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#26 LEGO Historian

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 03:02 AM

View PostShaydDeGrai, on 14 June 2012 - 07:57 PM, said:

@ 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.


Glad I could pull at your "heartstrings"... it takes me back too... back to 1962, when my Grandfather was visiting from Germany (LEGO came out in 1961 in the USA).... and he brought me about 12 of those boxes... different color parts, different specialty parts... it was like each one was a little treasure box.

Fast forward 40 years... and I found a batch of 20 of them on EBAY at an absurdly low price... and that too brought me back to my youth!  Posted Image


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#27 Hey Joe

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Posted 19 July 2012 - 12:41 PM

One major factor (that was briefly mentioned previously) IMO is the sales tax.  The sales tax is added at the register in the States whereas the VAT is included in the price in Europe (correct?).  The sales tax in my city is 12% so if the set is US$ 100 MSRP then it'll be US$ 112 actually. TRU often marks up the price from MSRP.

If you order online then there's no sales tax unless the seller is located in that State (or something like that).  Amazon has no physical presence in my state so I don't pay sales tax when ordering through them.  I don't pay sales tax when ordering through LEGO S@H either but I believe that people in Connecticut DO because that's where their U.S. operation is at.  I've never ordered from TRU Online but I think I would pay sales tax because they have stores in my state?

I've been living in China for awhile now; LEGO at the shops here is about exactly double the US MSRP.  Drives me bonkers. *huh*   There are cheaper places to get my fix but it's still spendy in comparison so I know your pain.  :laugh:  My Mom is visiting shortly, guess you know what her suitcase will be full of!  :wink:

Europeans pay higher taxes and get better social services I believe?  I envy you, you're pretty much on your own in the States.   Anyway, that's fodder for a different forum!  Have fun!

Edited by bjtpro, 19 July 2012 - 12:55 PM.

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#28 cgarison

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 02:26 AM

Lego got much closer with the Technic 9398 Crawler as it is priced at 169.00 Euro which is about $210.00.  Considering tax in the US is paid at the time of sale, then the 199.99 becomes $212.00 in my state of Pennsylvania.  The lucky folks down the road in Delaware don't have the add-on sales tax, but it would cost me more than $12.00 in fuel to drive to the closest store in Delaware to save that tax money.

So all in all, it does seem to be getting better.

#29 natelite

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 11:42 AM

With the current exchange rates, the prices are getting very similar. In fact, given the worse economic situation in Europe you will see more sales in Europe which means things will be cheaper there than in the US.

Only Asia Pacific seems to be distorted still due to the growing wealth and better currencies. I'm quite surprised TLC hasn't yet make its plan to grow there. I mean, even Merlin is smart enough to build the next Lego theme park in Malaysia but TLC doesn't open another Lego store there? Why? If I were in charge of business development or strategy in TLC, I would open 4 stores in Asia: one in Hong Kong, one in Singapore, one in Sydney, and one in Tokyo. That would give a good starting ground to see where else demand might be coming in from. There seems to be a good demand for Lego from Korea too...so that might be another option as well.

#30 Hey Joe

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 10:36 AM

There's a new Lego shop in Beijing at a mall not too far from my home.  Actually, it's connected to a KidsLand (which is a TRU Joint Venture I think) so, strictly speaking, it may not be a true Lego shop.  A new TRU store is opening at another mall near my home here.  This is new I think, a true TRU store in China (in Beijing it's new anyway, maybe not in Shanghai?).  Previously they worked with KidsLand I believe.  Sorry, I'm not so much up on the business-side of it (I'm a lot more interested in the bricks!) but it's very exciting to have these new outlets, even though the price is double US prices and I refuse to buy anything in the shops.  It's fun to browse and my son and I can play in the piles of Duplo!  :wink:

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that Lego and stores that sell Lego are expanding here in China.

Edited by bjtpro, 06 August 2012 - 10:46 AM.

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#31 Dodger

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 03:11 PM

Aside from costs and availability, I have another (UK vs US) question which I find completely baffling.

I recently bought the Ninjago Samurai Mech for my daughter. Watching a video review on YouTube, I noticed a strange difference in the packaging, namely the US box has the box number, age range, NAME of the set, and number of pieces.  The UK box only has the set number and age range.

This is the same for many, if not most sets.  (Exception being stuff like Star Wars and LOTR, but even they don't have the piece count).

Any idea why?  Are they afraid of people doing price-per-piece comparisons or something?

#32 Lyichir

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:31 PM

View PostDodger, on 06 August 2012 - 03:11 PM, said:

Aside from costs and availability, I have another (UK vs US) question which I find completely baffling.

I recently bought the Ninjago Samurai Mech for my daughter. Watching a video review on YouTube, I noticed a strange difference in the packaging, namely the US box has the box number, age range, NAME of the set, and number of pieces.  The UK box only has the set number and age range.

This is the same for many, if not most sets.  (Exception being stuff like Star Wars and LOTR, but even they don't have the piece count).

Any idea why?  Are they afraid of people doing price-per-piece comparisons or something?
The reason the name of the set is excluded from European boxes should be obvious. Most European countries get the same sets distributed among them, meaning that unlike in the U.S., there is no primary language to print the set name in. The name would have to be printed in English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Czech, and many more languages. Leaving off the name of the set on the front allows for a much cleaner-looking box cover.

As for the piece count, I believe building toys in the U.S. are required by law to declare the number of parts on the packaging. Of course, that's no reason not to include this useful information on European boxes as well.

#33 Dodger

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 05:05 PM

View PostLyichir, on 07 August 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

The reason the name of the set is excluded from European boxes should be obvious. Most European countries get the same sets distributed among them, meaning that unlike in the U.S., there is no primary language to print the set name in. The name would have to be printed in English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Czech, and many more languages. Leaving off the name of the set on the front allows for a much cleaner-looking box cover.

As for the piece count, I believe building toys in the U.S. are required by law to declare the number of parts on the packaging. Of course, that's no reason not to include this useful information on European boxes as well.

It's not as 'obvious' as you might think. On the Amazon France site some of the Lego SW sets have English on the front and French on the side. And on the German Amazon site I found. SW set with Englsh on the front and SIX languages on the side!  Same in the German site for the very first LOTR set I checked, Mines of Moria. I think for licensed sets they have to have the name. That being the case, I don't see why they can't do it across the line.

There's no consistency.

Edited by Dodger, 07 August 2012 - 05:07 PM.


#34 Aanchir

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:37 PM

It's possible TLG might be required by law to print things like piece count on sets in certain countries and not in others. Or maybe they've found that US buyers tend to want more of that kind of information before making a purchase. Or maybe they find British buyers prefer more minimalist packaging designs. Or maybe they find there are more retailers in Europe and the UK that do business internationally.

It would be nice to get an official statement from TLG about why this is, but I doubt it's anything insidious.

#35 Bricktooth

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 09:19 PM

View PostLyichir, on 07 August 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

The reason the name of the set is excluded from European boxes should be obvious. Most European countries get the same sets distributed among them, meaning that unlike in the U.S., there is no primary language to print the set name in. The name would have to be printed in English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Finnish, Czech, and many more languages. Leaving off the name of the set on the front allows for a much cleaner-looking box cover.

On the Superheroes boxes here the set name is written on the side in 6 languages, English, German, French, Spanish, Portugese and Hungarian, but the English name is written on the front.
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#36 MAH4546

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Posted 17 August 2012 - 02:10 AM

View Postcgarison, on 05 August 2012 - 02:26 AM, said:

Lego got much closer with the Technic 9398 Crawler as it is priced at 169.00 Euro which is about $210.00.  Considering tax in the US is paid at the time of sale, then the 199.99 becomes $212.00 in my state of Pennsylvania.  The lucky folks down the road in Delaware don't have the add-on sales tax, but it would cost me more than $12.00 in fuel to drive to the closest store in Delaware to save that tax money.

So all in all, it does seem to be getting better.

Yes, but as the Euro continues to collapse, that means LEGO will be able to bring prices down in the U.S. Whether or not LEGO actually opts to remains to be seen. They probably do not need to.

#37 SandMirror38

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 01:16 AM

Great example
Wizard Battle
US$ 18.99 (or something like that)
AU$ 34.99
Come on!!!

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#38 BrickG

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:54 AM

These threads continually pop up and are filled with failure (and IMO should just be deleted).  You guys are just ignorant of economics.  Straight currency conversions are NOT enough to say anything.

For instance...

View PostSandMirror38, on 05 July 2013 - 01:16 AM, said:

Great example
Wizard Battle
US$ 18.99 (or something like that)
AU$ 34.99
Come on!!!

I'm too lazy to yet again explain the very basic mechanics but your straight conversion is basically false advertising.

First off it's US$12.99 in the USA and AU$22.99 in Australia.  I have no idea where you're buying your lego but you're getting ripped off.
Second off there are so many factors here...  Australians on average get almost TWICE the amount of money salary than Americans.  In America stuff is cheaper and just one reason why is because we make about half as much as most of the rest of the 1st world.
Then there's also the fact that Australia is in the middle of nowhere and has a tiny as crap consumer base.  The US can charge less because they deal with significantly more costumers.  It's basic business.  And again, you guys are in the middle of nowhere. It's going to cost extra to ship stuff there.
Those are probably some of the biggest influences on your prices.  There's more too.  A lot more.  Like Australia's strong currency.  The fact that the high minimum wage in Australia also leads to higher costs which make stuff costs more.  To just being willing to pay more.  Tons of influences.  

A straight up currency conversion is just wrong in every way.

#39 SandMirror38

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Posted 05 July 2013 - 08:54 AM

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#40 pinioncorp

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 04:22 PM

View PostBrickG, on 05 July 2013 - 07:54 AM, said:

// Second off there are so many factors here...  Australians on average get almost TWICE the amount of money salary than Americans. //
This is so wrong I cringe whenever I see it. The minimum wage is lower in the States, but are still paid higher on average. The US makes the top of the list regardless of the measurement method of household income. Yes, I'm aware that my sources are Wikipedia, but only because they are neat and consistent, but other sources also prove my point.

I agree that it's far more than simple currency conversion that should come into consideration when examining the prices of items (Lego and otherwise) but Lego and other things are more expensive that should be the case considering the average income. Americans are currently subsidized by the rest of the world to make their Lego purchases cheaper, despite earning more. The sheer value of their market and heavy competition seeming makes this necessary.

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#41 BrickG

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 06:51 PM

View Postpinioncorp, on 06 July 2013 - 04:22 PM, said:

This is so wrong I cringe whenever I see it. The minimum wage is lower in the States, but are still paid higher on average. The US makes the top of the list regardless of the measurement method of household income. Yes, I'm aware that my sources are Wikipedia, but only because they are neat and consistent, but other sources also prove my point.

I agree that it's far more than simple currency conversion that should come into consideration when examining the prices of items (Lego and otherwise) but Lego and other things are more expensive that should be the case considering the average income. Americans are currently subsidized by the rest of the world to make their Lego purchases cheaper, despite earning more. The sheer value of their market and heavy competition seeming makes this necessary.


It's not wrong.

http://en.wikipedia....e_United_States

http://en.wikipedia....and_New_Zealand

Median is more accurate because all the bajillionaires raise the plain average here in the USA (and there aren't many of them).
In the past recent years Australia has gotten worse for whatever reason (used to be very near twice the median).  Lately it's fallen.

#42 Faefrost

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Posted 06 July 2013 - 07:42 PM

One other thing that all of these discussions overlook is that Bilund is probably not in any real way doing comparative global pricing. There is not some meeting where they decide "we will charge this much in Germany, this much in Canada, this much in the US and this extra much in Australa because we hate them". The safe assumption is that local pricing is set by various regional business groups, and is based on their costs of doing business. US pricing is set by Enfield, Conneticut. Australian pricing is probably established in the NSW offices. Up until very very recently with the rise of global Internet merchants, these offices probably rarely even noted what the pricing in other regions was.
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#43 pinioncorp

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 01:46 PM

View PostBrickG, on 06 July 2013 - 06:51 PM, said:

It's not wrong.

Your links, once again, prove my point. As the data for Australia / New Zealand is only up to 2007-8, at the same time the US median average was almost $10,000 more.

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#44 Faefrost

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Posted 07 July 2013 - 10:45 PM

Direct currency conversions really don't have that much to do with the pricing variations. At least less than we tend to think. They probably pad the pricing a bit as a buffer against currency fluctuations in order to try and keep the prices as stable as possible. But it's not the root cause of the perceived disparities. Really it's "total costs of doing business in a given market, region or country" / "expected number of purchasers in that market, region or country" + "margin to turn a profit". That's it. That's the root of it. Australia has higher prices than the US because the ratio of costs of doing business to paying customers is higher than it is in the US. It's not Rocket Science. It's not a deliberate slight to one region or another. It's not a conspiracy or an evil corporation being evil. It is more often than not simply the basic math of international business.

For our Australian friends relief is probably within sight. When the new China facilities come on line it will probably go a long way to reducing some of those fixed costs, simply by reducing the supply chain, and putting the factories within a zone that may allow greater sharing of costs. (That will depend on Australian trade arrangements with China, but guaranteed they will be more favorable than current trade arrangements with Denmark or Mexico.) Europe is a bit more hosed, as the only thing that will flatten the equation for them is lower taxes and lower energy or labor costs.
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#45 TomLego

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 06:49 AM

Here in the US, I have a Lego store 3 km from my house.  Less than 10 minutes away.  However, I buy most everything through Amazon Prime.  Most of the Modular Building series are 149.95 US plus they add my 8% local sales tax. If I order today by about 5pm, I will have the set with free shipping on Wednesday delivered to my house.   For a few dollars more, they will deliver it tomorrow.  Saves the hassle of driving to the shopping mall, finding a parking place and explaining why an old man is spending so much on Lego. :-). Plus, everything from Amazon is packaged correctly and there is never any damage to the box like when I order via mail from Lego.  The Amazon customer service is also way, way better than the local Lego store.  So, I guess I have it pretty good.....at least in the area of buying Lego sets.  If there is one thing America does right, its consumer oriented logistics.  Amazon has EOR-(end of runway operations) that places their warehouses next to airports where FedEx has a major logistics operation.  Saves tons of time, money and gets the product to the consumer fast and cheap.

#46 BrickG

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:11 PM

I was partially wrong due to exaggerations but looking at the numbers Australian Medium Income seems larger (not 2x as big :P) and provides 20%ish more "spending money".  I'm not sure what other numbers you're looking at.

This mixed with several other factors like distance, local economy, local minimum wage, etc are most of the reason why they're so expensive.  If there's truly any "they're expensive because lol" it's not as much as you'd imagine.

#47 dvsntt

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Posted 10 July 2013 - 08:23 PM

I wish it was cheaper in Europe. It would make visiting much more exciting, to have the chance to buy Lego closer to the factory at a fraction of the US retail price. I had once imagined this was the case, similar to the Maple Syrup in Canada or Tequila in Mexico. But I can't complain too much (since I'm getting the best retail prices already) and Europe always has cheep beer.
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#48 SandMirror38

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:07 AM

Yes,yes ok
Prices are cheaper in america cause they have a cheaper wage or what ever, but over here (in australia) prices are more expensive cause they have 'better' wages.
Lego is still a childrens toy and I can tell you now that higher prices because of higher pays only really annoy children because they cant get jobs, they need cheaper prices to apply to children not just because americas 3x cheaper or something like that. No matter how many afols are out there buying lego it will always be a childrens toy with children being the main target soo I think prices (no mater wages and stuff) should roughly be the same everywhere because children cant get jobs and legois and always will be a childrens toy

-Sand

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#49 Faefrost

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 01:00 PM

View PostSandMirror38, on 11 July 2013 - 01:07 AM, said:

Yes,yes ok
Prices are cheaper in america cause they have a cheaper wage or what ever, but over here (in australia) prices are more expensive cause they have 'better' wages.
Lego is still a childrens toy and I can tell you now that higher prices because of higher pays only really annoy children because they cant get jobs, they need cheaper prices to apply to children not just because americas 3x cheaper or something like that. No matter how many afols are out there buying lego it will always be a childrens toy with children being the main target soo I think prices (no mater wages and stuff) should roughly be the same everywhere because children cant get jobs and legois and always will be a childrens toy

-Sand

Prices are cheaper in America because they can spread the fixed and needed costs of doing business over a much larger pool of customers. Prices are high in Australia because the relative costs of doing business are higher and are spread among a much smaller customer base. Relative wages have little to do with it, beyond how it adds to those fixed costs of doing business (ie if wages in Australia are 30% higher than the fixed costs of labor for Lego in Australia will be 30% more) .
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#50 CopMike

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 04:28 PM

Is it just Lego you guys think are wrongly priced? There are so many factors involved in world economics as mentioned above so I think it´s a waste of energy to get worked up about this. Instead you your force energy to find ways to get better deals :sweet: !

And there´s always the Bic Mac index to check out.

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