Kim-Kwang-Seok

Lego declining drastically?

Recommended Posts

I wanted to start a thread for some time now about the posible decline of Lego products in different countries - I never found any other thread. If there is one, I'd be happy to merge them.

- Around ten years ago at least in Germany I noticed a big expansion of Lego layouts in stores. It became smaller again after some years.

- Since like 2 years though the Lego sections in stores (in Germany at least) have shrunk drastically.

- Many products - even at big toy companies, like Smyths toys - were simply never available (not talking about exclusive sets here) or are no longer sold after 6 months. I remember Star Wars sets used to be available for over a year.

My question: how is the situation in other areas? Are there similar experiences or is this an isolated phenomenon? If not - what implications are there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have only been into Lego for 7 years, but I haven't noticed any change in Australian stores. We do have sets removed from stores long before they retire, but they are replaced by newer sets. The stores here don't always keep the sets for the lifetime of the set. With the amount of new sets released every 6 months it probably keeps the aisles fresh, and allows them to control their stock by replacing it long before it retires to cut down on clearance costs.

As for the range, all main sets we can get in the toy retailers. I can't get things like xtra, poly bags (although these are occasionally in supermarkets), blister packs, key rings, Brick Sketches, BrickHeadz and a few other items, but I am not sure whether that is a local thing or worldwide.

It seems to me that more of the bigger sets are becoming online only at some retailers so this could be what you are noticing - this may just be a sign of the times as people shop online more, it could also be retailers reducing the amount of stock they need to send out to stores, and potentially reducing theft by only allowing online purchases of their expensive lines. With the big sets as well I imagine people who buy them want that particular set, I wouldn't think that as many people would impulse shop (or gift shop) for sets that cost $200+ so they probably don't need them in brick and mortar stores since people who know what they want can buy online.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, timemail said:

I have only been into Lego for 7 years, but I haven't noticed any change in Australian stores. We do have sets removed from stores long before they retire, but they are replaced by newer sets. The stores here don't always keep the sets for the lifetime of the set. With the amount of new sets released every 6 months it probably keeps the aisles fresh, and allows them to control their stock by replacing it long before it retires to cut down on clearance costs.

As for the range, all main sets we can get in the toy retailers. I can't get things like xtra, poly bags (although these are occasionally in supermarkets), blister packs, key rings, Brick Sketches, BrickHeadz and a few other items, but I am not sure whether that is a local thing or worldwide.

It seems to me that more of the bigger sets are becoming online only at some retailers so this could be what you are noticing - this may just be a sign of the times as people shop online more, it could also be retailers reducing the amount of stock they need to send out to stores, and potentially reducing theft by only allowing online purchases of their expensive lines. With the big sets as well I imagine people who buy them want that particular set, I wouldn't think that as many people would impulse shop (or gift shop) for sets that cost $200+ so they probably don't need them in brick and mortar stores since people who know what they want can buy online.

I think all of this makes sense - but then again the reduction (at least in mid-big german cities) is so drastic. Im talking about whole walls of shelves that were dedicated to Lego and now in all of these stores theres like one wall with 3 small shelves. If I were to guess, I'd say it's around 5-20% of space for Lego, compared to some years ago.

And without purchasing from Legoshop directly, it became difficult to impossible to get many sets - 100€ sets more but also cheaper ones are sometimes hard to come by.

This includes other online retailers (like smyths toys online):  last year I've noticed many Star Wars sets from the winter wave were no longer available before the summer wave even hit the shelves. Usually This was the case with the winter wave of the last year.

I have had more luck to track down unsold older sets in stores randomly actually. And sometimes they looked like the same unsold boxes. I have asked employees why they don't put better discount - they said it's cheaper to send them back to the warehouses (?!).

At Lego shop - yes, sets are available as always. But I didn't see this with other online shops.

What I did see though was a rise  of alternative brands in smaller, private toy stores and syrian, iranian, and kurdish stores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In USA I've seen some stores stock amounts not making sense. Two Lego "reseller" stores ( Bricks & Minifigs) at opposite ends of the country are very different from each other. One is well stocked and the other is very poorly stocked. As for chain stores like Target and Walmart their shelves are a little empty, I think because Lego is selling better since people are staying home with their kids. The toy departments in general (in stores) are a little more sparse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lego makes too many products and can't keep them all in stock. That's the problem.

LEGO only has X amount of space in the factories to make sets. So when last year's 20th anniversary Star Wars sets came out they probably only were able to make one run of sets and that was that.

Otherwise in the USA the space for LEGO in stores remains the same.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, this probably has more to do with the already high demand for Lego skyrocketing during the pandemic than with any sort of "decline". With global demand surging, it's harder for Lego to keep stock levels at individual stores satisfied the way they could a couple years back. But that doesn't really mean that sales have slipped or anything—on the contrary, they're higher than ever.

Unfortunately there's not all that much that Lego can do about this in the short term. They are still continuing to expand their production capabilities globally, but accelerating those sorts of plans could be a misstep, since there's a pretty significant chance that the increased demand during the pandemic might be a temporary thing that could level off once most of the world has things "back to normal". If that happens, then increased investment in production could backfire later on when Lego is left with more production infrastructure than they can realistically utilize. Demand could potentially be tempered by steeply increasing prices but needless to say that'd cause their reputation and the goodwill of their customers to take a serious hit. So Lego mostly has to just do the best they can with what they have and accept that some of the demand for their products might go unsatisfied due to uneven product availability.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This also fails to take into account the growth of Lego brand stores, more specific Lego departments in stores that are not just toyshops, toys sold in supermarkets and, of course, online purchases ... which don’t need shelf space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lego Empire is declining (Sorry, I can’t help myself but i am just sarcastic, thanks to my misunderstanding based on the thread title). 

Anyways, I haven’t visited stores for Lego sets at all due to COVID pandemic. But we do have Lego Shop website to order. I am not sure if there are so many Lego brand stores here in my area (southern Pennsylvania). I only know there are three closest brand stores outside my area. I guess Lego can’t keep all products s in stock and don’t need shelf spaces in non-Lego brand stores then? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, williejm said:

This also fails to take into account the growth of Lego brand stores, more specific Lego departments in stores that are not just toyshops, toys sold in supermarkets and, of course, online purchases ... which don’t need shelf space.

I think this is one of the key missing aspects to @Kim-Kwang-Seok’s question.  There are far more Lego stores now than ten years ago, including some of the biggest such as Leicester Square, London (the world’s biggest) and West Edmonton Mall (Canada’s biggest).  These have transformed the shopping experience.  Also, online shopping has become even more of a thing than ever before, with more places than ever stocking the stuff.  Your example of Smyths - admittedly I haven’t looked at Star Wars, but taking city as an example, there are 63 available sets vs 72 at shop.lego.com .  I don’t think the product is in decline at all - and if you look at the rise in numbers of adult style sets in the past 2 years, plus the company’s annual review showing huge gains this is very evident.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Vilhelm22 said:

I think this is one of the key missing aspects to @Kim-Kwang-Seok’s question.  There are far more Lego stores now than ten years ago, including some of the biggest such as Leicester Square, London (the world’s biggest) and West Edmonton Mall (Canada’s biggest).  These have transformed the shopping experience.  Also, online shopping has become even more of a thing than ever before, with more places than ever stocking the stuff.  Your example of Smyths - admittedly I haven’t looked at Star Wars, but taking city as an example, there are 63 available sets vs 72 at shop.lego.com .  I don’t think the product is in decline at all - and if you look at the rise in numbers of adult style sets in the past 2 years, plus the company’s annual review showing huge gains this is very evident.  

I am not aware of those data. Would be interesting to see some statistics; crunch some numbers though.

I didn't start this thread to dramatically insinuate something negative. I am mostly interested to understand this phenomenon and compare to other regions. It's like with broken pieces, different colourations and bad prints - I had much more issues with the few sets I purchased in the last years, but when talking about this in a thread, opinions and experiences were quite diverse and divergent.

@Lyichir gave interesting explanations; anyone thank you for sharing your information anyway.

As mentioned I don't purchase much Lego the last years - but I like the idea that I can buy a nice set one year after its release. Seeing that I cannot do so in a store here (Germany is a country with a large Lego culture, middle class and so on..) anymore so easily made me a bit afraid. But I guess it's just the times changing and the visual impact of "no sets" manipulating me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Physical toy shops are mostly disappearing here as well, I buy most of my sets online, even years before covid.

The main issue with lack of shops is lack of polybags and such as those are usually too small to have free shipping. 

Lack of Toy shops in some cities seem to relate to high housing/rent prices , as shops come and go.

2 Official LEGO stores have opened in my country, but those are more for the experience, in prime locations.

Book Shops/Supermarkets also still have multiple LEGO related books/magazines on offer.

I don't think LEGO itself is declining however, a lot of it shifted to online sales, online is usually cheaper as well as there are no Target or Walmart type of shops here that stunt with their discounts.

The Netherlands/Belgium also already had 2 seasons of LEGO MASTERS  + special episodes.

Edited by TeriXeri

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've actually seen the opposite here in the US - some of my local Target stores now have two aisles that are all Lego (or, at least, one is fully Lego, the other one is half Lego, half something else).  Even with that expansion of stock, they still have trouble keeping some things in stock, for example, after the last two Star Wars waves have been released, it's about a month before I can find the sets in stores.  It took me a while to find last summer's wave, I just recently started seeing the X-Wings and TIEs in stores (I've seen Trouble on Tatooine for quite a while, but the ships have been selling really quickly around me) and I only saw the Scout Trooper/Probe Droid/Vader busts in stores for the first time yesterday.  

I don't think they're declining at all, they're still the #1 toy company in the world, which is doubly impressive when you realize that the brands they're competing against (Hasbro, Mattel, I believe Bandai-Namco) all produce several products, many of which are super popular on their own (for example, Mattel has Hot Wheels, Barbie, Disney Cars, and some others, all of which are pretty huge brands), whereas Lego, though they have a couple dozen themes, is the same toy for the most part.  I feel like pretty much every kid has some sort of interest in Lego nowadays, and themes like Star Wars have become maybe the most popular toy for that property.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Kit Figsto said:

I've actually seen the opposite here in the US - some of my local Target stores now have two aisles that are all Lego (or, at least, one is fully Lego, the other one is half Lego, half something else). 

Same here in Australia, while there seem to be stock issues, the space taken up by Lego at Kmarts, Big W and Target seems to increase. Myer has always had a dedicated Lego section/s but Kmart has gone from one aisle now to one whole wall plus 2-3 smaller aisles (admittedly lower shelves interspersed with other products) for Lego. Big W still has a whole aisle and another aisle for Friends and sometimes another aisle for Star Wars or Duplo.

3 hours ago, TeriXeri said:

Physical toy shops are mostly disappearing here as well, I buy most of my sets online, even years before covid.

. . .

Toy stores in Australia have been in decline because they could not compete with larger department stores, in no way linked to Lego, while there are very few (8) certified Lego stores in Australia, and most are concentrated in four capital cities, bar one in Newcastle (a regional, albeit very large) city. However Australia Post outlets stock most polybags (not including Xtra sets).

Lego stores here seem to be oriented towards experience too, stocking mainly 18+ and popular licensed sets, with much emphasis on the PAB walls more so than sets.

Australia has had three Lego Masters so far, with two more planned, they are generally the highest rating shows on free-to-air TV when aired. I think they are very important factors in the rise of AFOL consumers here

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in my area of the States it has boomed recently, especially since Toys R Us closed shop. It’s been the most noticeable at Target. Years ago our biggest revamped the toy section & completely stepped up their LEGO game. They even added a huge(not brick built sadly) of two kid minifigs on a slide. They started getting more & more exclusives. The Creator Expert cars. The Art sets & even lately...the Bookshop Modular. Even Barnes & Noble has greatly stepped up, adding a much bigger section & also getting exclusives, like Sesame Street & NES. 

The only one I haven’t seen any positive change is at Walmart.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, Kim-Kwang-Seok said:

- Around ten years ago at least in Germany I noticed a big expansion of Lego layouts in stores. It became smaller again after some years.

Not really to blame on LEGO, but the complicated retail market here in Germany. Too many products competing for shelf space in relatively small stores. That and several retail chains have gone down the drain in recent years, either going bankrupt or massively reducing the number of their physical stores. This of course would affect physical availability of product. Other than that LEGO are just suffering from the same old issues that also affects product availability: Convoluted internal logistics, weird release dates, not enough production capacity, lousy web shop, questionable "exclusive" releases in their own stores and with select retail partners and so on. You could find any number of additional reasons, but suffice it to say that indeed buying some LEGO sets at times feels like more work than it possibly should have to be...

Mylenium

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Kim-Kwang-Seok said:

I am not aware of those data. Would be interesting to see some statistics; crunch some numbers though.

I didn't start this thread to dramatically insinuate something negative. I am mostly interested to understand this phenomenon and compare to other regions. It's like with broken pieces, different colourations and bad prints - I had much more issues with the few sets I purchased in the last years, but when talking about this in a thread, opinions and experiences were quite diverse and divergent.

@Lyichir gave interesting explanations; anyone thank you for sharing your information anyway.

As mentioned I don't purchase much Lego the last years - but I like the idea that I can buy a nice set one year after its release. Seeing that I cannot do so in a store here (Germany is a country with a large Lego culture, middle class and so on..) anymore so easily made me a bit afraid. But I guess it's just the times changing and the visual impact of "no sets" manipulating me.

@Kim-Kwang-Seok I didn’t mean to sound negative - apologies.  Here’s the data summarised by Brick Fanatics: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.brickfanatics.com/the-lego-groups-full-2020-annual-financial-results-by-the-numbers/amp/
 

All I’m really saying is that I think from my experience there are some local and in store declines, but overall there’s still been an increase.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Vilhelm22 said:

@Kim-Kwang-Seok I didn’t mean to sound negative - apologies.  Here’s the data summarised by Brick Fanatics: https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.brickfanatics.com/the-lego-groups-full-2020-annual-financial-results-by-the-numbers/amp/
 

All I’m really saying is that I think from my experience there are some local and in store declines, but overall there’s still been an increase.

thx!

and no offense taken; I just wanted to make my intentions clear. With all the toxic communication surrounding TLG it's easy to see the title of this thread as something similar.

In any case: happy to hear all the opposite and diverse reports of other areas. That gives me trust Lego will not be outcompeted by technology yet :devil:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, de question is more: Do we need toy shops for buying LEGO parts?

For sets, it will be nice, I think, but I’m not sure because I have never bought a set myself.  But for parts, I think, it will be too many different pieces and too many colours for an average toy shop, unless it is a special LEGO-store. Then at least, there should be a possibility for ordering any desired part.

But I’m pleased with the internet for buying all my LEGO needs.  It is the only way I use for now.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/30/2021 at 12:56 PM, DBlegonerd7 said:

Lego Empire is declining (Sorry, I can’t help myself but i am just sarcastic, thanks to my misunderstanding based on the thread title).

Reading this comment, I couldn't help getting the image in my head of book covers like these ones, but with time-lapse illustrations on the spine of LEGO structures being slowly taken apart. It's funny how this particular train of thought is making stops at so many different "stations" as it passes between us! :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/31/2021 at 2:53 AM, Vindicare said:

Here in my area of the States it has boomed recently, especially since Toys R Us closed shop. It’s been the most noticeable at Target. Years ago our biggest revamped the toy section & completely stepped up their LEGO game. They even added a huge(not brick built sadly) of two kid minifigs on a slide. They started getting more & more exclusives. The Creator Expert cars. The Art sets & even lately...the Bookshop Modular. Even Barnes & Noble has greatly stepped up, adding a much bigger section & also getting exclusives, like Sesame Street & NES. 

The only one I haven’t seen any positive change is at Walmart.

^^Same exact experience on the East coast - with Target and B&N especially.  A local Target is stocking the Modular Bookshop and the big Ecto-1...and I consider my area at the 'end of the distribution lines' :laugh:  I'm certainly not complaining about this trend, as I'm in the camp that still enjoys the hunt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Aanchir said:

Reading this comment, I couldn't help getting the image in my head of book covers like these ones, but with time-lapse illustrations on the spine of LEGO structures being slowly taken apart. It's funny how this particular train of thought is making stops at so many different "stations" as it passes between us! :laugh:

:laugh::laugh_hard:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, lowlead said:

^^Same exact experience on the East coast - with Target and B&N especially.  A local Target is stocking the Modular Bookshop and the big Ecto-1...and I consider my area at the 'end of the distribution lines' :laugh:  I'm certainly not complaining about this trend, as I'm in the camp that still enjoys the hunt.

Totally! Haven’t seen the Ecto-1 yet, but mine had the Mustang, London Bus & Aston Martin. They also had a few of the Elf Clubhouse too, which is kinda weird to see in the beginning of June... Having these sets in stores means the possibility of discounts too, so that’s nice. Even though I buy my high ticket sets($100+) at S@H for the points. 

The hunt is pretty fun. Even going to the LEGO store on day one for something is exciting, stumbling upon stuff in Target was something else. Seeing the Bookshop on a store shelf was kinda crazy. 

Edited by Vindicare

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So an interesting thing I have seen in a few shops has been the end of "girls section" and "boys section" and the inclusion of more other brand building toys. Take ASDA for example (formerly part of Walmart, recently sold off) at one time, there was a dedicated good half of the shelving dedicated to LEGO product alone and a section in the "Girls toys" that had Friends and Princesses. 

Now, there is a new arrangement, all the LEGO is in one place, just like all the Funko is in one place, all the Hot Wheels is in one place. However, there is also Zuru branded baseplates and minifigures and a few other random construction sets there. There is no less LEGO stock, but there are more competitor brands. No Mega though, which is interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Peppermint_M said:

So an interesting thing I have seen in a few shops has been the end of "girls section" and "boys section" and the inclusion of more other brand building toys. Take ASDA for example (formerly part of Walmart, recently sold off) at one time, there was a dedicated good half of the shelving dedicated to LEGO product alone and a section in the "Girls toys" that had Friends and Princesses. 

Now, there is a new arrangement, all the LEGO is in one place, just like all the Funko is in one place, all the Hot Wheels is in one place. However, there is also Zuru branded baseplates and minifigures and a few other random construction sets there. There is no less LEGO stock, but there are more competitor brands. No Mega though, which is interesting.

Most stores here in the States keep LEGO all together. Friends might be on a separate aisle occaisonally, but it's right next to the rest and that's only because LEGO will take up a huge amount of space on the shelves. Mega and other brands are usually on the secondary aisle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, KotZ said:

Most stores here in the States keep LEGO all together. Friends might be on a separate aisle occaisonally, but it's right next to the rest and that's only because LEGO will take up a huge amount of space on the shelves. Mega and other brands are usually on the secondary aisle.

Here other brands aren't normally found at big-brand places which sell Lego, I am guessing it must be included in some sort of contract, however clone or other-brand road baseplates and third party minifigure display stands are often found interspersed with Lego

Edited by Stuartn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.