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Europe vs US


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#1 horizon

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 07:40 PM

Hi

I hope I am not breaking any forum rules here but I just got pretty annoyed.

Lightning Dragon set 2521

Lego Shop Netherlands: 89 euro
Lego Shop US: 79 dollar

Major insult: 80 dollar = 55 euro!!!

That is bad bad bad

Can we stop this?
:cry_happy:

#2 AndyC

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 07:46 PM

View Posthorizon, on 24 August 2011 - 07:40 PM, said:

Can we stop this?

Nope. Global economics just doesn't work that way. Different countries have different taxes, different wage levels, different associated costs (like shipping) and differing levels of demand creating different economies of scale.
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#3 blueandwhite

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:07 AM

This is a hot-button issue on most LEGO forums.  Moreover, it's not going to change anytime soon.  Simply put; talking about it won't change it and will probably only stir up an unneeded debate on international pricing.

#4 zewy623

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 08:54 AM

Don't forget that some countries have inflation in their economy.

#5 Mencot

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:01 AM

Yea it dosent help that how annoyed you are about this and complain, it dosen`t help. I am too annoyed, I live in Finland and I sometimes compare our prices to the US and get really sad and angry  :cry_sad: , so I don`t do that any more.
But I always wait for discounts, 20- 50% of then I buy the sets I like  :classic:
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#6 lorax

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:28 AM

It could be worse, you could live in Australia where we order Lego online from Europe because it seems so cheap compared to here.  

2521 shop@home for Aus - AUS$129.99 = $104 Euro.

I am like Mencot, I try not to compare, because when I do I get so cross and frustrated when I do.  (Especially when ordering the exact same product which comes from the exact same warehouse, made using the exact same labour costs, we have to pay really high shipping (in addition to the high product cost) and there is only a 10%GST in Aus.  Darn, I have broken my own rule, now I am cross and frustrated again.

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#7 AvengerDr

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:15 PM

I'd add a "Vs UK" to the topic title too..

UK Y U NO join the Euro? :D

I know that now is not the right time to say this.. but it's one of the things that saddens me the most since i moved to the UK from Italy.. then again if i'd stayed there i'd be unemployed by now...

Edited by AvengerDr, 20 January 2012 - 09:16 PM.


#8 ZCerberus

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Posted 21 January 2012 - 12:29 AM

Where is VS?   :tongue:

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#9 J.P. Manalo

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:21 PM

I'd like to add some commentary based on a discussion with a well-placed source who understands many of the decisions behind the pricing of LEGO products.

In Australia the price of LEGO, unfortunately, is all to do with market expectations. LEGO's market research (for Australia) showed them that people (in general) in the Australian market view the LEGO brand as a "premium" brand, and as such are more willing to pay more for the product. As such, LEGO has decided to price themselves appropriately to reflect their "premium brand" status.

The analogy given to me was one of a business owner trying to maximise their profit on the items they sell - if you were a business owner, you would want to sell your products for as much as you possibly could without scaring off your customers.

When I pressed the source further, with the question "what can be done to lower LEGO set prices?", the answer was along the lines of:
"if you can convince the *entire* market to buy less LEGO in the shops, that will force us to drop our prices. But whilst we still have strong sales at these prices, the prices will likely stay at these levels".

Note, I don't necessarily agree with the higher pricing, but I understand *why* they have chosen to price higher in the Australian market. Anyway, it's good to see that many of the new 2012 LEGO City sets are priced much better when compared to sets of equivalent size released in 2010/2011.

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#10 B-Lister

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:28 AM

I still have and use LEGO product that is 30 years old. To me, the price is justified in the quality of the product. Add to that, the unparalleled customer service, and an extra few bucks here and there is fine by me.
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#11 Angeli

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 12:58 AM

View Postlorax, on 10 January 2012 - 10:28 AM, said:

Darn, I have broken my own rule, now I am cross and frustrated again.

In my country (Serbia) sets are 50-150% higher then in USA (and this is without money conversion, i.e. if 1$ would be 1e). AND, they have discounts (buy two at a price of one, i.e. 50 % discount)

Now:

Set that is 100$ in USA, on discount 50% is 50 $.
Set that is 100$ in USA is 50-150% more expensive here, or 250 e (notice, EUROS, not dollars)

50$ is 39 e

In other words, a guy in USA will pay 39e for a set. I will pay 250e.

The difference is that Europe has bigger prices then USA when Lego is in question per se, PLUS my customs that are almost 50% of the product, PLUS profit of the salesman that have their own marge... It is a wild west here :) And I try not to think abut it. I have my friends whom I've met via Eurobriks to whom I send  money via paypal, and they buy me sets and PaB cups... but still, shipping is costly... Now I am frustrated too :)

#12 johnnyvgoode

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 05:16 AM

View Postlorax, on 10 January 2012 - 10:28 AM, said:

It could be worse, you could live in Australia where we order Lego online from Europe because it seems so cheap compared to here.  

2521 shop@home for Aus - AUS$129.99 = $104 Euro.

I am like Mencot, I try not to compare, because when I do I get so cross and frustrated when I do.  (Especially when ordering the exact same product which comes from the exact same warehouse, made using the exact same labour costs, we have to pay really high shipping (in addition to the high product cost) and there is only a 10%GST in Aus.  Darn, I have broken my own rule, now I am cross and frustrated again.

Or you could live in Costa Rica, where we don't have S@H service, and we have to use the one from the US and pay more taxes...

Seriously, you're a lucky Lego fan if you're European.

#13 Watchman

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 08:30 AM

forgive me if this is a slight diversion, but not just pricing differences (which the reason for I get) but why are release dates different ?  Lord of the Rings and Monster Fighters are already on sale in the US, but not in the UK (can't comment on Europe, or rest of world) - bt "why" ?

a couple of years ago TLG release the Kingdoms Advent Calendar in Europe and not the US (causing frustration there).

Can anyone explain why, not related to rpices, TLG treats everyone differently ?  Why isn't the entire range available globally, and why aren't new releases released internationally at the same time ?

(And does anyone know when LotR sets will be on sale in the UK ?)

#14 AndyC

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 03:54 PM

View PostWatchman, on 20 May 2012 - 08:30 AM, said:

Can anyone explain why, not related to rpices, TLG treats everyone differently ?  Why isn't the entire range available globally, and why aren't new releases released internationally at the same time ?

Probably related to production rates, they can't instantly create enough sets to fully satisfy all demand so they have to stage the rollout to markets to ensure the can produce enough to supply retail outlets for the initial demand. Other factors may also come into play with licensed sets, as the licensors may have specific demands about when and where products should be available to maximise their tie in with other marketing efforts.
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#15 Ash

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Posted 20 May 2012 - 04:43 PM

The thing is you don't do all this currency conversion and price comparisons in your head every time you buy a can of Coke or pack of chewing gum. The only reason we do it with Lego is because we're part of an intenrnational community and have a lot of awareness. Prices vary on everything. But so do average wages and standard of living and the quality of social services and the level of taxation etc etc. There are plenty of things with far worse price differentials between regions than Lego (Petrol comes to mind, the difference between the UK and US is massive). But you simply can't look at the price of consumer goods and compare like for like. It'll drive you crazy.

View PostAndyC, on 20 May 2012 - 03:54 PM, said:

Probably related to production rates, they can't instantly create enough sets to fully satisfy all demand so they have to stage the rollout to markets to ensure the can produce enough to supply retail outlets for the initial demand. Other factors may also come into play with licensed sets, as the licensors may have specific demands about when and where products should be available to maximise their tie in with other marketing efforts.

Playmobil is quite interesting in this respect as they role out all of their new sets in two distinct batches, so some regions are a full year behind. And the UK and US (so used to being the center of the universe) are actually in the second batch, because the toy is far more popular in continental Europe and South America. It is related to production rates and quality control. Like Lego Playmobil is made to very high specifications and the dies for individual pieces are expensive so they reduce production costs by staggering the rate at which they need to produce new ones.

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#16 Watchman

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 09:43 PM

Ash, and Andy-C - thanks for your responses.  Guess that makes sense.  I'll calm down and await our turn in the UK for LotR to be released ... all good things come to those who wait, patience is a virtue, etc

:)

View PostAsh, on 20 May 2012 - 04:43 PM, said:

The thing is you don't do all this currency conversion and price comparisons in your head every time you buy a can of Coke or pack of chewing gum. The only reason we do it with Lego is because we're part of an intenrnational community and have a lot of awareness. Prices vary on everything. But so do average wages and standard of living and the quality of social services and the level of taxation etc etc. There are plenty of things with far worse price differentials between regions than Lego (Petrol comes to mind, the difference between the UK and US is massive). But you simply can't look at the price of consumer goods and compare like for like. It'll drive you crazy.



Playmobil is quite interesting in this respect as they role out all of their new sets in two distinct batches, so some regions are a full year behind. And the UK and US (so used to being the center of the universe) are actually in the second batch, because the toy is far more popular in continental Europe and South America. It is related to production rates and quality control. Like Lego Playmobil is made to very high specifications and the dies for individual pieces are expensive so they reduce production costs by staggering the rate at which they need to produce new ones.


#17 Faefrost

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 11:48 PM

For the pricing difference between the US and Europe, don't forget it is not a simple matter of looking at the relative currency valuation or conversion. There are also separate costs of getting the product to market on the two continents. Namely shipping. If you look at the % differences between Us and Euro Lego pricing you will see they rather closely mirror the costs of fuel in those two regions. Lego is more than double the cost in Europe because fuel is double, which means moving the product to market is doubled, etc. yeah there are other factors such as the simple fact that a merchant prices to what the market will bear, and Europeans are much more accustomed to bearing more. But regardless the single biggest factor in the difference is dual and transportation costs. ( plus some real estate costs. Shelf space in Europe is much more expensive per meter.)
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#18 MAH4546

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:58 AM

All consumer goods are cheaper in the United States, period. We have virtually no import tariffs, cheap fuel, larger economy of scale and sales tax that in some places is 0%.

You think the $20-50 price on LEGO is a big deal?

A BMW 328i that cost €42,000 in the Netherlands is €28,000 in the United States. And, on top of that, U.S. models come with more standard equipment. We pay €400 for a big screen Sony LCD, €160 for an iPhone and €37,000 for a Porsche Boxter or Cayenne. Goods are cheap here.

Edited by MAH4546, 25 May 2012 - 09:01 AM.


#19 rsy

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 09:47 PM

View PostAngeli, on 20 May 2012 - 12:58 AM, said:

In my country (Serbia) sets are 50-150% higher then in USA (and this is without money conversion, i.e. if 1$ would be 1e). AND, they have discounts (buy two at a price of one, i.e. 50 % discount)

Now:

Set that is 100$ in USA, on discount 50% is 50 $.
Set that is 100$ in USA is 50-150% more expensive here, or 250 e (notice, EUROS, not dollars)

50$ is 39 e

In other words, a guy in USA will pay 39e for a set. I will pay 250e.

The difference is that Europe has bigger prices then USA when Lego is in question per se, PLUS my customs that are almost 50% of the product, PLUS profit of the salesman that have their own marge... It is a wild west here :) And I try not to think abut it. I have my friends whom I've met via Eurobriks to whom I send  money via paypal, and they buy me sets and PaB cups... but still, shipping is costly... Now I am frustrated too :)

Hi Angeli,

Serbian prices are horrible means at least EU * 1,3-1,5 , but there is an another option: Lots of your Serbian Friends are coming to Szeged (HU) and buying sets in a small official LEGO shop. They are authorized HU Dealer and they have the newest sets plus new and used bricks & accesories. They are speaking english and very much customer oriented. Surprise: they even have VAT refund form for Serbians !

You can contact them with the following link: http://www.letsgoszeged.hu/kapcsolat

Even members of skockani from serbia knows them...

regards_Rsy

#20 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 08:34 PM

There's no arguing that the US is a mass consumer economy.  We'll throw large sums of money (even when we don't have it to spare) at just about anything.  Since the Greenspan Era, as a nation, we've kinda forgotten how to save for the future - don't get me wrong, it's not all about immediate, ego-driven consumerism, the average American also gives a lot to charities, churches, relief efforts, etc.  but then we've got money to burn, we usually spend it; when we see something we like, we find a way to buy it.  And if one vender doesn't close the sale right away, someone else will.  Unlike many parts of the world, it's not the sort of culture where you haggle over price and in big money deals where haggling is inevitable, (like real estate) we hire professionals to haggle for us.  Unlike many pleasant shopping experiences I've had in small stores in Europe where the proprietor greeted me and made small talk, shopping at a megastore in the US is all about landing the sale and swiping the card with as little human interaction as possible.

Now my family hails originally from Scotland so I'm predisposed to stretch a dollar a bit further than most, but I've got friends that need to replace their credit cards on a regular basis because the magnetic stripes wear out from overuse.  We buy stuff, we buy stuff in quantity, and we love to get "a bargain."  My mother would buy products we didn't even use because she had a coupon and didn't want to pass up on a good deal - that's probably why we donate so much to charities, we buy things we don't even want because we got a good price on it...

So, in one respect I think part of the US pricing is factoring in what TLG will make up in volume,  they might only make $5 on a given kit but they'll sell 50 of them for every kit sold in the UK and if the price were just a few dollars higher, half those sales would be buying video games or some fad-of-the-moment toy from Asia instead.

Another thing that I think impacts US pricing is having national pricing in a large country with many diverse economies within it.  In some parts of the US, the price of Lego sets, while not _cheap_, is not outrageous either.  I went shopping yesterday and bought 1 weeks worth of groceries, $350, a tank of gas, $105, and bought myself an ice cream at the local malt shop $9.00  Last night my wife and I went out to a movie (with drinks and snacks), about $60.  So, where I live, spending $130 on Helm's Deep is a drop in the bucket (or about 4 take-out lunches at work).  In contrast, I know people in other parts of the country who bought their entire house for less than what I spend in a single year in interest on my mortgage payments.  They can buy an entire meal for what I have to spend for a cup of coffee and for them $130 for Helm's Deep is an outrageous price to spend on a toy.  In a logical world, maybe you could justify separate pricing for different regions of the US (jack up the price in NYC, Boston, Hawaii, Pacific Palisades, etc. slip the price even lower in the mid west, parts of the south, etc.) but the post Internet culture as a whole just won't put up with that, so vendors need to find a happy medium.

No one said that it was logical or fair, but it is what it is, and if it weren't profitable for TLG, they wouldn't be doing it (I hope).


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#21 LEGO Historian

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:46 PM

Interesting topic... I can fully appreciate the frustrations of Aussies and Europeans at the bargain prices that are found in the USA...

But the pricing issue is much more complex than just what country you happen to live in.  Some sets are more or less expensive than other sets in one country, than in others (compared to other sets of the same system).

Here's a very old example of this "price anomaly".  Back in November 1957 TLG introduced the first Lighting Device set... the #245 Spare Part Packs.  These had a white sliding inner box.  But the price fluctuated (as compared to other parts packs) from one continental European country to another.  In fact there were 5 price levels of spare parts packs, that all had the same box look (besides the sides).

Retailers were confused, sold more expensive packs at a cheaper price (accidentally)... so in 1960 TLG came out with a color coded pricing system.... the most expensive packs had a green label on the side, the next most expensive had a yellow label, then came a red label, then a blue label, and the cheapest were the black label.

Here's an example of the #245 set.... it has a red label (more expensive) for some continental European countries, and a blue label (less expensive) for other continental countries....

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This differences in prices between sets is not just a 50 year old issue... it still goes on today.  If you compare the price differences between sets of the same system today... sometimes there will be greater differences than in other countries.

Is this a marketing issue?  Or?  Not really sure.  But when it comes to pricing LEGO sets in different countries... it's much more complex an issue than just the specific country you are in....
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#22 ShaydDeGrai

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 07:57 PM

View PostLEGO Historian, on 14 June 2012 - 07:46 PM, said:

Interesting topic... I can fully appreciate the frustrations of Aussies and Europeans at the bargain prices that are found in the USA...
@ LEGO Historian:
Main topic aside for a moment, those old box images really take me back (kinda like finding an old, beloved teddy bear after decades in storage).  Thanks for that.


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#23 Hive

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 08:29 AM

I just discovered another shocking difference in pricing in regards to Europe and the US: licensed themes appears to be even more expensive than other themes in Europe, relatively. Let me explain what I mean with an example:

An un-licensed set that costs $20 in the US is typically 200 DKR in Denmark -  but I recently noticed that a licensed set that cost $20 in the US costs 230 DKR in Denmark (using MSRP as basis for all numbers)! That's an additional price increase of 15 % on top of the existing price difference, which is pretty significant as is! In fact, it means that these particular licensed sets are approximately TWICE the cost in Denmark as in the US!

What the h... is up with that? Aren't licensed sets expensive enough as is? Aren't the price difference big enough as is?

I'm baffled, absolutely baffled.

#24 AndyC

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 04:08 PM

View PostHive, on 16 June 2012 - 08:29 AM, said:

I'm baffled, absolutely baffled.
Licensing just throws more complexity into the mix, since it's entirely possible that different licenses need to be negotiated from different companies for different parts of the world. So for a single "brand", you might end up negotiating different deals with, for example, Sony US, Sony UK and Sony Europe, all with differing terms and conditions.

Global economics and business is rarely as simple as it often seems it should be.
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#25 tvih

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:18 PM

Sorry to have a bit of a negative post as my first one here, but...

Difference in prices between Europe and US, for example, I can somewhat understand.

What I don't understand is the price difference between for example UK and Finland (where I'm from) for some sets at LEGO Shop @ Home. Now, some sets - say, the Super Star Destroyer - are quite close in price using a straight up currency conversion. But certain specific sets like Death Star, Fire Brigade and Medieval Market Village are 30-50% more expensive in Finland compared to UK. It's a bit of a big deal when you consider the Death Star costing about 120 euros more for a Finn than a Brit. If it was simply about the economies of the two countries etc, common sense would dictate that all the sets would have similar differences. But they don't. Which makes it all the more puzzling to me that some do to such a drastic degree.

UK and Finland aren't of course the only examples for this kind of thing happening, but it's the one I'm the most familiar with.



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