which is what it sounds like these numbers are based on. Those aren't cross-checked by LEGO with sales or population or ... anything, really. They just ask "how many members do you have?", and we say "we've got 100 members", and they accept that. So, in this case, it could very well be a single contact that's reporting these numbers, and LEGO is taking them on good faith. I'm not aware of any market data analysis on those figures by LEGO, which, again, is why I was asking who compiled the data, so I might be able to verify with them.

Anyway, I don't mean to make a mountain out of a molehill-- I just want to understand the numbers.

DaveE

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I always have a difficult time assessing whether LUGs are "active" or not-- I think LEGO's "requirements" for a LUG include a certain level of activity and so forth-- do we know which requirements apply to the 76 in question?

DaveE

Well it depends upon what you are defining 'Active' as in regards to LUG's. Is it only the ones that qualify to participate in LUGBulk and/or have an Ambassador? From what I recall any LUG that can qualifies for LUGBulk would also hit the requirements for an Ambassador but the reverse is not always true (Eurobricks or Classic Castle would both be fine examples of the later case, they don't hold regular in-person meetings for the membership). Or is it ongoing groups that they know of that may or may not meet the requirements for either LUGBulk and/or an Ambassador? The difference would definitely change the potential on(for?) the numbers.

I don't know if an LUG that reported 20k+ members would meet 'traditional' LUG requirements but to my thinking the numbers seem inflated (but the Korean culture will sometimes take things to an fairly extreme level, just look at the Starcraft phenomenon...) so it's possible. I doubt anyone outside of LEGO would have a chance of knowing as we don't get access to their detailed sales numbers, if you have a LUG that really was that big it SHOULD show in the sales numbers...

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...in one of my earlier postings a few years back, I mentioned AFOLs in South Korea to sound off as there seemed a great usage of Lego in their films... no one did... maybe it's time once more to ask our fellow Korean AFOLs to sound off and confirm (or deny) that number... or better yet, point us to site(s) where AFOLs in South Korea go so we can check ourselves... maybe give us links to their LUGs links?...

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the other thing is how well are LUGs known among AFOLs .. I know few adults who have tons of LEGO but never heard anything about any LUG, any website like this or nothing .. they are very passive just buy and have fun alone. There are a lot of such people all over the world and I would suggest the number of AFOLs all over the world is at least 10times higher than the number of LUG members .. And to be honest there isminimum effort from LEGO to promote LUGs or anything related to LEGO + adults ..I just posted the ghostbuster set on my FB page and almost instantly 4 people asked me where can they buy it which I never noticed they enjoy LEGO ;) this statistic can probably only be used to represent number of Active LUGs and it´s members.. nothing more.

I am a part of a small Slovak LUG - TatraLUG but i have doubts that it was counted in .. we already had 4 exhibitions and 2 more comming this year. Number of members is around 100 .. a small LUG but very active and everyone lives close to each other. I guess we share some members with the Czech LUG - kostky but each LUG operates alone. We are probably the youngest and smallest LUG around ;)

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