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When is the best time to buy Lego?


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#1 johnnyvgoode

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:45 PM

I've always tried to figure out what are the best times to buy Lego to minimize spendings. Here are the two main issues I've been wondering about:

1) Best time of the year to buy minifigs on Bricklink, especially if they are licensed.

2) Best time to buy sets. (For example, the last year before the set is discontinued, or two years after it is discontinued?)

Please share your consumer wisdom, since I haven't been able to observe the trends lately. :classic:

#2 happymark

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:55 PM

I am in US. for me, the price of the sets are related to 1) the time of the year 2) the popularity of the theme 3) the stock of the vendor/TLG

example
Nov/Dec, many vendor will have Black Friday sale, Christmas sale and Post holiday sale (Last year, Amazon had some sets deeply discounted)
and Toysrus it has 25% off or 33% off sometime.

The theme, such as PoP sets were not selling well as others. and Seems Toy Story are slow too. so sometime, they were sold for a good price.

I do see some sets (because they are popular?) were re-stock again. such ask FB/GE/MMV or even Death Star and Battle of Endor. I feel they are longer in
the shelf than they should be.. IMHO.

#3 Legoman

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 09:20 PM

I'm not sure it's as simple an answer as your hoping...

For all the years I've been buying Lego, it's my conclusion that you've just always got to have an eye out. Obviously I'm not talking about leaving the family at home on a sunday afternoon to go visit every shop that sells Lego in your state, But just keep an eye on places like this and this every now and then and you'll notice something of intrest.

Obviously you can usualy garantee curtain sales at times like before/after christmas, Black friday (if you guys have that? I know us Kiwi's don't), other local festivals and such, but you also get to know when products will be clearanced based on the lifecycle of piticular themes and sets.

Just give it a go, and you'll definately come across deals :wink:

And then, if you're the type with lots of free time to gamble away, eBay can carry some steals from time to time(Though unfortunately that's literal too, There's been a bit of fraud on eBay with larger Lego sets recently), Or craigslist I've heard can be good too.

As far as lifecycles of sets, I suggest buying right before they're discounted, But that can be a gamble for HTF or popular sets.

Hope that helps!

Edited by Legoman, 11 November 2011 - 09:22 PM.

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#4 johnnyvgoode

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 09:55 PM

 Legoman, on 11 November 2011 - 09:20 PM, said:

I'm not sure it's as simple an answer as your hoping...

For all the years I've been buying Lego, it's my conclusion that you've just always got to have an eye out. Obviously I'm not talking about leaving the family at home on a sunday afternoon to go visit every shop that sells Lego in your state, But just keep an eye on places like this and this every now and then and you'll notice something of intrest.

Obviously you can usualy garantee curtain sales at times like before/after christmas, Black friday (if you guys have that? I know us Kiwi's don't), other local festivals and such, but you also get to know when products will be clearanced based on the lifecycle of piticular themes and sets.

Just give it a go, and you'll definately come across deals :wink:

And then, if you're the type with lots of free time to gamble away, eBay can carry some steals from time to time(Though unfortunately that's literal too, There's been a bit of fraud on eBay with larger Lego sets recently), Or craigslist I've heard can be good too.

As far as lifecycles of sets, I suggest buying right before they're discounted, But that can be a gamble for HTF or popular sets.

Hope that helps!

No, we don't have Black Friday either, but the sets are way too overpriced here, so even when you get a 50% discount, you're paying slightly more than Lego's price.

I agree with you on the time to buy during the licecycle of a set. That's what I usually do.

Thanks for the sales links. I do browse eBay, but part of my question is what is the best time to browse it (and BL too).

#5 Legoman

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 11:21 PM

 johnnyvgoode, on 11 November 2011 - 09:55 PM, said:

I do browse eBay, but part of my question is what is the best time to browse it (and BL too).


Well that completely depends on what you're looking to buy, There's no formula I'm aware of to figure out the average time for best sales to show up :laugh: It's generally completely random from my experience

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#6 meyerc13

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Posted 12 November 2011 - 07:40 AM

I'd have to agree with one of the posts above that you always need to keep an eye on LEGO prices.  In the USA, except for clearance sales, the best price you'll typically get is 25%-30% below MSRP.  With that said, there are two ways to find that price.  First is sales at big box stores like Target and Wal Mart.  Right now both of them have a lot of the $20 LEGO sets on sale for $15, which is a 25% discount.  Target runs regular sales on 1-2 themes at a time.  A few weeks ago it was City, this week I think it might be Cars (I wasn't terribly interested so I didn't pay much attention).  With these sales, they'll have 1-2 sets at 25% discount, with other discounts ranging from 5-15%.

Outside of those regular sales, you need to watch Toys R Us (and sometimes Target) for Buy x Get x sales.  With TRU, it is generally either Buy one get one 50% (which is a 25% discount if you buy identically priced sets), or Buy two get one free (which is a 33% discount on identically priced sets).  The problem with TRU is that they often mark sets above MSRP, so the discount can be closer to 20-30%, rather than 25-33%.  I've found that when TRU runs these sales around the Holidays, that the markup on sets is often higher than other times of the year.  If you can catch one of these sales randomly in the summer, they don't usually jack the price up just for the sale, so the deals can be a bit better.

Other than that, you need to learn when clearance sales happen.  The end of December is one time, but selection can be sparse due to high demand leading up to the holidays.  I've seen Wal Marts discount everything they have left, only to restock the shelves at MSRP a week later.  Target follows a discount schedule, with prices dropping over days/weeks (depending on how quickly they are trying to get rid of stuff).  This method is a bit of a gamble, because sometimes the clearance items fly off the shelves, other times it stagnates for weeks.  So if you really want a set, I'd buy it in one of the 25% sales I mentioned above, rather than wait until the item hits clearnace, in which case you might not be able to find it.

If you follow this method, join the rewards programs at the various stores, and watch for coupons, you should be able to average at least a 20% discount off MSRP.

Edited by meyerc13, 12 November 2011 - 07:42 AM.

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#7 Legocrazy81

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 05:41 AM

Even though I had everything I wanted, I noticed in the late July TRU seemed to have a different sale every week. Whether it be the BOGO 1-1 half off, 2 for 3. Or particular themes were on sale, even certain sets were. So, it might be worth checking your local TRU next July, if you have one.
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#8 Legoist

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 06:27 PM

 Legoman, on 11 November 2011 - 09:20 PM, said:

For all the years I've been buying Lego, it's my conclusion that you've just always got to have an eye out.

Same here.

I would suggest you, if there is some set that you absolutely utterly want to have, forget about discounts and get it, after eventually doing a small check on all your local options + online about where it has the smallest retail price. But try to ask yourself which sets you really cannot live without, if you can :tongue:

Everything that is not a Lego Shop exclusive in my experience early or late it is always going to be on sale (I consider 20% the minimum discount to really count as "sale"), so unless you believe you're really going to be sorry to miss a set, with patience you can get nearly everything for a better price. Just keep an eye on discount ads in your newspapers or magazines, and check a shop when you pass nearby.

Exclusives a different thing, at least for me who live in a country with no Lego Shops, because the only way to get them is through the Lego S@H website: when exclusives are on sale in S@H, they are usually immediately sold out, so I never count on that.

#9 johnnyvgoode

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:18 PM

Thanks for the tips on the sets everyone.

What about Bricklink and eBay shopping though? What is the best time? I buy a lot of loose minifigs and could use some good cash saving.

#10 meyerc13

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 10:59 PM

I think with eBay there are some tricks you can use, but my best advice is to know what you are willing to pay and don't go over that amount.  One trick I've used in the past is to watch for sales ending at odd hours.  If you are a 'night owl' who stays up late, you can sometimes snag a deal before an auction closes later in the evening when other bidders have gone to bed.  Keep timezones in mind too.  In the US, if you're on the east coast and it's 2am, it's only 11pm on the west coast.  So for an east coaster it may be better to get up early to check for auctions that are ending rather than trying to stay up later than the west coasters.

Also, watch for auctions ending on Holidays.  There are usually less people bidding since they're wrapped up in family activities.

One other trick, watch for multiple listings of the same item.  Sometimes one is getting a lot of attention, while another ending a short time later isn't getting much attention at all.
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#11 CP5670

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Posted 15 November 2011 - 11:43 PM

I tend to buy a lot of stuff during Lego event sales, including all my big set purchases (at Brickfair for example, they give 30% discounts if you buy $250 or more). The S@H clearance page also has good stuff every now and then.

 meyerc13, on 13 November 2011 - 10:59 PM, said:

I think with eBay there are some tricks you can use, but my best advice is to know what you are willing to pay and don't go over that amount.  One trick I've used in the past is to watch for sales ending at odd hours.  If you are a 'night owl' who stays up late, you can sometimes snag a deal before an auction closes later in the evening when other bidders have gone to bed.  Keep timezones in mind too.  In the US, if you're on the east coast and it's 2am, it's only 11pm on the west coast.  So for an east coaster it may be better to get up early to check for auctions that are ending rather than trying to stay up later than the west coasters.

Also, watch for auctions ending on Holidays.  There are usually less people bidding since they're wrapped up in family activities.

One other trick, watch for multiple listings of the same item.  Sometimes one is getting a lot of attention, while another ending a short time later isn't getting much attention at all.

All of these are good ideas. Some other ways I've gotten good deals in the past include mislabeled items (no or wrong set number in the title), sellers not taking Paypal and yearly periods of low demand (right after the new year, for example). Sniping no longer works as well as it once did though, due to the real-time ebay timer and the fact that everyone has faster internet connections now. Also, buy it now items are usually bad deals and should be avoided.

#12 johnnyvgoode

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 12:58 AM

 CP5670, on 15 November 2011 - 11:43 PM, said:

Also, buy it now items are usually bad deals and should be avoided.

That is the bad thing about eBay for me. Since I buy small things as minifigures, it is convenient for me to buy several from one seller, and it's not very easy to win several auctions from the same seller.

Thanks for the tips so far, everyone!

#13 Legoist

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 11:54 AM

 CP5670, on 15 November 2011 - 11:43 PM, said:

Also, buy it now items are usually bad deals and should be avoided.

I think most sellers just put ridiculous "buy it now" prices.

But I have to say, the only time I ever used that option on eBay, it was the best deal I ever got there. The seller had put an honest price which for me seemed "just right", so I decided to avoid the gambling of the auction and went for it. The seller had other 2-4 auctions with more copies of the same Lego set in the following days, and they all ended with a price higher than the "buy it now".

#14 johnnyvgoode

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 07:51 PM

 Legoist, on 16 November 2011 - 11:54 AM, said:

I think most sellers just put ridiculous "buy it now" prices.

But I have to say, the only time I ever used that option on eBay, it was the best deal I ever got there. The seller had put an honest price which for me seemed "just right", so I decided to avoid the gambling of the auction and went for it. The seller had other 2-4 auctions with more copies of the same Lego set in the following days, and they all ended with a price higher than the "buy it now".

Like a new Cloud City Boba Fett fig for $999!  :laugh_hard:

But it is true, you can get some good deals on eBay. I got my chrome C-3PO, chrome Vader, Cloud City Fett, and Jango Fett all at prices satisfactory for me and better than those at Bricklink. From time to time there are good deals there on Buy it Now. Still, unless you're on eBay 24/7, it's hard to find good Buy it Now deals.



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